On June 1, 2009, the U.S. government will implement the full requirements of the land and sea phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). The proposed rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have a passport, passport card or WHTI compliant document. For those who live in New York State, this includes the much anticipated Enhanced Driver’s License.

The New York State Enhanced Driver’s License is an approved travel identification document for land and sea border crossings between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. This document is not acceptable for air travel between these countries, or for travel to and from any foreign country not listed above. If you would like to travel to countries excluded from this list, you will still need to obtain the traditional passport book. New Yorkers can apply for an Enhanced Driver’s License at their local DMV office.

The New York State Enhanced Driver’s License is only available to those who are residents of New York State and U.S. citizens. Alternatively, the passport card is available to any U.S. citizen and is a less expensive and a portable alternative to the passport book. For more information on the New York State Enhanced Driver’s License, visit the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website: www.nysdmv.com. For further information regarding WHTI and updates on U.S. passport requirements visit the U.S. Department of State website: travel.state.gov.