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Blog Entries on WHTI

US Passports Vs Enhanced Driver’s Licenses

passport enhanced drivers license

US travel document requirements have changed for Americans traveling to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean by land or sea.  US passports were previously only required for air travel to these countries-people traveling by land or sea could simply use their driver’s licenses and birth certificates (or other proof of citizenship). Now, all adults are required to show a US passport or another approved type of ID to return to the US, no matter what method of travel they are using.

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New Passport Laws Don’t Impede Border Crossing

In 2009, new passport laws went into effect that changed the documents required for travel between the US, Mexico and Canada. Called the Western Travel Initiative (WHTI), the regulations required most US citizens to have either a passport or a passport card for land and sea travel to either country, with a passport book being required for air travel.

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New Passport Cards Confuse Travelers

In 2008, the US Department of State introduced a new passport option: the US passport card.  The wallet-sized card was meant to make international travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean more convenient and less expensive.

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Got a US Passport Card? Wave it in the Air!

Have you gotten one of the new US passport cards yet? If you have one, and you are driving across an international bridge into Mexico or Canada, border officials want you to take that card out of your wallet and “wave it in the air like you just don’t care” before you get to the inspection booth.

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Mexico To Delay New Passport Requirements In Baja California

The Mexican government just announced that they will hold off enforcing new regulations requiring US citizens to show their passports to get into the country, at least in some areas. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the new rules will go into effect on March 1st for other parts of Mexico, but not for Baja California, because “Mexico lacks the infrastructure to enforce the regulations at busy ports such as San Ysidro and Otay Mesa.”

That means that US citizens going for short-term visits to Mexico and entering through crossings such as Tijuana or through ports like San Ysidro and Otay Mesa will not need to present passports to enter Mexico. 

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