The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a new U.S. law that will require all travellers, including Canadians, to carry a valid passport or other approved secure documentation when travelling to the U.S. from within the western hemisphere.
What are secure documents?
• a valid passport;
• a NEXUS air membership when used at an NEXUS air kiosk;
• a valid merchant mariners document for U.S. citizens;
• valid U.S. military identification and orders when traveling on active duty.
The U.S. has yet to release the rules for land and sea travel, which could start as early as January 2008.
When does the WHTI come into effect?
The first phase for air travel will start Jan. 23. Canadians traveling to the U.S. will need a valid passport or a NEXUS card.
The second phase, which governs land and sea travel, could start as early as January 2008, and no later than June 1, 2009.
Where to get a passport?
Your local post office has passport forms or go to www.passportcanada.gc.ca for more information and forms.
It takes two to four weeks to get a passport. Adults can expect to pay $87, children over three-years-old are $34, and under-threes are $24.