Department of State September 1, 2005 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Documents Required for Travel Within the Western Hemisphere
Document Number: 05-17533
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2005-09-01
Agency: Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Customs and Border Protection Bureau
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), nonimmigrant aliens and United States citizens are generally required to present passports to enter the United States. The Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State have the joint authority to waive this requirement for nonimmigrant aliens under certain circumstances and the Secretary of State has the authority to make exceptions to the requirement for United States citizens. In accordance with those authorities, current regulations permit United States citizens and nonimmigrant aliens from Canada, Bermuda and Mexico to enter the United States from certain Western Hemisphere countries without presenting a passport. On December 17, 2004, the President signed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA). Section 7209 of this statute limits the Secretaries' discretion to waive or to make exceptions to the passport requirements under the INA and expressly provides that, by January 1, 2008, United States citizens and nonimmigrant aliens may enter the United States only with passports or such alternatives as the Secretary of Homeland Security may designate as satisfactorily establishing identity and citizenship. In the future, as a result of the implementation of the new statute, travel to the United States by United States citizens and others from the Western Hemisphere will require a passport or acceptable alternative documents in circumstances where travel was previously permitted without such documents. Section 7209 directs that the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, develop and implement a plan relating to the new requirements ``as expeditiously as possible.'' The statute provides that this plan shall be implemented no later than January 1, 2008. The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, will be deciding how to implement the new law. This Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announces the rulemakings that are expected to implement the new law, invites comments on the possible means of implementation and specifically invites comments on the documents other than passports that should be accepted under section 7209 as sufficient to establish citizenship and identity.
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