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CBP, Swinomish Tribe Sign Agreement For Enhanced Tribal Card

Release Date: 
April 1, 2016

SEATTLE U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community signed a memoranda of agreement (MOA) for the Swinomish Enhanced Tribal Identification Card Project on March 31.

The project serves the parties’ mutual interests by expediting and facilitating cross-border trade and travel for members of the tribe, as well as providing a tribally-issued secure travel document to eligible tribal members.

“This agreement strengthens our commitment to close coordination with our tribal partners and provides a secure, standardized identification document for tribal citizens to travel across the United States-Canada border,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske.

The ceremony, held in La Conner, Wash., marks the Department of Homeland Security and the tribe’s shared commitment to develop a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant enhanced tribal card (ETC). The Swinomish Indian Tribe is a community of Coast Salish peoples. They are a federally recognized Indian Tribe that occupies the Swinomish Indian Reservation on Puget Sound in Washington State.

In 2004, Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which created the WHTI. In the WHTI Land/Sea Final Rule, published April 3, 2008, DHS allowed all U.S. federally recognized Tribes to work with CBP to produce an ETC, denoting citizenship and identity that could be accepted for entry into the United States through a port of entry.

Under the provisions of WHTI, each interested U.S. tribe will develop a secure photo identification document to be issued only to the Tribe’s legitimate members who could be either U.S. or Canadian citizens. These documents can be electronically verified by CBP at ports of entry. As of June 9, 2011, the ETC became an acceptable standalone WHTI-compliant document for entry into the United States at all land and sea ports of entry.

Enhanced tribal cards are modeled after the passport and enhanced driver license business processes. These cards have machine-readable facilitative technologies, contain security features to prevent counterfeiting, and allow data sharing between Tribes and CBP for real-time validation.

WHTI single-documentation options for all U.S. and Canadian travelers include: U.S. or Canadian passport, U.S. passport card, Trusted Traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST), state or provincial enhanced driver’s license, ETC , U.S. military I.D. with orders, U.S. Merchant Mariner document, Form I-872 American Indian Card, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Card and Secure Certificate of Indian Status.

The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho was the first tribe to sign an MOA with CBP in March 2009 to begin the process of creating a secure travel document denoting identity, tribal membership and citizenship.

To date, 19 U.S. tribes have officially submitted an ETC MOA to CBP. CBP has signed an MOA with 14 of those Tribes: the Suquamish, Colville, Puyallup, and Swinomish Tribes of Washington State; the Kootenai of Idaho; the Pascua Yaqui of Arizona; the Seneca of New York; the Tohono O’odham of Arizona; the Coquille of Oregon; the Hydaburg of Alaska; the Fond du Lac of Minnesota; the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota; the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan and the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017