Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
Homeland Security and State Departments announce WHTI Land and Sea Final Rule
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) have announced the final rule for the land and sea portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), a core 9/11 Commission recommendation. The WHTI final rule requires travelers to present a passport or other approved secure document denoting citizenship and identity for all land and sea travel into the United States. WHTI establishes document requirements for travelers entering the United States who were previously exempt, including citizens of the U.S., Canada and Bermuda.
U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry must have either a U.S. passport; a U.S. passport card; a trusted traveler card such as:
NEXUS, FAST, or SENTRI
a valid Border Crossing Card
a valid Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business
or a valid U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders.
The NPRM also outlines ongoing efforts to provide other alternative documents.
For citizens of Canada, Bermuda and Mexico, the following documents are accepted forms of identification:
Canadian citizens: May present a valid passport issued by the Government of Canada, or a valid trusted traveler program card such as NEXUS or FAST
Bermudan citizens: May present a passport issued by the Government of Bermuda or the United Kingdom.
Mexican citizens: As under current entry requirements, Mexican nationals, regardless of age, must present a passport issued by the Government of Mexico and a visa, or a valid Form DSP-150, B-1/B-2 laser visa (Border Crossing Card), or a valid SENTRI card.
The departments have also identified unique circumstances for specific groups of travelers that warrant permitting the use of alternative documents.
- U.S. citizens on round trip cruise ship voyages that originate and end in the United States may present a government-issued photo ID and birth certificates, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad or Certificates of Naturalization.
- U.S. and Canadian citizen children under 16 as well as children ages 18 and under traveling in designated groups may present certified copies of their birth certificates.
- U.S. children may also present Consular Reports of Birth Abroad or Certificates of Alien Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Members of NATO-Member Armed Naturalization Forces may present military identification and official orders.
- Members of the Kickapoo Band of Texas and Tribe of Oklahoma may present the Form I-872 American Indian Card.
Standardized, secure and reliable documentation will enable the Department of Homeland Security to quickly, reliably and accurately identify travelers at air, land and sea ports-of-entry.
Investigators have repeatedly stressed the security risk posed to border security by the approximately 8,000 forms of identification currently in use, and the challenge at the borders in assessing individual travelers based on these many documents without significantly slowing the processing time for admission into the United States. Limiting and standardizing the types of documents presented will result in a more secure and efficient border.
The departments of Homeland Security and State are committed to ensuring a smooth transition and mitigating any negative impact on legitimate trade and travel. The departments fully recognize the need for a delicate balance between increased security and minimizing social and commercial impacts on international travelers and U.S. citizens, particularly residents living along the border.
The Land and Sea NPRM is currently available at the DHS website and will soon be published in the Federal Register. Once published, citizens wishing to comment on the proposed rule, including the economic assessment, may access the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Submissions must include the agency name and docket number “USCBP 2007-0004.”
Those wishing to comment on the environmental assessment may also access the Federal e- Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Submissions must include the agency name and docket number “USCBP 2007- 0061.”
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