Personal Lives

New ID Rules for Travel Outside U.S.


In a little over one month, more stringent identification requirements will apply to Americans who travel abroad, even if they are only going to Canada or Mexico or the Caribbean.

Under a new law that takes effect on Jan. 31, 2008, adults and children who don’t have a passport will be required to present a birth certificate along with a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or school identification card for young children, reports the Seattle Times.

It appears that American travelers who don’t have either a birth certificate or passport won’t be denied re-entry to the U.S. under the law, which is known as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. However, they can expect delays at border stations while their citizenship is confirmed, according to Mike Milne of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Those who are not American citizens should carry documents to prove both their citizenship elsewhere and their legal residence in the U.S. Canadians attempting to enter the U.S. without proof of citizenship could be turned away.

“The whole idea is to have documentation that makes it easy, quick and effective for our officers to establish identity and citizenship, to determine who can go right down the road and who needs more thorough screening,” Milne says.

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