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Grant Sovern quoted in “Don’t Forget Your Passport: Travelers Now Must Plan Ahead if Visiting Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean”

Following is an excerpt:

A spur-of-the-moment fishing trip to Canada or a spontaneous weekend getaway to Cancun could be more difficult now that passports are required for air travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The regulations, which went into effect in late January, also may affect business people who need to travel to Canada to complete a deal or visit a customer.

Showing a driver's license no longer is enough when traveling by air to Canada and Mexico. Visiting those countries now requires a passport.

"We have had some clients talk about it," said Grant Sovern, a Madison attorney with Quarles & Brady who specializes in immigration law. "Some people may be taken aback if they fly for the first time."

He said the government has the ability to waive the requirement during the first few months. By next year, traveling to Mexico or Canada by land or sea also may require passports.

Sovern said the passport requirement is less likely to affect frequent travelers than a business, which might need to send someone quickly to Canada to complete a single transaction.

"Some of the reports lately have been that people are waiting and they can't get the emergency passports like they used to," he said.

Originally published in, February 14, 2007