The rule requiring citizens of the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Bermuda to present a passport when entering the U.S. by air takes effect today. The deadlines for border-crossing rules brought about the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative are a moving target, admitted P.T. Wright, U.S. Visit acting deputy director, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, at a session at the recent Professional Convention Management Association’s annual meeting in Toronto.
The next rule, said Wright, which will extend to all land-border crossings between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico, will take effect by June 2009.
Wright touted the benefits of biometrics, the technology that allows fingerprints to be embedded into passports, which are now required for those who need visas to enter the U.S., as enhancing the country’s security and facilitating legitimate travel, especially to meetings. Acknowledging that many visitors to the U.S. have a very negative experience when arriving at a U.S. airport, Wright said, “five years from now, the entry process into the U.S. will not look like it does now. We know it is painful for many people.” For more, visit www.dhs.gov.