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CBP Says Travelers to Apply For Border Crossing Documents

May 20, 2009 By: George Dooley


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is reminding U.S. and Canadian citizens that new document requirements go into effect on June 1 for entry into U.S. at land or sea ports. Travelers should apply for approved travel documents now, as it can take several weeks to receive a document that will comply with new requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), the CPB says.

CBP said it is committed to working with travelers to ensure they have access to and can obtain appropriate travel documents. U.S. and Canadian citizens who lack WHTI-compliant documents but are otherwise admissible will not be denied entry into the United States on June 1, and are encouraged to continue with their travel plans and to obtain facilitative and secure WHTI travel documents as soon as possible.

WHTI-compliant documents for entry into the United States at land and sea ports include: U.S. or Canadian passports; Trusted Traveler Card (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST/EXPRES);  U.S. Passport Card and State or province-issued Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (when and where available).

“Obtaining a WHTI-approved document and complying with the law will help make our borders more secure,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern. “We will be practical and flexible in implementing this new travel requirement, but encourage travelers to get these documents now to expedite border crossings from day one.” 

U.S. and Canadian citizen children under the age of 16 arriving by land or sea from Canada,  Mexico, or the Caribbean need only present proof of citizenship, such as an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card.

Document requirements for lawful permanent residents of the United States do not change under WHTI; lawful permanent residents should continue to present their Permanent Resident Card (I-551).

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is the joint Department of Homeland Security- Department of State program that implements a key 9/11 Commission recommendation and Congressional mandate to establish document requirements for travelers entering the United States who were previously exempt, including citizens of the U.S., Canada and Bermuda. WHTI document requirements for air travel went into effect in 2007, CBP said.

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