The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) continues to be phased in and as of June 1, most U.S. and Canadian citizens will now be required to present one of the following documents when applying for admission after travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean at land or sea ports of entry:

  • U.S. or Canadian Passport (also valid for air travel);
  • U.S. Passport Card (not valid for air travel);
  • Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL), specifically designed for cross-border travel into the United States by land or sea. New York, Washington, Michigan, Vermont and Quebec Province currently issue EDLs. Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia are currently booking interviews for EDL processing;
  • Trusted Traveler Program Cards – NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST are issued only to pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The cards are valid for use at land or sea; the NEXUS card can be used in airports with a NEXUS kiosk; or
  • U.S. and Canadian citizen children under age 16 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card.

Historically, Canadian and U.S. citizens had only been required to make an oral declaration of citizenship and perhaps provide an identity document. In January 2008, land and sea entrants were initially required to present documents proving citizenship and identity. When the more stringent requirements take effect on June 1, travelers must be ready to present one of the specific qualifying documents. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued a summary of these documentary requirements. Information is also available on applying for a U.S. passport or passport card, the trusted traveler programs and for Canadian citizens.

Note: This article was published in the May 2009 issue of the Immigration eAuthority.


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