State Department Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee
State Department Testimony before the
House Judiciary Committee
on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
Muhammad and the Western Hemisphere
May 13, 2003,
Attorney Adviser, Chief of Passport Legal Office
Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs
Mr. Chairman, Committee Members.
Thank you for inviting me to speak
to this Committee about the exception to the general requirement that United
States citizens carry a U.S.
passport when entering and exiting the United
The requirements are as
follows:† The Immigration and Nationality
Act of 1952 in Section 215, Travel Documentation of Aliens and Citizens,
subsection (b) relating to U.S. citizens, states that, unless otherwise
provided, it is unlawful for U.S citizens to depart from or enter the United
States unless they bear a valid U.S. passport.
By regulation, the Secretary of
State provided that U.S.
citizens are excepted from this requirement in a
number of situations.† The two major
exceptions are when the U.S.
citizen is traveling directly between parts of the United
States; and, when traveling between the United
States and any country, territory or island
adjacent thereto, in North, South or Central America,
The other exceptions are for U.S.
seamen and air crew carrying valid merchant mariner or air crew ID; for members
of the U.S. armed forces on active duty; for certain minor members of the
household of foreign or United Nations official employees; for children under
12 years old who are included in a parentís foreign passport if they are able
to otherwise prove U.S. citizenship; for U.S. citizens carrying a card of
citizenship and identity issued by a U.S. consul abroad; and, for individuals
specifically authorized by the Secretary of State through appropriate official
channels.† The last exception is
administered by officials at U.S.
ports of entry.