U.S. travelers going to Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda or Canada by land or sea will have to carry one of six government-approved IDs as of June 1, and government officials want to make sure they know about it.
The so-called Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative kicked into high gear with the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection announcing Wednesday a $12 million ad campaign, featuring a TV ad during tonight's NFL opener between the Giants and the Redskins.
“It's a new way of doing business on the borders,” said Thomas Winkowski, an assistant commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.
In addition to a traditional passport, travelers can choose from a passport card – and in Washington state, an enhanced driver's license – as well as from three types of cards available in the Trusted Traveler Program for frequent border crossers. One exception was made for cruise ship-goers on trips that begin and end at the same port; travelers can provide a birth certificate and photo ID.
The options for travelers:
U.S. passport. $100 for 10 years, for citizens 16 and older.
U.S. passport card. $45 for 10 years, for 16 and older. It's a smaller and more convenient format available since July.
Enhanced driver's license. It will include a chip to give agents quick access to information. It is available in Washington state and soon in New York. Coming soon: Vermont, Arizona and Michigan.
Trusted Traveler Program. Three types of cards, ranging from $50 to $122.25, that require applicants to be vetted by federal officials.