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The U.S. State Department Announced a Temporary Easing of the New Passport Requirements



Article  
The U.S. State Department Announced a Temporary Easing of the New Passport Requirements
[7/30/2007]

Source: U.S. Dept of State

Travel Accommodation Announced June 8, 2007


The U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security announced Friday, June 8, that U.S. citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or countries in the Caribbean region, who have applied for, but not yet received passports, can re-enter the United States by air. This accommodation does not mean that Americans are exempt from meeting the entry requirements of Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or countries in the Caribbean region, some of which require a passport, certified birth certificate, or other evidence of citizenship for entry.


We have reached out to the governments of countries affected by WHTI to consult with them about our announcement. Many of them have agreed to take a flexible approach toward their own entry requirements. For the most current information on entry requirements at their destination, travelers should contact their airline.


U.S. citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or countries in the Caribbean region who have applied for, but not yet received passports, can re-enter the United States by air by presentation of a government issued photo identification and Department of State official proof of application for a passport through September 30, 2007.  The federal government is making this accommodation for air travel due to longer than expected processing times for passport applications in the face of record-breaking demand.


The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) was mandated by Congress in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to strengthen border security and facilitate entry into the United States for citizens and legitimate international visitors. WHTI requirements for air travel took effect on January 23, 2007. 


Adults who have applied for but not yet received a passport should present government-issued photo identification and an official proof of application from the U.S. Department of State. Children under the age of 16 traveling with their parents or legal guardian will be permitted to travel with the child’s proof of application status. Children traveling alone should carry a copy of their birth certificate, baptismal record or a hospital record of birth in the United States in addition to their passport application status documentation. This accommodation applies to all American citizens who apply for passports, until September 30, when this accommodation period ends. U.S. citizens with pending passport applications can obtain proof of application at: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/status/status_2567.html.


Since implementation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has and will continue to exercise its current authorities in unique circumstances to allow individuals subject to the WHTI requirements into the United States based on other evidence of identity and citizenship.


Travel document security remains a top priority for the U.S. Government.  Both the 9/11 Commission and the U.S. Congress urged strengthening of travel documents to prevent entry of terrorists across our borders, reduce use of fraudulent documents, and speed up entry procedures.


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