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NTA Still Concerned About Hasty WHTI Implementation

June 20, 2007

NTA Still Concerned About Hasty WHTI Implementation


June 20, 2007 – The Department on Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State announced today proposed rules for implementing the land and sea requirements for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking calls for U.S. and Canadian citizens to have a WHTI-compliant document or government-issued photo ID by Jan. 31, 2008 to re-enter the United States.


The National Tour Association believes the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative should not take effect until June 2009 at the earliest, as supported by legislation currently in Congress. Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the full House unanimously voted to delay implementation of WHTI anytime before June 2009. The full Senate must now vote and is expected to consider the rule’s delay in coming weeks.


This action comes after the Bush administration announced earlier this month it will delay the air requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative due to extensive delays in processing passport applications. U.S. citizens are now allowed to travel by air with a government issued photo identification and Department of State official proof of application for a passport now through Sept. 30, 2007.


"The departments of State and Homeland Security must recognize the magnitude of the problems in implementing WHTI," said NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini. "In order for smooth execution of the land and sea requirements of the passport mandate, we must do more to maintain border integrity and facilitate cross-border tourism. We simply need more time for the agencies to be able to comply and to educate the public and those enforcing the rules."


The land and sea proposed rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States to have either a U.S. passport; a U.S. passport card; a trusted traveler card such as NEXUS, FAST, or SENTRI; a valid Border Crossing Card; a valid Merchant Mariner Document (when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business; or a valid U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders.


It would allow U.S. citizens on round trip cruise ship voyages that originate and end in the United States to present a government-issued photo ID and birth certificate, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad or Certificates of Naturalization. It also would allow U.S. and Canadian citizen children under 16 as well as children ages 18 and under traveling in designated groups to present certified copies of their birth certificates. U.S. children may also present Consular Reports of Birth Abroad or Certificates of Naturalization.


"NTA is pleased to see these exceptions made for cruise vacations, as well as youth travelers," said Santini. "These are provisions the association has been fighting for since WHTI was first announced in 2005. However, NTA is concerned that a hasty implementation of WHTI will cause avoidable impediment to cross-border travel. We must allow enough time for the necessary agencies to be ready to comply with WHTI requirements."


The Land and Sea NPRM is currently available at and will soon be published in the Federal Register. Once published, citizens wishing to comment on the proposed rule may access the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Submissions must include the agency name and docket number "USCBP 2007-0004."


The National Tour Association was established in 1951 as a unified voice to fight legislation in the newly formed packaged travel industry. Today, NTA’s government relations activities include monitoring security issues, as well as state and federal legislation and regulatory issues affecting the travel and tourism industry. NTA maintains full-time representation in Washington, D.C., to serve as the association’s voice on Capitol Hill. Additionally, NTA empowers its members to be advocates for the association on the local level, as well as to provide support for NTA’s positions on national priority issues through its Grassroots Action Network. For more information on NTA’s government relations activities, please visit or call 800.682.8886.


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