Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Passport Requirements

On June 1, 2009, the U.S. government will implement the new requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative). The proposed rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have a passport, passport card, or other travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

Children under the age of 16 who are citizens of the U.S., will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card.

The U.S. Passport Card: The passport card is only valid for re-entry into the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region, and Bermuda.

Also, a final ruling was issued allowing leniency for “closed-loop” cruises, or sailings that both originate and end in the same U.S. port. U.S. citizens taking “closed-loop” cruises are not required to have a passport but will need proof of citizenship and a government-issued photo ID, such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate and a driver’s license. Children will also be required to carry a birth certificate and a photo ID if over the age of 15.

For more complete information about the WHTI, go to

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