As of Jan. 31, travelers crossing into the U.S. from Canada are being required to present official proofs of citizenship and identity. Such a requirement covers entrants from all foreign destinations, but is being applied to the Canadian border for the first time. Previously, U.S. and Canadian citizens entering the country over that border were asked only to make an oral declaration of their citizenship. The new procedure "marks the transition toward standard and consistent documents for all travelers entering the country," according to a statement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "It is also the start of a robust and concerted public education campaign, intended to inform travelers of document requirements which will be implemented next year." Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, said the U.S. no longer can afford an "honor system" at the Canadian border. The rule applies to U.S. and Canadian citizens ages 19 and older, who will be asked to present documentation from a specified list of acceptable documents when entering the U.S. at land and sea ports of entry. Children ages 18 and under need only present a birth certificate. A complete list of acceptable documents can be found on the CBP website.
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