Tag: Homeland

Travel Overseas | Homeland Security

Traveling abroad doesn’t have to be confusing if you know the right things before you go. This section provides answers to many common questions from international travelers about planning for your trip, returning home and navigating passenger processing.

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Preparing for your Trip

Get a passport for overseas travel. We also recommend you make a copy of your passport and put it in a separate place. Carry your passport – do not pack it in your checked luggage. You must present it to the Customs and Border Protection officer upon arrival in the United States.

Planning travel in the Western Hemisphere? Learn about what types of identification is required for travel in the Western Hemisphere (Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America). There are six types of acceptable documents for crossing US borders.

Find out if you need to get a visa. United States citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit. If you have a visa, we recommend you make a copy and put it in a separate place. Carry your visa with you — do not pack it in your checked luggage.

All children, including infants, must have their own passport or Trusted Traveler Program document for U.S. entry. Carry documents for traveling with minor children.

  • If you are escorting a minor child without the parents, have a letter from both parents indicating that you have permission to travel with the minor.
  • If the child is accompanied by only one parent, the parent should have a note from the child’s other parent. For example, “I acknowledge that my wife/ husband is traveling out of the country with my son/ daughter. He/She/ has my permission to do so.”
  • If a single parent has sole custody, a copy of the court custody document can replace a letter from the other parent.

If bringing a dog, have a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccinations from a veterinarian in your country of residence. Prior to your trip, check with your airline for its rules on transporting animals – many airlines require a health certificate.

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Returning Home

Find out what is prohibited or restricted before you pack for your return trip. Products that would injure community health, public safety and domestic plant and animal life are restricted from entering the United States and are subject to seizure by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency .

Other considerations for packing:

  • Carry only medication needed for the trip in its original container. Do not pack it.
  • Carry only the jewelry needed for the trip. Do not pack it.

Find out what you can bring on an airplane. Plan ahead and avoid the potential of additional screening, be sure to check out the prohibited items list below and pack accordingly.

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Navigating Passenger Processing

Plan your travel. When

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Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative | Homeland Security

WHTI is the joint Department of State (DOS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plan to implement a key 9/11 Commission recommendation and the statutory mandates of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA). IRTPA, in part, required the DHS and DOS to develop and implement a plan to require all travelers, U.S. citizens and foreign nationals alike, to present a passport or other acceptable document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the United States.

What is the goal of requiring secure documents?

The goal is to strengthen border security while facilitating entry into the United States for U.S. citizens and legitimate international travelers, making the process more efficient and convenient.

What types of documents are accepted for entry into the United States via air?

  • U.S. citizens can present a valid: U.S. Passport; Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST); U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders; U.S. Merchant Mariner document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business. Note that children are also required to present their own passport when traveling by air. (note: The Indian/tribal card can NOT be used for air travel).
  • Requirements for lawful permanent residents of the United States are not changed by the implementation of WHTI. Lawful permanent residents must continue to present a valid Permanent Resident Card. A passport is not required.

What types of documents are accepted for entry into the United States via land and sea?

  • U.S. citizens can present a valid: U.S. Passport; Passport Card; Enhanced Driver’s License; Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST); U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders; U.S. Merchant Mariner document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business; or Form I-872 American Indian Card, or (when available) Enhanced Tribal Card.
  • U.S. and Canadian citizen children under the age of 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious group, or other youth group) need only present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. The birth certificate can be original, photocopy, or certified copy.
  • WHTI does not affect U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, who are still required to present their permanent resident card (Form I-551) or other valid evidence of permanent residence status.
  • Canadian citizens can present a valid passport, Enhanced Driver’s License, or Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST).
  • Bermudian citizens are required to present a valid passport.
  • Mexican citizens, including children, are required to present a passport with visa, or a Border Crossing Card.
  • U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port) are able to enter the United States with a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents.

What is an enhanced driver’s license?

State-issued enhanced drivers licenses (EDLs) provide proof of identity and U.S. citizenship, are issued in a

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