DHS Issues Reminder of WHTI Passport Requirement as of 10/1/07

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reminding air carriers and the traveling public that the temporary Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) accommodation allowing U.S. citizens to travel by air within the Western Hemisphere using a Department of State (DOS) official proof of passport application receipt will end as scheduled at midnight on Sept. 30, 2007. U.S. citizens who departed the country under this travel accommodation prior to Oct. 1 with a Department of State official proof of passport application receipt and government-issued identification will be readmitted with these same documents if returning to the United States after Sept. 30.

As a reminder, through Sept. 30, 2007, U.S. citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda who have applied for, but not yet received, passports can temporarily enter and depart from the United States by air with a government issued photo identification and DOS official proof of application for a passport. Effective Oct. 1, 2007, U.S. Citizens traveling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda must present a passport or other WHTI-compliant documentation to enter or depart from the United States.

It is always strongly recommended that U.S. Citizens verify the specific documentary requirements for their destination country. DHS and DOS announced the temporary WHTI accommodation for air travel in June. The federal government made this accommodation due to longer than expected processing times for passport applications in the face of record-breaking demand.

WHTI was mandated by Congress in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, and addresses core 9/11 Commission findings for secure and reliable identification documents. It requires all travelers to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda to present a passport or other approved document that establishes the bearer's identity and nationality in order to enter or re-enter the United States.

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