Aug 20 2007
Homeland Security and Vermont Partner to Create a WHTI-Compliant Document
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has signed on to launch a project in collaboration with Vermont to enhance the state’s driver’s license security and to develop a possible alternative document for crossing U.S. land and sea borders.
The project, coined the ‘Vermont Project’, is similar to a recent agreement with the state of Washington made earlier this year, and is one possible way to reach compliance with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). WHTI will require by January 31, 2008 that U.S. and Canadian citizens present either a WHTI-compliant identification document or a government-issued photo ID (e.g.: a driver’s license), along with proof of citizenship (e.g.: a birth certificate), to enter the U.S. Homeland Security intends to end the currently routine practice of accepting simply oral declarations at land and sea ports of entry. In addition, they will start implementing alternative procedures for entry for U.S. and Canadian children.
"I applaud the leadership of the state of Vermont who came forward to join us in our effort to bolster security through secure identification," said Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security. "This partnership helps us strike the right balance between security and facilitation, incorporating 21st century technology and innovation."
Vermont, as part of the agreement with DHS, will create an enhanced driver's license that will give their state’s residents (that voluntarily apply and qualify) a document they may use at U.S. land and sea ports. This ‘enhanced’ driver's license will be a bit more expensive than the standard state driver's license and will require proof of citizenship, identity, and residence. In addition, the ‘enhanced’ driver’s license will contain security features similar to a U.S. passport.