Thursday, November 15, 2007

Travel To U.S. From Canada Take Your Photo ID

Update April 2009
The date for requiring passports for land and sea crossings to from US Canada changed several times. The current date is June 1, 2009. (Air travellers already need a passport).

Canadians see this link for details.
US (Americans) see this link for details.

Original post backgrounder:
As of January 31, 2008, travel to the U.S. from Canada, by land or sea, means making sure you have the required documents, or you won't be allowed in.

Since last January, the U.S. has required all air travelers show passports when entering the U.S.A., or when just flying through the U.S. in transit to a winter sun destination. But since many of those travelers who were just passing through were heading to countries that DID require a passport to enter, this wasn't a huge issue. They already had one.

Now, effective January 31, 2008, American law requires that visitors arriving by land and / or water (cruise ships, ferries, etc.) also must have a government-issued photo ID. The photo ID requirement offers several options to enter the U.S. by land or sea:
  • THIS: driver's licence AND a birth certificate or citizenship card (2)
  • Or THIS: Under 16: Birth Certificate (1)
  • OR THIS: Valid Passport (1)
To enter by air, you still need a passport. But even those Canadians who drive from Canada to spend the winter in the southern US. and don't carry a passport should consider getting one. Though it's not required yet, it likely will be at some point, and sooner than later. These 'Snowbirds' who drive south could find themselves having to fly home in the event of an emergency, and trying to arrange a passport or travel documents while out of the country would be a hassle you don't need.

See more information about passports for Canadians, and also an earlier post about frequent land crossers special card.

If you're planning a trip, why not check out my travel tips section.