News - June 2009

Documents Needed for Travel to Enter U.S. from Western Hemisphere Countries

The U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security have phased in implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) effective June 1, 2009. The WHTI requires all travelers, including U.S. citizens, to and from the Americas, the Caribbean, and Bermuda to have a passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearerís identity and nationality to enter or re-enter the United States.† This is a change from prior travel requirements.† In years past, citizens of the U.S. or Canada traveling across the land border were exempt from passport requirements.

The travel document initiative will affect all United States citizens traveling within the Western Hemisphere, who will now be required to carry a passport or other accepted document (such as a U.S. passport card or trusted traveler card).† It will also affect certain foreign nationals who currently are not required to present a passport to travel to the United States, namely most Canadian citizens, citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda and Mexican citizens.

The Department of State has rolled out the Initiative in phases. Initially, the requirement applied to all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. In the second phase, effective June 1, 2009, the requirement is extended to cover all land border crossings as well as air and sea travel.

In order to apply for a passport, United States citizens can visit the State Departmentís travel website, or call the U.S. National Passport Information Center:†1-877-4USA-PPT; TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793.†

The Western Hemisphere Travel 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 may continue to use previously established forms of identification to board flights and for admission.


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