As of June 1, 2009, citizens of the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda entering or re-entering the U.S. by land or sea face new document requirements. The U.S. Homeland Security Department will require a passport or other approved secure document, officials stated in a final rule issued Thursday, March 27.
The requirements for land and sea travelers are part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, one of the core recommendations of the Sept. 11 Commission. Air travelers are already required to have passports or other approved forms of identification.
When the new rule takes effect for land and sea travelers, U.S. citizens will be required to show one of the following forms of citizenship identification: U.S. passport; passport card; valid trusted traveler program card such as FAST, NEXUS or SENTRI; enhanced driver’s license; military ID with official travel orders; or a U.S. Merchant Mariner Document.
Canadian citizens will be required to show a Canadian passport; FAST, NEXUS or SENTRI card; or an enhanced driver’s license.
U.S. and Canadian children ages 18 and under are currently asked only to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. As of June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian children under age 16 will need to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. U.S. and Canadian children ages 16 or older will be required to present a passport or other approved document.
Mexican citizens, including children, are already required to produce a valid passport and visa for crossing the border. Their requirements will not change when the new rules are implemented.
Click here to read frequently asked questions and answers about the program posted by the Homeland Security Department. Click here to read the final rule.