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U.S. Border Crossing Requirements Have Changed- Make sure you are compliant today!

Simplify your travel checklist!

Starting June 1, 2009, U.S. citizens returning home from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, by land or sea, are required to present one of the travel documents listed below.

U.S. Passport – This is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies a person’s identity and nationality. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea.

U.S. Border Crossing Requirements Have Changed – Make sure you are compliant today!
U.S. Passport – This is an internationally recognized travel document that denotes a bearer’s identity and citizenship. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea, per the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

Cost: Please visit the State Department's website at www.travel.state.gov for
passport fees.

Validity: 10 years for adults
5 years for children under age 16

Issued by: U.S. Department of State

Info: www.travel.state.gov

Questions: Contact National Passport Information Center

(877) 4-USA-PPT
TDD/TTY (888) 874-7793
Click here to email


U.S. Passport Card – This is a new, limited-use travel document that fits in your wallet and costs less than a

U.S. Passport. It is only valid for travel by land and sea.

U.S. Border Crossing Requirements Have Changed – Make sure you are compliant today!U.S. Passport – This is an internationally recognized travel document that denotes a bearer’s identity and citizenship. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea, per the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

Cost: Please visit the State Department's website atwww.travel.state.gov for
passport fees.

Validity: 10 years for adults
5 years for children under age 16

Issued by: U.S. Department of State

Info: www.travel.state.gov

Questions: Contact National Passport Information Center

(877) 4-USA-PPT
TDD/TTY (888) 874-7793
Click here to email

Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) – Several states
and Canadian provinces are issuing this driver’s license
or identification document that denotes identity and citizenship. It is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea.

U.S. Border Crossing Requirements Have Changed – Make sure you are compliant today!U.S. Passport – This is an internationally recognized travel document that denotes a bearer’s identity and citizenship. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea, per the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

Cost: Please visit the State Department's website atwww.travel.state.gov for
passport fees.

Validity: 10 years for adults
5 years for children under age 16

Issued by: U.S. Department of State

Info: www.travel.state.gov

Questions: Contact National Passport Information Center

(877) 4-USA-PPT
TDD/TTY (888) 874-7793
Click here to email

Trusted Traveler Program Cards – Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST enrollment cards can speed your entry into the U.S. and are issued only to pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The cards are valid for use at land or sea; the NEXUS card can be used in airports with a NEXUS kiosk.

U.S. Border Crossing Requirements Have Changed – Make sure you are compliant today!Trusted Traveler Programs - Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST provide expedited travel for pre-approved frequent border crossers through dedicated lanes. While NEXUS was designed for northern border crossing and SENTRI for southern border crossing, any of the cards can be used at all U.S. land and sea ports of entry. Click on each card for more information.

U.S./Canada

U.S./Mexico

Commercial Truckers

U.S./Mexico/Netherlands

Special Groups – Information for Children, Groups of Children, Native Americans, "Closed Loop" Cruises, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, U.S. Military, Merchant Mariners, Ferries and Small Boats, and Boaters.

Knowing what documents are required and having them ready when you return home will help streamline the entry process and ensure your return to the U.S. is as smooth
as possible.

Children: Beginning June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizen children under age 16 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card.

Groups of Children: Beginning June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizen children under age 19 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory and traveling with a school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or sports team, may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card.

The group should be prepared to present a letter on organizational letterhead with the following information:

  • The name of the group and supervising adult,
  • A list of the children on the trip, and the primary address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth, and name of at least one parent or legal guardian for each child,
  • A written and signed statement of the supervising adult certifying that he or she has obtained parental or legal guardian consent for each participating child.

Native Americans: Native Americans will be able to continue presenting tribal documents until June 1, 2009, provided they are affixed with a photo. Customs and Border Protection is working closely with interested Native American tribes toward the development of an enhanced tribal card that complies with WHTI.

"Closed Loop" Cruises: U.S. citizens who board a cruise ship at a port within the United States, travel only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship may present a government issued photo identification, along with proof of citizenship (an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization). Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the foreign countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents.

U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents: Document requirements for Lawful Permanent Residents will not change under WHTI. U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can continue to use their permanent resident card (Form I-551) or other valid evidence of permanent residence status.

U.S. Military: U.S. citizens can present a valid U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders.

Merchant Mariners: U.S. citizens may present an unexpired Merchant Marine Document in conjunction with maritime business.

Ferries and Small Boats: Passengers on ferries and small boat operators are processed much like travelers entering the U.S. through a land border. They are required to present a WHTI-compliant document.

Boaters, who have an I-68 form, will need to follow the new travel document requirements. Ensuring that you have a WHTI-compliant document (U.S. Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card, Global Entry/NEXUS/SENTRI/FAST/EXPRES or Passport) will enable you to continue to utilize telephonic clearance procedures currently in place for I-68 holders.

An I-68 form is not considered an identity document or a travel document.

Air Travel
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and Air Travel for U.S. Citizens
When traveling by air between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, you are required to present a U.S. passport, except as noted below. This applies to everyone including newborns, infants and children.

The only exceptions to this requirement are for:

  • U.S. citizens on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, traveling with military ID and travel orders
  • U.S. citizen merchant mariners traveling in conjunction with maritime business, with U.S. issued Merchant Mariner Document
  • Travelers with a NEXUS card used at a NEXUS kiosk at Canadian Preclearance airports
  • U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents with a Permanent Resident Card or other evidence of permanent residence status and required documentation; refugees and asylees with a Refugee Travel Document

For more information on the travel documents required for U.S. citizens to enter or re-enter the United States, please click here.

What is RFID Technology?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology refers to systems that allow information contained in a wireless device or "tag" to be read from a distance. The technology has been commercially available in one form or another since the 1970s. It is now part of our daily lives and can be found in car keys, employee identification cards, medical history/billing, highway toll tags, and security access cards. The United States Government uses RFID technology for border management and has encouraged states to enhance their driver's licenses and identification documents in order to both satisfy WHTI requirements and facilitate the processing of cross-border traffic.

RFID at the BordersFor border management, "vicinity RFID technology" is used. This means an RFID-enabled document can be securely and accurately read by authorized readers from between 10 and 15 feet away, as a traveler approaches inspection lanes at the border. As the RFID chip is read, it signals a database to display biographical information, a photo, and the results of terrorist/criminal checks to the CBP officer as the vehicle pulls up to the inspection booth. No personal information is stored on or transmitted from the card – only a number which points to the information housed in the secure database – meeting the most stringent requirements for safeguarding personal data.

While RFID technology expedites cross-border traffic, it does NOT replace face-to-face interactions between officers and travelers. Instead, it allows officers to focus even greater time and attention on each individual in a vehicle in order to verify that they are the rightful holder of the document presented.

Which documents are RFID-Enabled?

  • U.S. Passport Card
  • Trusted Traveler Program cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST)
  • Enhanced Driver's Licenses from issuing (Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington)
  • New Border Crossing Card
  • New Permanent Resident Card (green card)

Ready Lane
At U.S. Customs and Border Protection, we are dedicated to finding new ways to get travelers safely and efficiently across the border. That's why we are launching the Ready Lane, for travelers holding RFID-enabled, WHTI- compliant cards. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology allows information contained in a wireless "tag" to be read from a distance; enables officers to more quickly, reliably and accurately process travelers. With Ready Lane, crossing the border is now simpler and more convenient than ever before.

What is a Ready Lane?
Ready Lane is a dedicated primary vehicle lane for travelers entering the U.S. at land border ports of entry. Travelers who obtain and travel with a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) enabled travel document may receive the benefits of utilizing a Ready Lane to expedite the inspection process while crossing the border.Ready Lanes are operational at the following ports of entry. Please check with your local crossing on hours of operation.

Blaine, WA - Peace Arch
Brownsville, TX - Gateway Bridge
Buffalo, NY – Peace Bridge and Rainbow Bridge
Calexico East, CA
Del Rio, TX
Detroit, MI - Ambassador Bridge
Douglas, AZ
Eagle Pass, TX – Bridge 1
El Paso, TX - Bridge of the America’s, Paso Del Norte, Ysleta-Zaragoza Bridge
Hidalgo, TX
Laredo, TX – Lincoln-Juarez Bridge
Lukeville, AZ
Lynden, WA
Nogales, AZ - DeConcini
Pharr, TX
Port Huron, MI
Progreso, TX - Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge
San Diego, CA – Otay Mesa, San Ysidro
San Luis, AZ

Please check back as additional Ready Lanes will be opening in the near future.

What documents can I use to enter the Ready Lane?
WHTI-compliant, RFID-enabled cards approved by the Department of Homeland Security include: the U.S. Passport Card; the Enhanced Driver's License (EDL); the Enhanced Tribal Card (ETC); Trusted Traveler Cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST cards); the new Enhanced Permanent Resident Card (PRC) or new Border Crossing Card (BCC).May I use my RFID-enabled card in the SENTRI/NEXUS lanes?
SENTRI and NEXUS lanes are reserved strictly for the use of SENTRI, NEXUS and Global Entry card holdersMay I use my Global Entry/SENTRI/NEXUS card in the Ready Lane?
Yes. Trusted Travelers may use any vehicle primary lane including the Ready Lane.Can my family or friends travel in the Ready Lane with me if they do not have an RFID-enabled card?
No. All travelers in the vehicle over the age of 16 must have an RFID-enabled card to use the Ready Lane.How do I know which is the Ready Lane?
When approaching a port of entry, stay alert for signage and/or officer direction.Will I be penalized or lose my RFID-enabled card if I mistakenly enter the Ready Lane?
Travelers should only enter the Ready Lane with the appropriate RFID-enabled travel cards to avoid a possible delay as CBP officers work to ascertain identity and citizenship.Is there an age restriction to use the Ready Lane?
Adult passengers (16 years and older) in the vehicle must have an RFID-enabled card to use the Ready Lane.If I have an RFID-enabled card but my child or children do not, am I still permitted to use the Ready Lane?
Yes. Children 15 years old and younger may travel in the Ready Lane with adult travelers if all adults in the vehicle have an RFID-enabled card.What do I do with my card while I am in the lane?
Stop at the beginning of the lane and make sure each passenger has an RFID-enabled travel card out. When it is your turn, drive slowly through the lane and hold all cards up on the driver's side of the vehicle. Stop at the officer's booth.Where do I point my card?
While driving through the lane, you and all passengers should hold travel documents up so that the flat face of the cards show through any window on the “driver’s side” of the vehicle.What do I do if someone in my car cannot hold
their card?
Hold multiple cards up in a fan so that each card is visible and can be read by the RFID reader. Do not stack multiple cards.Where do I get an RFID-enabled WHTI-compliant card?
U.S. Passport Cards can be obtained through theDepartment of State.

NEXUS/SENTRI/FAST cards can be obtained through CBP atwww.CBP.gov.Global Entry cards can be obtained atwww.GlobalEntry.gov.

Enhanced Driver's Licenses can be obtained from a local DMV or government office in the states of New York, Washington, Vermont, and Michigan, as well as in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, and Manitoba.


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