The following advisories should be considered when traveling between the U.S. and The Islands of The Bahamas:

Butane Lighters Prohibited on Flights to the U.S.

Effective March 1, 2005, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) added lighters to the list of prohibited items that are not allowed past the secure area at U.S. airports on flights to, from, or within the U.S. There will be no change to the screening process in U.S. airports under the new policy. Walk-through metal detector screening and secondary screening will continue according to U.S. procedure. Lighters will be treated as any other prohibited item. Unless a passenger attempts to artfully conceal a lighter, or there are other aggravating circumstances, passengers are unlikely to be fined.

New U.S. Travel Document Requirements

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will require all travelers, including U.S. citizens, to and from The Bahamas to have a passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer’s identity and nationality to enter or re-enter the United States. This is a change from prior travel requirements. The goal is to strengthen border security and facilitate entry into the United States for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors. In the proposed implementation plan, which is subject to a period of initial public comment, the Initiative will be rolled out in phases, providing as much advance notice as possible to the affected public to enable them to meet the terms of the new guidelines. The proposed timeline will be as follows:

* December 31, 2006 – Requirement applied to all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
* December 31, 2007 – Requirement extended to all land border crossings as well as air and sea travel.

Visit the U.S. Department of State’s website for more information.