suggest starting the process immediately if you don't have one and plan to travel as there will be so many people applying that the process is sure to be slow.
Passport required for ALL travel outside US effective December 31, 2006
Effective December 31, 2006, a passport will be required for all travel outside the United States. This change impacts travel to locations that may not have required a passport in the past; such as: Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Central and South Americas.
If you are traveling outside the United States on or after December 31, 2006 and do not have a passport or your passport will expire, it may take 6-8 weeks to obtain a new or renewed passport. Please keep this in mind as you prepare for travel outside the US.
This initiative will not affect travel between the United States and its territories. U.S. citizens traveling between the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa will continue to be able to use established forms of identification to board flights and for entry.
If traveling outside the United States or a U.S. territory, a passport or other secure document will be required. For example, a person may travel to and from the United States to the U.S. Virgin islands without a passport or other secure document, but under proposed regulations, a passport or other secure document would be required to re-enter the U.S. Virgin Islands from the British Virgin Islands or another country as of December 31, 2006.
It is recommended that non U.S. citizens traveling to a United States Territory carry their passports to avoid any re-entry problems. Effective December 31, 2006, if you do not have a passport for travel outside the US; the airlines will not allow you to board the airplane.