Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New US entry documents required from June 1, 2009

On June 1, 2009, the U.S. government will implement the full requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative). Everyone traveling by air must now have a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. The proposed rules require most US citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have a passport, passport card, or other travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Those other documents include:
  • Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)
  • State Issued Enhanced Driver's License (when available)
  • Enhanced Tribal Cards (when available)
  • U.S. Military Identification with Military Travel Orders
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business
  • Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card
  • Form I-872 American Indian Card
US citizen children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of US citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card.

The US passport card costs $45 and is valid for 10 years. It cannot be used for international air travel. Information on the card is here. DHS states that it has issued 1 million cards so far and is taking 4-6 weeks for approval.

More information on the WHTI and documentary requirements is available at the DHS website here and here and on the Customs and Border Protection website here.

Photo by Mohan S.

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