This week, the Department of Homeland Security posted a reminder to travelers that, starting January 31, 2008, all individuals entering the U.S. via a land and sea port of entry will be required to show documents that prove their citizenship and identity. This change especially affects Canadians and U.S. citizens who, up to now, have been able to enter simply by providing an oral declaration of their citizenship.
“For the safety of the American people, the United States cannot have an honor system at the border,” said Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “Requiring secure and reliable documentation at our borders will drastically reduce security vulnerabilities posed by permitting entry based on oral declarations alone. As travelers become accustomed to carrying documents to cross the border, and as we move to more stringent documentation requirements, our border officers will be able to more quickly and confidently identify crossborder travelers.”
Starting January 31, travelers will need to provide documentation from a specified list of acceptable documents of proof of identity and/or citizenship when crossing any U.S. land or sea port of entry. These documents include birth certificates and driver’s licenses. A full list of documents that are acceptable is posted online at http://www.cbp.gov. Note that individuals age 18 and under will only need to show a birth certificate to enter the U.S.