States-bound motor coach operators take note: Starting June 1, all passengers entering the United States will face even tighter scrutiny at the United States border. That's when the U.S. will start requiring that even Canadian citizens show proof of citizenship in the form of a passport or other specified documentation. The new rules are part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative formed as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.
Canadian passengers will have the option of showing U.S. customs a Canadian Passport or an Enhanced Driver's License / Enhanced Identification Card; they may also get a card through a Trusted Travel Program such as NEXUS. Intended for low-risk travelers who cross the border frequently, NEXUS cards can be applied for at http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/nexus/menu-eng.html.
Passengers without passports can instead present either an Enhanced Driver's License or, for those who don't drive, an Enhanced Identification Card. So far, British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec are the only provinces issuing the "enhanced" documents, but Ontario and other provinces are working towards it. The enhanced cards include biometrics-based photo information as well as a radio chip, which has raised privacy concerns among some groups and slowed adoption in some areas.
Children and Native Americans are considered special classes by the U.S. government. Children under the age of 16, or under the age of 19 traveling with a school, religious or other youth group, may present a birth certificate (original or copy), consular report of birth abroad, naturalization certificate or Certificate of Canadian Citizenship.
Native Americans may continue to present tribal documents, including the current Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card, as long as they include an affixed photo.
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