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August 15, 2006

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative Proposed Rule Outlines New Document Requirements for Air and Sea Travel

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of State (State) announced the proposed requirements for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).

WHTI is the government’s plan to implement a provision of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act signed into law in 2004.

DHS and State are providing the public with an opportunity to comment on the proposed rules and enable them to meet the proposed requirements. The proposed timeline and requirements would be as follows:

January 8, 2007 – Passports, Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) or NEXUS Air cards would be required for all air travel, and most commercial sea travel, from within the Western Hemisphere for citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda. This is a change from the previously scheduled date of January 1, in order to accommodate holiday travel.

January 1, 2008 – The statutory deadline for all Western Hemisphere travel, including land border travel. Passports or other accepted documents determined to sufficiently denote identity and citizenship will be required for anyone crossing at a land border, as well as air and sea.

Together, these two proposed rules set forth the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).

The Department of Homeland Security is issuing an economic assessment of the proposed rule for air and sea. The public may provide input and/or comment on both the proposed rule and the economic assessment on or before September 24, 2006.

Those wishing to comment on the proposed rule may access the Federal Rule Making Portal at: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20061800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/06-6854.htm and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Submissions must include the agency name and docket number CBP 2006-0097.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov or www.travel.state.gov.

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Office of Travel and Tourism Industries
14th & Constitution Avenue NW, Room 1003
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone:(202) 482-0140
Fax: (202) 482-2887
Email: Otti@trade.gov

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