U.S., Canada gear up for new border ID requirements

Americans and Canadians entering the United States will have to show a passport or other identification.
Americans and Canadians heading to the United States from Canada on vehicles or cruise ships will face new entry requirements beginning next week, the Homeland Security Department said.

Next Monday, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will begin requiring U.S. and Canadian land and sea travelers to present a passport or other documents denoting “identity and citizenship when entering the United States,” according to DHS. Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will be in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday and Ottawa, Canada, on Wednesday and is expected to address this and other border security issues with Canadian officials. She and Canadian Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan are to sign a law enforcement agreement in Detroit, and the pair will meet with reporters.

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The initiative was phased in gradually after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States and is the result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. “The goal of WHTI is to facilitate entry for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors, while strengthening U.S. border security. Standard documents will enable the Department of Homeland Security to quickly and reliably identify a traveler,” the department said. The initiative went into effect for air travelers on January 23, 2007.