WASHINGTON, D.C. — After numerous talks between Canadian and US officials, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has officially outlined the dates regarding new documentation rules for entering the US.
The new rules are requirements outlined in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and were passed into legislation in 2004 under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act.
The DHS and US Department of State announced the proposed requirement, with some exceptions, to present a passport to enter the US when arriving by air or sea from any part of the Western Hemisphere will begin Jan. 8, 2007.
As well as passports, accepted documents for air and sea entry will include the Merchant Mariner Document, when on official maritime business, and the NEXUS Air card, when used in conjunction with the NEXUS Air program, which currently is being run as a pilot program through the Vancouver International Airport.
Originally the air and sea rules were expected to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2007; but the implementation date was pushed back by a week to accommodate for the holiday season, according to DHS officials.
A second proposed rule will be published at a later date proposing certain requirements for travellers entering the US through a land border crossing beginning Jan. 1, 2008. The land border rule will also address document requirements. Earlier this year US officials announced the development of a wallet-sized PASS card for land border crossings as a cost-saving alternative to obtaining a passport.
DHS and the Department of State are providing the public with an opportunity to comment on the proposed rules. The public may provide input and/or comment on both the proposed rule and the economic assessment on or before September 24, 2006.
Those wishing to comment on the proposed rule may access the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Submissions must include the agency name and docket number CBP 2006-0097.
For more information on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, visit www.dhs.gov or www.travel.state.gov.
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