Beginning June 1, U.S. citizens returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean will need more than a birth certificate and drivers license to re-enter the country.
Several options are available to travelers including a U. S. passport, enhanced drivers license, new passport card or a trusted traveler program card called NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST.
Hoping to provide any last minute problems for travelers at the borders, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has launched a campaign to educate the public about the new border-crossing requirements.
A U.S. Passport Card is good for 10 years for adults over the age of 16 and five years for those under 16. They are not valid for air travel but can be used for entry into the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean.
The enhanced drivers license is only currently available in New York and Washington State. It will be coming to Vermont, Arizona and Michigan soon.
This can be used as a cross-border document to enter the U.S. by land or sea. The cost for these documents is $15-$30 more than a regular license.
A U.S. Passports internationally recognized and denotes the bearers' identification and citizenship. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea. Cost is $100 for adult and $85 for those aged 16 and under. A passport is good for ten years for adults and five for children.
The Trusted Traveler Program is designed for frequent border travelers. NEXUS is good between the U.S. and Canada and cost $50. SENTRI is for the U.S. and Mexico and costs $122.25. FAST is for commercial truck drivers and can be used for re-entry from both Canada and Mexico.
All three require an application, interview and fingerprint process. They are all good for five years.
NEXUS can be used at airports where a NEXUS kiosk is available.
This initiative is a result of the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention based on recommendations by the 9/11 Commission.
The Web site www.getyouhome.gov outlines what documents are needed for land, air and sea travel as well as where to go to get the documents.