The U.S. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have officially issued a proposed rule that would require all citizens of the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Bermuda to present a passport when entering the U.S. by air or sea beginning January 8, 2007, as part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The public has until September 24 to comment on the proposed rule.
This extends by a week the original date by which the passport rule was to be implemented. The date was moved from January 1, 2007, to accommodate holiday travel.
Under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, all citizens of the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Bermuda must, by January 1, 2008, have a passport in order to enter or re-enter the United States from anywhere within the Western Hemisphere. The DHS and U.S. State Department plan to implement the law in stages, with air and sea travel requirements going into effect first, while anyone crossing at a U.S. land border will be required to present a passport beginning January 1, 2008.
There is legislation under consideration that would push the latter deadline back to June 1, 2009.