All persons traveling by air outside of the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States.
Land and Sea Travel
The following summarizes information available on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.
U.S. citizens need to present either (a) a passport, passport card (scheduled to be in full production beginning in July 2008), or WHTI-compliant document; or (b) a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.
On June 1, 2009, the U.S. government will implement the full requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI. The proposed rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have a passport, passport card, or WHTI-compliant document.
Note: The passport requirement does NOT apply to U.S. citizens traveling to or returning directly from a U.S. territory.
U.S. Passport and WHTI Compliant Documents
U.S. Passport: U.S. citizens may present a valid U.S. passport when traveling via air, land or sea between the U.S. and the aforementioned Western Hemisphere countries. The Passport Card: Passport card applications are currently being accepted in anticipation of land border travel document requirements. Based on current projections, we expect the passport card to be in full production beginning in July 2008. We will provide additional updates as available. Once in production, the passport card it will only be valid for land and sea travel between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region, and Bermuda.
WHTI-Compliant Travel Documents for U.S. citizen travel via land or sea, as of January 31, 2008:
- 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
- For further information see U.S. Customs and Border protection.