A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue or verify United States passports.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires that by January 1, 2008, all U.S. citizens have a valid passport or other secure, accepted document, in order to enter or re-enter the Unites States. The proposed timeline for the implementation of this requirement is as follows:
- January 23, 2007: A passport will be required for re-entering the United States by air from the following destinations: Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Bermuda, in addition to all other foreign destinations that already require a passport.
- January 1, 2008: The passport requirement will be extended to all land border crossings as well as air and sea travel.