Did You Know That…. 1st Qtr 2007

Beginning January 23, 2007, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South Americas, the Caribbean and Bermuda will be required to present a (1 from the list):

  • valid passport
  • Air NEXUS card
  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document
  • an Alien Registration Card, Form I-551, if applicable

As early as January 1, 2008, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), may be required to present a valid passport or other document as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.

While recent legislative changes permit a later deadline, the Departments of State and Homeland Security are working to meet all requirements as soon as possible.

Ample advance notice will be provided to enable the public to obtain passports or passport cards for land/sea entries.

The passport requirement does NOT apply to U.S. citizens traveling to or returning directly from a U.S. territory. U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory are not considered to have left the United States and do not need to present a passport. U.S. territories include the following:

  • Guam
  • Puerto Rico
  • the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa
  • Swains Island,
  • and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The cost of a new passport for an adult is $97, and for children $82.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson

reduced flight delays when it opened its fifth runway in May 2006. That’s significant, considering it’s the world’s largest airport with more than 85 million people flying in and out every year.

The new $1.1 billion, 9,000-foot runway has increased by about 30% the number of arrivals the airport can handle at any time, reducing passenger wait time as they taxi or circle in the air.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson joins Chicago O’Hare, Denver and Dallas-Fort Worth as the only airports in the U.S. where three jetliners are able to land safely at the same moment.

In all, the average per-flight delay will be nearly halved to about eight minutes, the airport says. The runway will also cut through the nation’s air traffic congestion.

The IRS

The Internal Revenue Service issued a 2007 allowable vehicle reimbursement rate of 48.5 cents per mile, despite a moderation in gas prices compared with the volatile post-Hurricane Katrina prices last autumn.

The 2007 rate is an increase from the 2006 rate of 44.5 cents per mile. It also is back on the same level as the rate enacted in September 2005, a rare midyear adjustment to accommodate for the surging fuel costs following Katrina.

The higher rate this year stems from overall higher prices for vehicles and fuel for the year ending in October, according to the IRS. Not counting the drop in 2006, following the post-Katrina adjustment, IRS mileage rates have climbed continually during the past few years. The rate was 40.5 cents per mile in 2005 and was 37.5 cents in 2004.

Although it is not mandatory for companies to follow the IRS safe-harbor rate, most use it as guidance for reimbursement of employees using personal vehicles for business travel.

More than 80 percent of 171 respondents in Business Travel News’ third annual Expense Managers Survey said they used the 2006 rate of 44.5 cents for reimbursement.