Special Alert: CBP Reminds Travelers About New Border-Crossing Document Requirements

On May 21, 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") issued a reminder about the new documentary requirements that go into effect on June 1, 2009 for those seeking admission to the United States through any land or sea port of entry.

As we previously advised, these new requirements are part of the continuing effort of the United States and the CBP to comply with the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative ("WHTI"). They can take several weeks to obtain the necessary documents. With the summer vacation period rapidly approaching, the CBP wants to be sure that international travelers are not inconvenienced.

Starting on June 1, 2009, WHTI-compliant documents for those 16 and over arriving at U.S. land or sea ports from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean will consist of the following valid documents:

  • U.S. or Canadian passports;
  • Trusted Traveler Card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST/EXPRES);
  • U.S. Passport Card; or
  • State or Province-issued Enhanced Driver's Licenses.

U.S. or Canadian citizen children under age 16 arriving by land or sea from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean need only present proof of citizenship, such as an original or copy of a birth certificate, a consular report of birth abroad, a naturalization certificate or a Canadian citizenship card. Permanent residents of the United States still must continue to display their valid Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551).

The CBP has indicated that U.S. and Canadian citizens who lack these WHTI-compliant documents still may be allowed into the United States but the agency strongly encourages all travelers to secure the documents to avoid delays and possible problems upon arrival in this country. Additional information about these requirements is available at the WHTI Web site: http://www.getyouhome.gov/html/eng_map.html.