Effective June 1, 2009, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (“WHTI”) will require travelers to present a passport or other approved secure document denoting citizenship and identity for all air, land and sea travel into the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. This requirement will affect U.S. citizens. Currently, secure documentation is required only for persons traveling by air to these countries.
A new, less expensive alternative to the passport is the new U.S. “passport card,” available through the U.S. Department of State. This new card was designed to meet the needs of border community residents and facilitates entry at U.S. land and sea ports of entry when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. The card may not be used for travel by air. Otherwise, it carries the same rights and privileges as a U.S. passport. Information may be found at www.travel.state.gov. Additionally, DHS is working with the state governments to develop enhanced driver’s licenses that denote both identity and citizenship to comply with WHTI requirements.