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Jun 18, 2007

The United States is to temporarily relax new rules requiring passports for US citizens flying to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean because of a huge passport application backlog. The decision, announced a day after a controversial bill to revamp immigration laws and tighten border security stalled in Congress, will make it easier for thousands of Americans to keep their summer vacation plans but may expose the White House to criticism that it undermines border security. Until September, US citizens going to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean may travel with government-issued identification and official State Department proof showing they have applied for a passport. Jun 11, 2007

Canada loosened its requirements for passports applications on Friday in an effort to cut a backlog triggered by Washington's strict new rules for cross-border travel into the United States. "The volume (of applications) has been substantially increased, and we had to respond to that," Foreign Minister Peter MacKay told reporters in a passport office. Canada will no longer require professionals, like mayors or doctors, to vouch for the identity of applicants, serving as a guarantor. Any passport holder can now vouch for anybody else. And Ottawa will make it simpler to renew passports, no longer requiring proof of citizenship once again or another declaration from a guarantor. Jun 11, 2007

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