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New Requirements for Travelers

Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)

New U.S. Birth Certificate Requirement

Beginning April 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of State will require the full names of the applicant's parent(s) to be listed on all certified birth certificates to be considered as primary evidence of U.S. citizenship for all passport applicants, regardless of age.  Certified birth certificates missing this information will not be acceptable as evidence of citizenship.  This will not affect applications already in-process that have been submitted or accepted before the effective date.

For more information, see 22 CFR 51.42(a) .

To obtain a new birth certificate, see the CDC .

In addition to this requirement, certified copies of birth certificates must also include the following information to be considered acceptable primary evidence of U.S. citizenship:

  • Full name of the applicant
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal of issuing authority
  • Registrar's signature
  • The date the certificate was filed with the registrar's office (must be within one year)

Cruise Travel

Option #1

A) No, a passport will be required if the following applies to you.

U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port) will be able to enter or depart the country with a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents.

Option #2

A) Yes, a passport will be required if the following applies to you.

U.S. citizens not on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin at one port and end at a different U.S. or foreign port) will not be able to enter or depart the country without a passport.



While a passport is not required for certain modes of cruise travel. It's recommended that citizens obtain a passport in case of emergency debarkation inwhich you may be required to fly back into the U.S. during your cruise voayage which requires you to have a passport.

CHILDREN: U.S. citizen children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card.

Groups of U.S. citizen children ages 16 through 18, when traveling with a school or religious group, social organization, or sports team, will be able to enter under adult supervision with originals or copies of their birth certificates or other proof of citizenship.

Citizens Who Owe Child Support

Child Support Payments and Getting a U.S. Passport

Section 51.70 (a) (8) of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations states, in part, that if you are certified to Passport Services by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to be in arrears of child support payments in excess of $2,500, you are ineligible to receive a U.S. passport . If this applies to you, Passport Services strongly recommends that you contact the appropriate State child support enforcement agency to make payment arrangements before applying for a passport. This is because:

  • The State agency must certify to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that acceptable payment arrangements have been made.
  • Then, HHS must notify Passport Services by the removal of your name from the electronic list HHS gives to Passport Services. (Passport Services cannot issue a passport until your name has been deleted by HHS.)

Please note that it can take 2-3 weeks from the time you make payment arrangements with the State agency until your name is removed from HHS' electronic list. Passport Services has no information concerning individuals' child support obligations and has no authority to take action until HHS removes your name from its list.

Please direct any questions to the appropriate State child support enforcement agency.

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