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Crossing U.S. Borders

U.S. Citizens

 Passenger screening by CBP Officer.

Air Travel

All U.S. citizens including children must present a passport or other approved travel document when entering the United States by air. U.S. citizens can present a passport, NEXUS card at airports with NEXUS kiosks, U.S. military ID with travel orders, or a U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when on official business.

Land/Sea Travel

Beginning June 1, 2009

  • U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry are required to have documents that comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), most commonly a U.S. passport, a passport card, a trusted traveler card such as NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST, or an enhanced driver's license. See the complete list of WHTI-compliant documents.

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Lawful Permanent Residents

Air Travel

All travelers including children must present a passport or secure travel document when entering the United States by air.

Land/Sea Travel

Lawful permanent residents may continue to present their Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card. More information available at CBP.gov.

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Citizens from Other Countries

Air Travel

All international visitors regardless of country of origin must present a passport or secure document when entering the United States by air.

US-VISIT biometric procedures apply to international travelers holding a non-U.S. passport or visa with these limited exceptions. Find out how US-VISIT works.

Land/Sea Travel

Canadian Citizens - Beginning June 1, 2009

Bermudian Citizens - Beginning June 1, 2009

  • Bermudian citizens will need to present a single document that complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). See www.getyouhome.gov for more information.
  • Bermudian citizens are subject to US-VISIT procedures. Find out how US-VISIT works.

Mexican Citizens - Mexican citizens including children must present a passport with a nonimmigrant visa or a laser visa border crossing card.

All Others

  • Travel Document Requirements - Visitors Traveling Under the Visa Waiver Program International travelers entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program need to present an e-Passport if their passport was issued on or after October 26, 2006.
  • US-VISIT. Entry and exit process for visitors requiring a visa, using biometrics such as digital fingerscans and digital photographs, to ensure the person crossing our border is the same person who received the visa.
  • ESTA Internet-based Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to screen Visa Waiver Program (VWP) applicants prior to traveling to the United States.
  • e-Passports. The United States requires that travelers entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program have an e-Passport if their passport was issued on or after October 26, 2006.
  • Travel For Non-U.S. Citizens (CBP) Information for visitors to the United States that are visiting for the purpose of working, studying, business travel or immigration.

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Trusted Traveler Programs

U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Trusted Traveler Programs provide expedited travel for pre-approved, low risk travelers through dedicated lanes. NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST cards can be used by U.S. and Canadian citizens to enter the United States now and after June 1, 2009.

  • NEXUS provides expedited travel via land, air or sea to approved members between the U.S. and Canada border.
  • SENTRI provides expedited travel to approved members between the U.S. and Mexico border.
  • FAST provides expedited travel to approved commercial truck drivers between the U.S and Canada and U.S. and Mexico borders.
  • Global Entry provides expedited screening and processing for pre-screened International travelers entering the United States.

More information available at www.getyouhome.gov.

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Last Published Date: July 2, 2013
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