The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will require all U.S. citizens, citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, and citizens of Canada and Mexico to have a passport or other accepted secure document that establishes the barer’s identity and nationality to enter or re-enter the United States by January 1, 2008.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 mandated that the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, develop and implement a plan to require U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to present a passport, or other secure document when entering the United States.
In the proposed implementation plan, the Initiative will be rolled out in phases, providing as much advance notice as possible to the affected public to enable them to meet the terms of the new guidelines. The proposed timeline will be as follows:
In April 2005, the Departments of State (DOS) and Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposed plan to be implemented in three phases beginning on December 31, 2005 for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. After further review and considering the delay in publishing the public notice in the Federal Register, DOS and DHS recognized that implementing the December 31, 2005, phase would be problematic for travelers. This new timeline will simplify the implementation and provide a longer lead-time for travelers to come into compliance with the requirements.
As previously noted, the passport (U.S. or Foreign) will be the document of choice for travel within the Western Hemisphere or re-entry. However, another document that we anticipate will be acceptable under the travel initiative is the Border Crossing Card, (BCC – or “laser visa”). Currently, the BCC serves in lieu of a passport and a visa for citizens of Mexico traveling to the U.S. from contiguous territory. Other documents that we anticipate will be acceptable under this Initiative are the Customs and Border Protection Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI), NEXUS and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program cards.
No currently existing documents other than the BCC, SENTRI, NEXUS or FAST cards are under active consideration as substitutes for the passport. However, DHS and DOS are reviewing new technological developments regarding options for secure travel documents. Acceptable documents must establish the citizenship and identity of the bearer, enable electronic data verification, and include significant security features. Ultimately, all documents used for travel to the U.S. are expected to include biometrics that can be used to authenticate the document and verify identity.
To provide vital information to the general public, the Departments of Homeland Security and State are issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on the plan to the public and requesting input and/or comment on the suggested documents and possible alternative documents that can meet the statutory requirements.
Back To Mexico Information
Back to Car Insurance For Mexico Home