U.S., Canadian land, sea travelers to face new entry requirements

Published 27 May 2009

The last part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) kicks in Monday; U.S., Canadian land and see travelers entering the United States will have to present a passport or other approved documents; air travelers have already been doing so since 23 January 2007

Americans and Canadians heading to the United States from Canada on vehicles or cruise ships will face new entry requirements beginning next week, DHS said. Next Monday, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) will begin requiring U.S. and Canadian land and sea travelers to present a passport or other documents denoting “identity and citizenship when entering the United States,” according to DHS.

DHS secretary Janet Napolitano will be in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday and Ottawa, Canada, on Wednesday and is expected to address this and other border security issues with Canadian officials. She and Canada’s public safety minister Peter Van Loan are to sign a law enforcement agreement in Detroit, and the pair will meet with reporters.

The initiative was phased in gradually after the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States and is the result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. “The goal of WHTI is to facilitate entry for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors, while strengthening U.S. border security. Standard documents will enable the Department of Homeland Security to quickly and reliably identify a traveler,” DHS said.

The initiative went into effect for air travelers on 23 January 2007.