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Client Alert: Passport or Other Secure Document Required for Land Border Crossings Effective June 1

May 19, 2009


We would like to remind our clients that beginning on June 1, 2009 there will be a change in the list of approved travel documents accepted at U.S./Canadian land and sea borders. Travelers 16 years of age and older will be required to present one of the following travel documents in order to cross a land or sea border:

  • U.S. or Canadian passport
  • Lawful Permanent Residence Card (“green card”)
  • Trusted traveler card (such as NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)
  • U.S. Passport Card
  • Province- or state-issued Enhanced Driver’s License (from states that issue such driver’s licenses)
  • Form I-872 American Indian Card (or enhanced tribal card)
  • Military identification cards (only for U.S. members of the armed forces traveling on official orders)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Document (for U.S. citizens only when conducting official maritime business)

The above document requirements went into affect for air travel in 2007, and are now being expanded to land and sea travel. Until the June 1, 2009 deadline, the combination of a valid proof of identity (such as a driver’s license) and a valid proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate) is accepted at border crossings. DHS hopes that the use of a stricter list of accepted documents will facilitate entry while strengthening U.S. borders.

Because of possible processing delays due to high demand, we recommend applying early for, or renewing, your passport or one of the other accepted travel documents from the above list. Please note that evidence of authorization to work in the U.S. is not considered a valid travel document for border crossings.

Children under 16 years of age are only required to show proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.