Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

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Date: July 28, 2009

The National Park Service is providing this information as a courtesy to visitors. The following is from the Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is committed to working with travelers to ensure they have access to and can obtain appropriate travel documents. U.S. and Canadian citizens who lack WHTI-compliant documents are encouraged to continue with their travel plans and to obtain WHTI travel documents as soon as possible to further expedite future border crossings. more...

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative became effective June 1, 2009. This law affects all recreational boaters floating the Rio Grande. Boaters should be aware that float trips may be considered as trips that have left and re-entered the country. This is due to the fact that the international border is the middle of the deepest part of the river channel and as such varies from location to location. Boaters may be asked by representatives of the Department of Homeland Security to provide proper identification as required by law. The required identification types needed to be presented when landing on the US side of the Rio Grande and include the acceptable forms of identification as follows:

U.S. Passport:
This is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies a person’s identity and nationality. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea.

U.S. Passport Card:This is a new, limited-use travel document that fits in your wallet and costs less than a U.S. Passport. It is only valid for travel by land and sea.

Enhanced Driver's License (EDL):
Several states and Canadian provinces are issuing this driver’s license or identification document that denotes identity and citizenship. It is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea.

Trusted Traveler Program Cards:
NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST enrollment cards can speed your entry into the U.S. and are issued only to pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The cards are valid for use at land or sea; the NEXUS card can be used in airports with a NEXUS kiosk.

Special Groups:
Information for Children, Groups of Children, Native Americans, "Closed Loop" Cruises, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, U.S. Military, Merchant Mariners, Ferries and Small Boats, and Boaters.

For more information, please see the following DHS website.


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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