The Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has approved the Native American Tribal Card issued by the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho as an acceptable travel document for purposes of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. This designation, which became effective on January 31, 2012, allows Kootenai Tribe members to establish identity and citizenship by showing their approved card when entering the United States from contiguous territory or adjacent islands at land and sea ports of entry.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), effective June 1, 2009, specifies the documents that U.S. citizens and non-immigrant aliens from Canada, Bermuda, and Mexico are required to present when entering the United States at land and sea ports of entry. Pursuant to the initiative, an approved Native American Tribal Card is among the acceptable documents that may be used to establish citizenship and identity upon entry into the United States when traveling from contiguous territory or adjacent islands.
On March 3, 2009, CBP and the Kootenai Tribe signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to develop the Tribe’s cards and evaluate their use for border crossing purposes. In accordance with the MOA, the cards are issued to Kootenai Tribe members who are able to establish identity, tribal membership, and U.S. or Canadian citizenship. CBP tested the cards, which contain various physical security features, and determined that they meet the requirements for acceptable documents under the WHTI. CBP’s ongoing acceptance of the Kootenai Tribal Card as a WHTI-compliant document is conditional on compliance with the MOA and other related agreements.