We have been talking about it for a long time here saying it will soon be necessary to have a passport so please get yours now. At first they just said everyone by 2008 which is true but misleading. It is now EVERYONE who travels by SEA or AIR to the Caribbean, Burmuda, or Panama to have a Passport by Dec. 31 2005 which means essentially everyone except those going on am Alaskian or Hawaiian cruise or one that goes to Mexico on the West Coast. By Dec. 31 2006 you will need one to travel by air or sea to anyplace, period. Then you will have to have one to even travel by land by Dec. 31 2007. Those friends of ours from Canada will be able to get a type of express pass for those that travel back and forth often and for low-risk types and that will be called a NEXUS card and the commercial type people will get a FAST card. Those going to Mexico will be able to get what will be called a SENTRI card.
WHAT IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO IS GET YOUR PASSPORT NOW!
You have put out very wise and important information. Even though we don't yet need a passport until December of 2006, we are still taking our passports when we go on our New England @ Canada cruise in May. It is always a safe thing to take an additional form of identification besides a birth certificate or a driver's license. When an american is in a foreign country they should also know the address of the american embassy and where they are able to seek medical care if they are in a port for several days.