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The Practical Implications of the WHTI June 28, 2009

Posted by Matthew in USA, WHTI.
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Editor’s Note: This is a great article about the upsides of the WHTI, and why it was put in place. It doesn’t discuss the privacy issues in regards to the implementation of the WHTI, but rather focuses on how the anti-fraud measures will make it harder for fraudsters to enter the U.S. This article is reprinted with permission of www.stratfor.com.

Fred Burton was formerly the Deputy Chief of the Counter-Terrorism division of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), and is currently STRATFOR‘s VP of Counterterrorism and Corporate Security.

By Scott Stewart and Fred Burton

On June 1, 2009, the land and sea portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) will go into effect. The WHTI is a program launched as a result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and intended to standardize the documents required to enter the United States. The stated goal of WHTI is to facilitate entry for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors while reducing the possibility of people entering the country using fraudulent documents. (more…)

Crossing Borders March 12, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Canada, Citizenship, NEXUS Card, Passports, USA.
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When crossing borders as a dual citizen, remember that the USA sees you as an American, and Canada sees you as Canadian, so it seems wisest to present your passports as such.

US Department of State has this to say about entering and leaving the USA:

Most U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States. Dual nationals may also be required by the foreign country to use its passport to enter and leave that country. Use of the foreign passport does not endanger U.S. citizenship.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada says:

The Canadian government strongly encourages you to use your Canadian passport when travelling abroad, especially when entering the country of your second citizenship.¬†¬† … Using your Canadian passport may provide the basis under which Canada can provide you with consular assistance if you run into difficulties. You should also obtain a visa, if that is required for entry by Canadian citizens, and always present yourself as a Canadian when dealing with local authorities.

As far as ease of travel goes, it’s most definitely easier to present your US passport to US officials and Canadian passport to Canadian officials… Less confusion that way. (Of course, the NEXUS card alleviates all the hassle, since you declare both citizenships in the NEXUS application) (more…)

Applying for Passport(s) for Dual Citizens in Canada March 12, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Canada, Passports, USA.
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To apply for a US Passport, fill out your information online on the appropriate form found on the Department of State website, print it out, and attach one of the photos you either took yourself or ordered online, and take the form with attached photo, the additional photo, and proof of citizenship to your local US Embassy. (See the application form for documentation requirements)

To apply for a Canadian Passport, download the appropriate PDF file from the Passport Canada website, and fill in the information in Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar PDF-reading programs. When finished, print it out, and bring the form along with your photos to a Guarantor to have signed. Then take the photos, application form, and proof of citizenship  to your local Passport Canada office. (See the application form for documentation requirements)

In my opinion, it’s best to visit the submission locations in person as opposed to mailing your application: If you go in person, you can show them the your citizenship documents, and leave with them in your hands. (more…)

Photos for US Passports March 8, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Passports, USA.
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For those living outside of the USA, U.S. Passports can be obtained from your local US embassy.

Unfortunately, in Canada, obtaining a US-sized Passport Photo isn’t as easy as going to the nearest photo shop and paying the man/woman.

To take my photo, I set up my DSLR and took a bunch of different, well-lit photos, and picked the one that turned out the best. I loaded the photo into MS Publisher workspace measuring 4″x6″, and resized until my face was the proper size as indicated on the application form, and cropped around my head at 2″x2″. I then created a .JPG file with two copies of the 2″x2″ photo on it. (Two copies of the photo are required in an application.) I also made a version that was 5% larger, and one that was 5% smaller, to account for shrinkage/growth in the printing process. I sent all three copies to Costco for photofinishing via Costco’s online photo lab website. (I used Costco because each 4×6 cost roughly $0.17 after tax, so three copies came out to a whopping $0.51. This is much less than the ink cost required to print this on a photo printer at home, besides the fact that we don’t have any 4×6 photo stock lying around, nor a decent photo printer…) (more…)