Types of Travel Documents for Entering and Departing the U.S.

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As an international traveler, the requirements for crossing over boundaries change depending on the country. Making sure you have the required visas and necessary travel documents for entering or departing the U.S. are an essential part of international travel.

Documents for leaving the U.S. by air

U.S. law requires all customers, regardless of citizenship, age or destination, to hold a secure travel documents to depart the U.S. by air during travel. This is referring to a passport, U.S. permanent resident card, Refugee or Stateless travel document, Re-Entry Permit, NEXUS card, U.S. Merchant Mariner Card, Military ID and emergency travel document issued by an embassy or consulate. Keep in mind that the travel document requirements for departure from the U.S. may not be the same required to enter another country.

Documents for entering the U.S. by air

Customers seeking entry into the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program are required to obtain an authorization by the Electronic system for Travel Authorization before traveling. The US-VISIT program applies to most people during their international travel who are U.S. residents, U.S. visa holders or are entering the U.S. or Guam under the Visa Waiver Program. All non-U.S. citizens must complete the I-94 form, except U.S. citizens, returning resident aliens, Canadian citizens, and Non-U.S. citizens enter under the VWP. Passports must be in good condition for entry, so keep your travel documents safe and protected.

guide to us culture and customs link

For travel within the U.S.

Adult passengers (18 and over) are required to show a valid U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID that has name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature. Any of the following travel documents are sufficient for this requirement.

  • U.S. passport

  • U.S. passport card

  • DHS “Trusted Traveler” cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)

  • U.S. Military ID

  • Permanent Resident Card

  • Border Crossing Card

  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license

  • Drivers Licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) that meets REAL ID benchmarks (All states are currently in compliance.)

  • A Native American Tribal Photo ID

  • An airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)

  • A Registered Traveler Card (that contains the following: Name; Date of Birth; Gender; Expiration date; and a Tamper-resistant feature)

  • A foreign government-issued passport

  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card

    Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)

Passport, visa, and health requirements

Requirements for passports, visas, and health for entry into destination countries and for transit through another country are provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These requirements must be verified before your trip.


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