WASHINGTON — The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the US Department of State (DOS) are reminding the travelling public that as of Jan. 31, all adult travellers will be required to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, and proof of identity, such as a driver’s licence, 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.
Officials are calling the change is “a necessary step” to prepare travellers and ease the transition to the future requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). WHTI proposes to establish documentation requirements for travellers entering the US who were previously exempt, including citizens of the US, 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 Department of State are working diligently to minimize the impact on legitimate trade and travel.
Currently, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers may accept oral declarations of citizenship from US and Canadian citizens seeking entry into the US through a land or sea border. However, as of Jan. 31, oral declarations of citizenship alone will no longer be accepted.
American and Canadian citizens ages 19 and older will need to present a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s licence, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate. Children aged 18 and under will only be required to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, passports and trusted traveller program cards – NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST – will continue to be accepted for cross-border travel
All existing non-immigrant visa and passport requirements will remain in effect and will not be altered by this change.
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