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Dinsmore | Immigration
Dec 29, 2006

Passports Required for Air Travel to United States as of January 23, 2007

This news item has been superseded by the following item:
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative: New Passport Requirements 

The Departments of State and Homeland Security recently announced that effective January 23, 2007 all citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda will be required to present a passport to enter the United States when arriving by air from any part of the Western Hemisphere.

This change in travel document requirements is the result of recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, which Congress subsequently passed into law in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. According to the Department of State, “In order to obtain national security benefits as quickly as possible, and to expedite the processing of arriving passengers, the plan will be implemented in two phases.”

The first phase involves travel by air and requires all citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda to have a passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer's identity and nationality to enter or re-enter the United States from within the Western Hemisphere.

At a later time, the U.S. government will announce new rules regarding land and sea travelers entering the United States through land and sea border crossings. As early as January 1, 2008, U.S. citizens traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea could be required to present a valid U.S. passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.

The Department of Homeland Security’s “Frequently Asked Questions,” which offers a helpful summary of the new passport requirements effective in January, 2007, is available here.


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