Passport Rules Changed

by Christa Smith

For months the lines at passport offices have been overwhelming.  Today the state department loosened the rules for travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean saying that you don't need the passport just proof that you've applied for one, in hopes their offices could catch up.

Most people think it's about time something was done.  "I just think if they were going to implement it they should have had the manpower to see it through," Nancy Mize said.  Mize is a local travel agent who has seen many angry travelers lately.  They are angry that even though they applied for passports months ago, they still aren't in.

Now, with the relaxed rule, travelers will be able to fly without their passport as long as they have proof it's being processed.  One Lufkin resident worries that puts us at risk.  "I would rather wait an hour longer in line and be checked out than someone behind me be in line that has a bomb or something on them," Jennifer Tillar told us.

The new ruling is in effect through September 30.  By then, the Department of State says, they hope to be caught up.  They have already hired over 200 people and plan to hire more.  Mize warns passengers not to get discouraged from flying.  "Don't let it scare you off. It's a simple process applying for a passport, very simple. It's worth the money that you pay."