News - January 2007

New Passport Requirement for United States Citizens and Others Arriving by Air from Within the Western Hemisphere

Beginning January 23, 2007, every person departing from or entering the United States by air from within the Western Hemisphere will be required to present a valid passport.

This change is part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a joint plan of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State.

Previously, people from other continents always had to present valid passports when entering the United States at air ports-of-entry, but U.S. citizens did not if they were arriving from countries within the Western hemisphere (other than Cuba). Canadian citizens or citizens of Bermuda entering by air previously were not required to present a passport when entering the United States as visitors from countries in the Western Hemisphere. Mexican citizens arriving in the United States by air at ports-of-entry also had been allowed in certain circumstances to enter without presenting a valid passport if they were coming from Canada or Mexico.

The new passport requirement applies to all who enter the United States by air. It does not yet apply to United States citizens and nonimmigrant aliens from Canada, Bermuda, and Mexico who arrive at land and sea ports of entry. New requirements for land and sea ports-or-entry will be addressed in a separate, future rule.


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