Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), requiring all travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the United States.

New Border Document Requirements in Effect June 1, 2009 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a reminder to U.S. and Canadian citizens that new document requirements took effect on June 1, 2009, for entry into the U.S. at land or sea ports under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). CBP is committed to working with travelers to ensure that they have access to, and can obtain, appropriate travel documents.

The rules require 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.


  • U.S. Passport: U.S. citizens may present a valid U.S. passport to enter or re-enter the United States when traveling via air, land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region, and Bermuda.
  • U.S. Passport Card: The passport card is only valid for re-entry into the United States at land borders and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region, and Bermuda.


  • Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)
  • State Issued Enhanced Driver’s License (when available)
  • Enhanced Tribal Cards (when available)
  • U.S. Military Identification with Military Travel Orders
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business
  • Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card
  • Form I-872 American Indian Card

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 copy of a birth certificate, a consular report of birth abroad, a naturalization certificate, or Canadian citizenship card. Documentation for U.S. Permanent Residents remains unchanged and they should continue to present their Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551).

The CBP notice is available at

To talk to a lawyer about any personal or business immigration concern, call our offices in New York City at 212-401-4040 or Toll-Free in the U.S. at 800-244-5266. You can also contact us online.


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