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Document Requirements for Land and Sea Travel

U.S. citizens and nonimmigrant aliens from Canada entering the United States by land or sea are required to present a valid WHTI-compliant document, which include:

  • Passports
  • U.S. Passport Cards
  • Enhanced Driver's Licenses
  • Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST)
  • Military Identification Cards (for members of the U.S. armed forces on official orders)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Document (for U.S. citizens on official maritime business)
  • Enhanced Tribal Card (where available)

Children: U.S. and Canadian citizen children under age 16 arriving by land or sea from a contiguous territory may present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card.

Groups of Children: U.S. and Canadian citizen children under age 19 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory and traveling with a school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or sports team, may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate or a Canadian Citizenship Card.

Native Americans: Until further notice, Native American United States and Canadian citizens may continue to present their current tribal documents, including the current Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card, as proof of identity and citizenship when entering by land or sea, provided the document is affixed with a photo.

In the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Land/Sea Final Rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided that all U.S. Federally Recognized Tribes may choose to work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to produce an enhanced tribal card (ETC). Once produced, and notification is officially published in the Federal Register the ETC card will be a WHTI compliant document establishing identity and citizenship for entry into the United States at all land and sea ports of entry. In June of 2011 the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona became the first to have its ETC approved as a WHTI-compliant document. In May 2012, The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho began producing an ETC.

CBP in consultation with various U.S. tribes has begun negotiations for the development of additional ETCs, and numerous U.S. Tribes are working with CBP toward development.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada began issuing the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) card in December 2009. The new SCIS card is a WHTI compliant document establishing identity and citizenship for entry into the United States at all land and sea ports of entry.

"Closed Loop" Cruises: U.S. citizens who board a cruise ship at a port within the United States, travel only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship may present a government issued photo identification, along with proof of citizenship (an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization).

Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the foreign countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents.

Ferries and Small Boats: Passengers on ferries and small boat operators are processed much like travelers entering the U.S. through a land border. They are required to present a WHTI-compliant document.

Boaters, who have an I-68 form, will need to follow the new travel document requirements. Ensuring that you have a WHTI-compliant document (U.S. Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card, NEXUS/SENTRI/FAST/EXPRES or Passport) will enable you to continue to utilize telephonic clearance procedures currently in place for I-68 holders.

An I-68 form is not considered an identity document or a travel document.