DHS and DOS Announce Passport Requirement for Air Travel to U.S. Effective January 23, 2007

DHS and DOS announced that, beginning January 23, 2007, citizens of the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Bermuda traveling by air will be required to present a passport to enter the U.S. The only acceptable alternative documents to a passport for air travel will be the Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) and the NEXUS Air card. The MMD or "z-card" is issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to U.S. merchant mariners and may only be accepted when used on official business by U.S. Citizen Merchant Mariners. Members of the U.S. military, when traveling on official orders, may continue to present their military ID and orders for entry. The NEXUS Air card is issued to citizens of Canada and the U.S., lawful permanent residents of the U.S. and permanent residents of Canada who meet certain eligibility requirements and may only be accepted when used in conjunction with the NEXUS Air program.

A separate proposed rule addressing land and sea travel will be published at a later date proposing specific requirements for travelers entering the U.S. through land and sea border crossings. As early as January 1, 2008, U.S. citizens traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea will be required to present a valid U.S. passport or other documents as determined by DHS.