WASHINGTON — U.S. travelers going to Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda or Canada by land or sea will have to carry one of six government-approved IDs as of June 1, and government officials want to make sure they know about it.
The so-called Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative kicks into high gear with the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection announcing Wednesday a $12 million ad campaign, featuring a TV ad during Thursday night's NFL opener between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.
"It's a new way of doing business on the borders," said Thomas Winkowski, an assistant commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. "We've already seen a willingness of the public to go along with the new requirements."
In addition to a traditional passport, travelers can choose from a passport card — and in Washington state, an enhanced driver's license — as well as from three types of cards available in the Trusted Traveler Program for frequent border crossers. One exception was made for cruise ship-goers on trips that begin and end at the same port, such as Miami; travelers can provide a birth certificate and photo ID.
"We still think it's an important thing for people to get a passport," said Michael Crye, executive vice president of Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group of 24 cruise lines.
Cruise lines had objected to an earlier deadline, and Congress delayed the land and sea ID requirements until June. Air travelers have had to produce passports since January 2007.
U.S. border officials are improving crossings both on the Canadian and Mexican borders so that cars with Trusted Traveler cardholders use dedicated lanes to speed processing.
The options for travelers:
_ U.S. passport. $100 for 10 years, for citizens 16 and older.
_ U.S. passport card. $45 for 10 years, for 16 and older. It's a smaller and more convenient format available since July, with 400,000 holders so far.
_ Enhanced driver's license. It will include a chip to give border agents quick access to information. It is available in Washington state and soon in New York. Other states working on program: Vermont, Arizona and Michigan.
_ Trusted Traveler Program. Three types of cards, ranging from $50 to $122.25, that require applicants to be vetted by federal officials. There are 500,000 holders.
The government has set up a Web site, www.getyouhome.gov, to help make the process easier.
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