II. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)
The U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a joint initiative of the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created in response to the U.S. government’s 9/11 Commission recommendations and the Intelligence, Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) in effect since June 1, 2009. WHTI requires all individuals entering, or re-entering, the United States to present a passport or another U.S.-approved document that confirms the individual’s identity and citizenship to an official at ports of entry. All U.S. citizens entering the United States by air must present a valid U.S. passport or a U.S. Trusted Traveler Program card: NEXUS (for travel between the U.S. and Canada), SENTRI (for travel into U.S. from Mexico) or FAST (for commercial truck drivers transporting shipments into U.S. from either Canada or Mexico). Trusted Traveler Program cards are granted to “low-risk” travelers and require a rigorous application and interview process. U.S. citizens may also present a U.S. military I.D. when traveling on official military orders.
U.S.-authorized permanent residents of the U.S. must present a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551, or “Green Card”) when entering the United States at air, land and sea ports of entry.
At land and sea ports of entry, U.S. citizens may present a U.S. passport, a U.S. passport card (used for entry into U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda; can also be used for domestic air travel), an Enhanced Driver’s License (a driver’s license with limited passport features only issued in some states), a Trusted Traveler Program card, a U.S. military I.D. when traveling on official orders, a Form I-872 American Indian Card, an Enhanced Tribal I.D. Card, and, for the time being, a standard tribal photo identification card. Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDLs) and Enhanced Tribal I.D’s (ETCs) make use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. WHTI mandated that tribal identification cards must be enhanced with this technology to qualify as a valid document for entry into the U.S. but is currently permitting/allowing standard tribal photo I.D. cards to be used at land and sea ports of entry to provide some transition time for tribes developing an ETC. As of the publication of this manual, aAn exact date for the end of this transitional period has not been announced.
U.S. permanent residents, U.S. citizens and Mexican citizens can also use a Global Entry Card, another Trusted Traveler Program card, for expedited entrance into the U.S. at land and sea ports of entry. Like ETCs and EDLs, Global Entry Cards have RFID technology. See List of Useful Contacts and Online Resources for web sources with information on how to apply for Trusted Traveler Program cards.