November 29, 2006

Air travelers entering the United States from countries in the Western Hemisphere will be required to present a passport beginning Jan. 23. The rule applies to citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda who were previously admitted with a driver's license or birth certificate. The only acceptable passport alternatives will be the Merchant Mariner Document (MMD), United States military ID (if the holder is traveling on official orders), or the NEXUS Air Card, which is currently granted only to prescreened, low-risk frequent travelers who are part of a pilot program at Vancouver International Airport and are permanent residents of the United States or Canada. A passport requirement for land and sea ports of entry from Western Hemisphere countries is planned for as early as Jan. 1, 2008.