You have less than two weeks until Homeland Security changes the way it allows you to re-enter into the U.S. from Canada. Starting June 1, New York state residences will need either a state Enhanced Driver License (EDL) or a passport to come back into the United States.
Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul says the EDL is the cheapest way for NY residents who only plan to travel to Canada, “If you just want to slip over Canada for bingo an enhanced license is a great option for you.”
Hochul also says the county’s auto bureaus and the state’s Department of Motor Vehicle offices will be slammed with residents rushing to beat the deadline, “It does take a while, so bring a book, bring your cell phone to text message your friends …I just want to warn people.”
What works best for you? From Homeland Security:
Who is affected by this change?
This change affects all U.S. citizens entering or re-entering the United States by land or sea – including by pleasure vessel or ferry. It also affects certain foreign nationals, who have been exempt from a document requirement, namely citizens of Canada and Bermuda. Most travelers will require one of the following documents:
* U.S. citizens: A passport issued by the U.S. Government, a passport card, a valid trusted traveler program card (FAST, NEXUS, or SENTRI), an enhanced driver’s license (EDL), a Military ID with official travel orders, or a U.S. Merchant Mariner Document.
* Canadian citizens: A passport issued by the Government of Canada, a valid trusted traveler program card (FAST, NEXUS, or SENTRI), or an EDL.
o U.S. and Canadian children under the age of 16 will be able to present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. See the CBP website for more information about children traveling with a school or religious group, social organization, or sports team.
* Bermudians: A passport issued by the Government of Bermuda or the United Kingdom.
* Mexican citizens: Mexican citizens, including children, are currently required to present a passport with visa or a laser visa border crossing card, and therefore there is little to no expectation of change under these new requirements.
How will travelers know what documents to get and when to get them?
Over the next 14 months, DHS and DOS will be conducting public information campaigns to inform travelers about the new document requirements. These campaigns will include special outreach toward residents of border communities who may be most impacted by the new document requirements. DHS and DOS are working with the Canadian government to ensure widespread and consistent communications on both sides of our land borders.
What is currently required at land and sea borders?
As of January 31, 2008, oral declarations of citizenship alone are no longer sufficient to establish identity and citizenship for entry into the United States. U.S. and Canadian citizens ages 19 and older are asked to present a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate. Children ages 18 and under are currently asked only to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. Passports and trusted traveler cards, such as NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST, are considered WHTI-compliant documents and are accepted for cross-border travel.
The period between publication of the final rule and June 1, 2009, is designed to lessen the impact on individuals and allow time for travelers to become accustomed to the change and obtain the appropriate documents. Implementation of WHTI, which will further narrow the types of accepted documents, will take place on June 1, 2009.
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