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Spring Breakers: If You Leave U.S., Take Appropriate Travel Documents
3/10/2008

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding travelers planning spring break trips to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean to make sure they have the proper documents.

All travelers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, are now required to present proof of citizenship and identity to enter the United States at land and sea ports of entry. This can include a passport, trusted traveler program card like NEXUS or SENTRI, or a birth certificate with a driver’s license. Travelers 18 and under can present just a birth certificate. For a complete list of details, see the Fact Sheet available at www.cbp.gov, as well as Frequently Asked Questions, a Public Service Announcement and CBP Travel Update video. A passport has been required for all travelers entering and departing the United States by air since January 2007.

"We know that spring breakers look forward to their vacations, and we want them to ease their travel by making sure that they have the proper documents when crossing the borders, going on cruises, or flying outside of the United States," said CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham. "This will help ensure a safe, secure and swift process at ports of entry."

The U.S. Postal Service and other government offices offer passport application services at nearly 9,400 facilities nationwide. For more information on where to apply, please visit U.S. Department of State or United States Postal Service websites. ( U.S. Department of State ) or ( United States Postal Service )

Safety tips for students traveling abroad can also be found on U.S. Department of State website. ( U.S. Department of State ) The State Department's new Web site for American students traveling overseas, studentsabroad.state.gov., also lists safety, travel, and registration information. Travel registration is highly encouraged as it makes it possible for the State Department to contact a traveler if necessary, whether because of a family emergency in the United States or because of a crisis in the foreign country.

CBP also wants to remind U.S. lawful permanent residents that the I-551 form (green card) is acceptable for land and sea travel into the U.S. And all travelers are encouraged to verify the specific document requirements for their destination country, as they may vary based on country and length and purpose of stay.

Enhanced driver’s licenses now available in Washington State are also acceptable upon production for entry at any U.S. land or sea port of entry. Several states including Vermont, New York and Arizona are slated to begin producing the new enhanced licenses later this year, with additional states currently in discussions.

These changes are the result of a 9/11 Commission recommendation that was subsequently passed into law by Congress. Standard, secure documents will help address both a security vulnerability identified by the 9/11 Commission and myriad GAO reports, as well as help create more efficient borders.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.