Passport or Other Enhanced ID Needed to Cross Border - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Passport or Other Enhanced ID Needed to Cross Border

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U.S. residents traveling across the borders will have to possess a valid passport or other document, effective Monday.

On June 1, the U.S. government will implement the full requirements of the land and sea phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, according to the U.S. Department of State's Web site.

The proposed rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have a passport, passport card, or travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

The initiative is a mandate that requires all travelers to show a valid passport when traveling to the U.S. from areas within the Western Hemisphere.

Travelers can use a passport card issued by the U.S. State Department to cross land borders. The card does not work for air travel. But at $45 for first-time applicants, it's a more affordable alternative to the traditional passport, which costs $100. More than 1 million passport cards have been issued since last year.

Identification documents available under the "Trusted Traveler" programs are also accepted. Those require fees ranging from $50 to more than $100. These programs, developed by the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments, allow vetted travelers faster access to the border. In some cases, members in these programs have their own lanes at border crossings.

Enhanced driver's licenses, which use a microchip to store a person's information, also can be used to cross the northern and southern borders. Washington state, Vermont, New York, and Michigan are the only states that offer them so far.

Children under 16 traveling with family, people under 19 traveling in youth groups, Native Americans and members of the military will able to use different forms of identification. Also, travelers in cruises that depart from a U.S. port, sail only within the Western Hemisphere and return the same port do not apply.

Before the new rule, travelers only needed to show identification, such as a driver's license, and orally declare their citizenship. In 2008, the federal government changed that rule to require proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport.

Travelers who do not comply with the new requirements will get a warning and be allowed to enter the U.S. after a background check, said Michele James, director of field operations for the northern border that covers Washington state.

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