New Passport Requirements
If your travel will soon take you to our neighbors in Canada, Mexico,and the Caribbean, you're going to need more than just your state-issued driver's license to enter those countries and to return home.
That's because, in an effort to strengthen border security, the U.S. government is implementing the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). The WHTI will require all travelers to and from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda to present a passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer's identity and nationality to enter or re-enter the U.S.
While passports are already required for visitors to the Caribbean, many American citizens will likely need to be reminded that their driver's license is no longer a sufficient travel document.
The proposed implementation timeline has two phases:
Beginning January 23, 2007, ALL persons (both adults and children), including U.S. citizens, traveling by air between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to present a valid passport, Air NEXUS card, or U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document. Important: Your passport must be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip and/or have two to four blank visa/stamp pages. You may not be allowed to board if these requirements are not met.
As early as January 1, 2008, ALL persons (both adults and children), including U.S. citizens, traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), may be required to present a valid passport or other documents, as determined by the Department of Homeland Security. While recent legislative changes permit a later deadline, the Departments of State and Homeland Security are working to meet all requirements as soon as possible. Ample advance notice will be provided to enable the public to obtain passports or passport cards for land/sea entries.