Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

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The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a United States legal framework from 2007 that requires all travelers to show a valid passport or other approved secure document when traveling to the U.S. from areas within the Western Hemisphere.[1][2] The purpose, according to the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is to strengthen border security and facilitate entry into the United States for both legitimate U.S. citizens and foreign visitors. The initiative is an outcome of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which was approved after the 9/11 (2001) al Qaeda mass-terror attacks on the US. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was also implemented to deter or prevent the use of forged documents, both for terror and criminal purposes.


US or Canadian citizen children under age 16 (or, when traveling as part of certain groups, under age 19) can also use other documents as identification, including a birth certificate, for land and sea border crossings.[10]

Native Americans in the United States, Mexico, and Canada may be able to use certain additional forms of identification (in addition to the documents valid for citizens of those countries):

  • Members of the Kickapoo Band of Texas and Tribe of Oklahoma will continue to be able to use the I-872 American Indian Card (provided that it identifies them as Kickapoo), regardless of U.S. or Mexican citizenship.
  • Members of other U.S. tribes may use an "Enhanced Tribal Card", when available and approved by DHS.
  • Members of Canadian tribes may be allowed to use the proposed Secure Certificate of Indian Status already designed and approved by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, waiting for DHS approval.[11]

In addition to the other documents designated under WHTI, U.S. citizens on round-trip cruise-ship voyages that begin and end at the same port of entry in the United States may also carry a government-issued photo ID and birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or Certificate of Naturalization. Foreign nationals need a WHTI-designated document to travel to the United States on a cruise ship.

Nations and territories covered[edit]

The U.S. Department of State names the following jurisdictions:[12][13][14]

 Antigua and Barbuda
 British Virgin Islands
 Caribbean Netherlands
 Cayman Islands
 Dominican Republic
 Saint Kitts and Nevis
 Saint Lucia
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
 Sint Maarten
 Turks and Caicos Islands

The following jurisdictions in the Western Hemisphere (and all of South America) are not specifically named by the Department of State:[13][14]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]