You have less than two months to obtain a passport if you are planning to fly to Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, or other points in Central and South America next year.
Starting January 23, you'll need it to enter (or re-enter) the United States under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative — your birth certificate and government-issued photo ID won't work anymore. And you'll need it whether you are flying in your own general aviation aircraft or if you're an airline passenger.
Congress set forth the requirements for the initiative in a 2004 act. AOPA had requested that this requirement not be extended to GA until 2008 to allow the association more time to inform pilots of the changes.
The departments of Homeland Security and State announced the requirement last week as part of a broader initiative to secure U.S. borders. Limiting the types of documents travelers can present should make the U.S. border more efficient, according to the departments.
November 29, 2006