Whether you are traveling by air, land, or sea be certain you understand the requirements, including those for reentry back into the United States.
Federal oversight and agencies
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
If you will cross a U.S. border, including travel to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, or any other country, please review DHS requirements. These requirements impact air, land, and sea travel for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and international citizens. The website also includes information about specific populations and situations, trusted traveler programs, and customer service initiatives intended to improve the entry process for international travelers.
U.S. Department of State
For the latest travel warnings, travel alerts, country-specific information, and background notes on specific countries, explore the U.S. Department of State's Web site. The site includes a comprehensive A to Z index of all topics related to international travel. The department also offers tips for traveling and living abroad, requirements for U.S. citizens traveling abroad, and additional resources about your personal health and safety when traveling abroad.
U.S. Customs & Border Protection
Even if you're traveling to Mexico or Canada, you'll need a valid form of documentation to depart from and reenter the United States. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires all travelers to and from the Americas, Caribbean, and Bermuda to have passports. For more information, including the specific types of documents, FAQs, and reference material, refer to the travel section of the U.S. Custom & Border Protection Web site.
Required documentation of citizenship
A limited number of documents proving citizenship are accepted when attempting to reenter the United States. U.S. and Canadian citizens ages 19 and older need to present a government-issued passport, photo ID, such as a driver’s license, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate. Children ages 18 and under will be required to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. As of January 31, 2008 oral declarations of citizenship are unacceptable.
A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. To obtain a passport for the first time, you may go to one of over 9,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the U.S. You'll need two photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid form of photo identification, such as a driver's license. For details, review the passports section of the Department of State's Web site. Allow six weeks in advance of your travel date to obtain, replace, or change a passport.
Related links and resources