The Government of Canada is reminding Canadian citizens to prepare now for any travel plans to the United States by applying for an accepted document to enter the United States under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). The WHTI is a U.S. law that requires all travellers, including Canadian and American citizens, to present a valid passport or other approved document when entering the United States from within the western hemisphere.
"This Government has worked vigorously with the United States to ensure that legitimate trade and travel across our borders are not disrupted as a result of the new document requirements under WHTI," said the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety. "Our efforts have lead to the recognition of enhanced driver's licences and enhanced identification cards as acceptable alternatives to passports."
Starting June 1, 2009, Canadian citizens will be required to present a valid passport, a NEXUS or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card, or an enhanced driver's licence/enhanced identification card when seeking to enter the United States at its land or water crossings. Canadian citizens 15 years of age or under will only require proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or a Canadian citizenship card. Canadian citizens 18 years of age or under who are travelling with a school or other organized group, under adult supervision with parental/guardian consent may also present proof of Canadian citizenship alone.
The U.S. document requirements for air travel took effect in January 2007, and require Canadian citizens flying to, through or from the United States to present a valid passport or a valid NEXUS card when used at a NEXUS kiosk at participating Canadian airports or at any U.S. airport when returning to Canada. The air travel requirements apply to all Canadian citizens, regardless of age, including children.