WASHINGTON, D.C. — The US Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection is launching a television and print advertising campaign in Canada today to remind the Canadian public about travel document requirements for entry into the US that go into effect on June 1.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative establishes document requirements for travellers entering the US who were previously exempt, including citizens of the US, Canada, and Bermuda. This phase of CBP’s WHTI outreach efforts will include French and English-language advertising on Canadian television and in newspapers and magazines; advertising on the Web; public service announcements; the launch of new Web sites (www.KnowYourBorder.gov and www.VersLesUsa.gov) and interactive widget; as well as distribution of related information through the media and various travel stakeholders.
“We take seriously the obligation to inform travellers on both sides of the border of the change in procedures,” stated CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham. “This multi-faceted campaign is designed to reach frequent as well as infrequent border crossers. A well-informed traveller plays an active role in contributing to the security as well as the efficiency of our shared borders.”
WHTI was implemented for air travellers in January 2007. On June 1, travellers will need to present a valid, acceptable document that denotes both identity and citizenship when entering the US by land or sea. Most travellers will be able to select from one of several different document options, based upon their individual travel needs.
Many Canadian travellers already have a passport, which is a WHTI-compliant document. In addition to the Canadian passport, there are three other documents that CBP will accept at land and sea ports of entry from Canadian citizens coming from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. These are the provincially issued enhanced driver’s licenses and NEXUS and FAST trusted traveller program cards that utilize radio-frequency identification technology. British Columbia has launched a pilot program to issue an enhanced driver’s license, which currently has 520 enrolees, and several other provinces and territories are planning to implement EDL programs by June 1. Details on each of these options are available at www.KnowYourBorder.gov and www.VersLesUsa.gov.
By incorporating radio frequency technology into enhanced driver’s licenses and the trusted traveller program cards, the border-crossing process will be more efficient and effective, according to officials. RFID is a secure technology that captures a unique identifier a randomly assigned number from the document just as the traveller approaches the border inspection station. No personal data is contained or transmitted by the RFID cards; the numerical identifier serves only as a pointer to gather information from CBP’s secure network for the officer.
The US Department of Homeland Security published a privacy impact assessment on the use of RFID in travel documents in January and another in July on border crossing processes and can be found at cbp.gov/travel.
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