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DHS and State Dept. Announce Proposed Changes to WHTI

August 11, 2006

DHS and State Dept. Announce Proposed Changes to WHTI
August 11, 2006 – Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State announced proposed requirement changes to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

DHS and the Department of State are providing the public with an opportunity to comment on the proposed rules. The proposed timeline and requirements would be as follows:

  • January 8, 2007 – Passports, Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) or NEXUS Air cards would be required for all air travel, and most commercial sea travel, from within the Western Hemisphere for citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda. This is a change from the previously scheduled date of January 1, in order to accommodate holiday travel.


  • January 1, 2008 – The statutory deadline for all Western Hemisphere travel, including land border travel. Passports or other accepted documents determined to sufficiently denote identity and citizenship will be required for anyone crossing at a land border, as well as air and sea.

    In addition to the passport, two other proposed travel documents that sufficiently denote identity and citizenship for the air and sea environment include the Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) and the NEXUS Air card. The MMD or "z card" is issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to merchant mariners and the NEXUS Air card is issued to citizens of Canada and the United States, lawful permanent residents of the United States and permanent residents of Canada. The NEXUS Air card may only be accepted when used in conjunction with the NEXUS Air program. The MMD card may only be accepted when used on official maritime business.

    The public may provide input and/or comment on the proposed rules on or before September 24, 2006. Those wishing to comment may access the Federal e Rulemaking Portal at and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Submissions must include the agency name and docket number CBP 2006-0097.

    For more information, visit

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