Skip to main content
A Better Partnership


Feb 2008
February 01, 2008

Traveling? Take Your Passport. And ID Card. And Driver's License. And Birth Certificate . . .

America's borders are tighter today and your employees are going to need additional documentation when crossing land and sea borders with Mexico, Canada and Bermuda.

U.S. citizens who leave the country and reenter at any of the land borders or sea ports now need proof of citizenship. An oral declaration of citizenship will no longer be sufficient. Travelers will be asked to present a government-issued ID, such as a driver's license, and proof of citizenship, such as birth certificate or passport.

The Department of Homeland Security is taking these measures to close a security gap and make it easier for border patrol and customs agents to detain suspected illegal aliens or terrorists.

Keep in mind, however, that the land and sea entry rules are now in a transitional stage. Travelers who do not have the appropriate documents may be delayed while Customs and Border Protection agents attempt to verify their citizenship and identity. They will not necessarily be detained or denied entry.

They will also be given an informational sheet explaining the new procedures. The intent of this transition is to raise awareness of the change, educate travelers and allow ample time for travelers to obtain the necessary documents.

The transitional period will last for approximately 18 months, at which time the Departments of Homeland Security and State will implement the requirement for secure travel documents under the congressionally mandated Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

These new rules do not affect documentation requirements for cross-border air travel. Identification restrictions for air travel--similar to the ones recently enacted for land and sea travel--went into effect in January 2007.

The earliest that implementation of the new land and sea rules could occur would be June 2009.

We anticipate that when the rules are implemented, there will be a number of other identification options available to travelers. Contact any member of the Immigration Practice Group at Warner Norcross & Judd to explore NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST cards, enhanced driver's licenses, tribal cards and U.S. passport cards, or for clarification of how the new rules might affect your company.

For additional information, please contact Kathleen M. Hanenburg, 616.752.2151 or, or Angela M. Jenkins, 616.752.2480 or of the Immigration Law Group at Warner Norcross & Judd LLP.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.



+ -