CBP Discusses Required Documents for 2012 Holiday Season Travel

The 2012 holiday season is in full swing, and that means the coming weeks will see an influx of foreign nationals visiting the United States and U.S. citizens returning home from travel abroad. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is reminding travelers to be aware of identification requirements to keep the U.S. immigration and customs processing smooth and hassle-free.

Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all U.S. citizens and residents re-entering the country from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean or Bermuda, by land or sea, are required to present acceptable identification.

For U.S. citizens age 16 and older, acceptable forms of identification under WHTI include the following: U.S. passports; U.S. passport cards, which are valid for entry into the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, but which are not valid for international air travel; enhanced driver’s licenses, currently issued in Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Washington; and Trusted Traveler Program cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST).

Children under 16 may present an original or copied birth certificate, a naturalization certificate, or a Canadian citizenship card. Lawful permanent residents may present their permanent residence card.

Frequent travelers may already be familiar with CBP’s popular Global Entry program, which continues to expand and was recently launched at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).

Under this voluntary program, low-risk international travelers who complete a screening process are permitted, upon arrival in the U.S., to bypass standard CBP inspections. Instead, Global Entry members use automated kiosks for expedited clearance.

“Global Entry has proven to be an extraordinarily successful program that has been welcomed by international travelers and applauded by the travel industry,” said CBP Port Director Ricardo Scheller in a statement.

Nearly half a million individuals have enrolled directly in the Global Entry program. Members of other CBP Trusted Traveler programs, such as NEXUS and SENTRI, can also use Global Entry kiosks, but should first check their status online in the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES).

“Global Entry benefits both Customs and Border Protection and the trusted traveler community in that it allows us to better focus our resources and efforts on travelers and goods that we know less about, while expediting trusted travelers through the arrivals experience,” said Scheller.

Applicants must possess a U.S. passport or permanent resident card, pay a $100 application fee, pass a law enforcement background check, and complete an interview with the CBP.

Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit Rabinowitzrabinowitz.com