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interesting Customs experience


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A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I took a 3-day cruise on Mariner of the Seas out of Port Canaveral to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  The ship was wonderful as anticipated and I can't believe how nice Perfect Day at Coco Cay was.  The day of debarkation was an unusual experience, however, and I thought I'd share it in case any other nitwits like myself still use a birth certificate instead of just ponying up for passports.  When I scanned my card to leave, Royal Caribbean security told me that Customs wanted to speak with me face-to-face - which was, of course, a weird experience even when you know you don't have anything to worry about.  We were escorted down the gangway and into the terminal, ultimately to the CBP agent waiting all alone in the Pinnacle/Suites line.  He collected our identification and led us to a room marked "Secondary CBP Processing".  Turns out the issue is I have a VERY common first and last name, which happened to match that of someone they were looking for I guess.  The agent said that had I been traveling on a passport it wouldn't have been a worry because they already knew who I was, then politely showed us how to exit the terminal once my identify was verified (I guess they just see your name and that you are traveling on the birth certificate). Needless to say, my next stop is applying for the passport before my next cruise!  That said, it worked out great because we essentially went through the Pinnacle lane and bypassed a huge line, exiting the terminal within 5 minutes.  The agents were very professional and I'm happy they were doing their job, but definitely something I'd rather avoid.

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I believe it has to do with the state you live in. Some states have licenses that you can use for domestic flights.  Others do not qualify and you will need a passport or passport card. I thin the changes are a little later than 2020 but I'm not sure when.

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I always find it interesting with the different rules for different countries.

Living in Australia and being very isolated compared to just about every other country (except for New Zealand), having a passport to leave the country is just required.

Without starting a political discussion, it seems that we are moving to a world where you will just need to get a passport (or equivalent) for just about any kind of travel.  It seems that a drivers license will just not cut it anymore.

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10 hours ago, BB1 said:

I believe it has to do with the state you live in. Some states have licenses that you can use for domestic flights.  Others do not qualify and you will need a passport or passport card. I thin the changes are a little later than 2020 but I'm not sure when.

Yes it's true. Washington State DL do not qualify unless you get the new version unless you have the enhanced DL.

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18 minutes ago, wstephensi said:

You have a whole list of supporting documents in SC you need to bring in to get your "Real ID".  Passport is one.

I got my "Real ID" last year when my DD got her driver's license that qualified as "Real ID".  In hindsight maybe I should have avoided the trip to the DMV and just used my passport.

I don't know how SC markets the Real ID. In NC, they market it as a replacement for the passport. Long story, short - it isn't. 

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[/soapbox] Don’t get me started on RealID. In Pennsylvania we put off implementing it, hoping it would go away.  Only when we realized the Feds weren’t bluffing did we start to implement it. And even now it is not the default, it is a separate process.  How many people are going to get screwed by this before that changes.  [/soapbox]

I always travel with my passport. Just safer.

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23 minutes ago, StayFrosty said:

I always travel with my passport. Just safer.

Me too

Story about my passport.  First time I got it, they listed my birth place as NC (live in NC), but I was born and raised in Florida (birth certificate says Florida).  I call and report the mistake, they say it will cost me to replace my passport and at least 6 weeks.  I told them it would not cost me anything, their mistake not mine.

On my second passport renewal, still says born in NC.  I have given up sending it in to be fixed.

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Guest toodle68

Great rule of thumb.. If you are leaving the US, take a passport.  You have no idea what might happen or where you could end up. For the sake of the cost and the small amount of time, it is not worth the hassle.

Some states have extensions for RealID, but eventually everyone will need one if you are going to use your drivers license for ID for domestic travel

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