The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of State
(DOS) have reminded the traveling public that as of Jan. 31, 2008, all adult travelers
will be required to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate,
and proof of identity, such as a driver’s license, when entering the United
States through land and sea ports of entry. DHS will be issuing a notice in the
Federal Register formally announcing the change.
The DHS and DOS believe that the change is a required step to prepare travelers
and relieve the transition to the future requirements of the Western Hemisphere
Travel Initiative (WHTI). WHTI proposes to establish documentation requirements
for travelers entering the United States who were previously exempt, including
citizens of the U.S., Canada, and Bermuda. As recommended by the 9/11 Commission,
Congress enacted WHTI in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act
of 2004. WHTI will result in both enhanced security and increased facilitation
across the border once implemented. During this transition, DHS and the DOS are
working diligently to minimize the impact on legitimate trade and travel.
Currently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers may accept oral declarations
of citizenship from U.S. and Canadian citizens seeking entry into the United States
through a land or sea border. However, as of January 31, 2008:
All existing nonimmigrant visa and passport requirements will remain in effect
and will not be altered by this change.
- Oral declarations of citizenship alone will no longer be accepted.
- U.S. and Canadian citizens ages 19 and older will need to present a government-issued
photo ID, such as a driver’s license, along with proof of citizenship,
such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate.
- Children ages 18 and under will only be required to present proof of citizenship,
such as a birth certificate.
- Passports and trusted traveler program cards - NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST -
will continue to be accepted for cross-border travel.
DOS also reminded the public that the current turnaround time for a passport is
four to six weeks, so Americans planning international travel may wish to apply