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Washington proposes $5.50 fee for Canadians entering U.S. by air, sea

February 18, 2011

The U.S. has been charging that fee to other international passengers, except Canadians, Mexicans and Caribbean nationals who have been exempt from paying it since 1997.

Washington has proposed a $5.50 fee for every Canadian who would visit the United States through air or sea. The levy is part of the $3.73 trillion 2012 budget proposal unveiled by U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this week. 

clearpxlObama said the fee would raise $110 million yearly to help reduce the country’s budget deficit. The fee would also apply to air and sea travelers from Mexico and the Caribbean.

An average of 16 million Canadians fly to their North American neighbor yearly. The $5.50 fee, if approved by the U.S. Congress, would raise about $110 million and help defray the cost of beefed up boundary security.

The fee would not apply to land travelers. The U.S. has been charging that fee to other international passengers, except Canadians, Mexicans and Caribbean nationals who have been exempt from paying it since 1997. If implemented, the fee would likely be tacked in airline ticket prices.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security proposed the $5.50 fee to Obama to help raise over $300 million hike the department asked in it 2012 budget.

In 2009, Washington required Canadians entering the U.S. to bring passports. Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper are meeting in Washington this month to discuss more details of a proposed U.S.-Canada border security agreement in a bid to ease movement of people and shipments between the two North American neighbors.

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