Airline travelers will be expected to have a passport to enter or re-enter the U.S. by Jan. 8, 2007, but travelers entering by land or by sea have two more years before they will be required to show a passport or other official documentation.
Citing concerns that deadlines set by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) would jeopardize economic trade, the U.S. House and Senate approved a measure to postpone the 2007 deadline set by the WHTI. Legislators felt there wasn’t sufficient time to communicate to land and sea travelers what the new stipulations were before they went into effect, and were concerned about the lack of an affordable alternative to passports.
Travelers by land and sea now have until June 1, 2009, to secure proper documentation. The U.S. government currently is developing the People Access Security Service (PASS) card, which will include biometric information and be priced significantly lower than a passport. Details and a launch date have not been announced.