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Western Hemisphere Citizens Entering U.S. Must Have Passport by Jan. 23, 2007

November 22, 2006

Western Hemisphere Citizens Entering U.S. Must Have Passport by Jan. 23, 2007
Nov. 22, 2006 –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State announced today the official requirement for citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda to present a passport to enter the United States when arriving by air from any part of the Western Hemisphere beginning Jan. 23, 2007.

As previously announced, there is a separate proposed rule addressing land and sea travel. As early as Jan. 1, 2008, U.S. citizens traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea will be required to present a valid U.S. passport or other documents 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 acceptable documents for land and sea entries.

DHS has created a FAQ concerning the new requirements for air travel. Click here for answers to questions including:

  • Who will the travel initiative affect?
  • When will the travel initiative be implemented?
  • How do I get a passport?
  • How many U.S. citizens currently hold passports?
  • How many Canadian citizens travel with passports?
  • How will U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) be affected by the passport requirement?
  • What if I am an LPR but my children are U.S. Citizens?
  • What do I need to travel to Canada or Mexico?
  • I am a Mexican citizen and have a valid Border Crossing Card (BCC). Will I be required to also present a passport to travel to the United States by air?
  • What happens to persons who attempt to enter or re-enter the country without a passport or an alternative travel document?
  • Originally, the proposed date of implementation for the air and sea phase was January 1, 2007. Why the change? Why was the sea requirement postponed?
  • Other than a passport, what types of documents will be acceptable under this initiative for air travel?
  • Can the NEXUS Air card be used at any air location?
  • How will members of the U.S. armed forces be affected by the passport requirement?
  • Will travelers from U.S. territories need to present a passport to enter the United States?
  • Do the documentation requirements apply to children?
  • Why is the U.S. government implementing the travel initiative?
  • Did the general public provide input into the planning and implementation of the travel initiative?
  • There have been concerns within the travel and tourism industry about the effect that the passport requirement will have on the economy. How is this being addressed?
  • How will this requirement affect land border crossings?
  • Which documents will be required for land border crossings under WHTI?
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