Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Western Hemisphere Travel Will Require Passport by 2008 | Plan Ahead!

The Departments of State and Homeland Security announced today the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative to secure and expedite travel. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will require all U.S. citizens, Canadians, citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, and citizens of Mexico to have a passport or other accepted secure document to enter or re-enter the U.S. by January 1, 2008.
Currently, U.S. citizens, and some citizens of other countries in the Western Hemisphere are not required to present a passport to enter or re-enter the U. S. when traveling within the Western Hemisphere. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA, also known as the 9/11 Intelligence Bill), signed into law on December 17, 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.
Additional documents are also being examined to determine their acceptability for travel. The public will be notified of additional travel document options as those determinations are made. The government would expect that acceptable documents must establish the citizenship and identity of the bearer, enable electronic data verification and checking, 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.


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