Do You Need a Passport to Go to Canada?

I have been receiving many questions about traveling to Canada, and the most recent one was whether you need a passport to go to Canada.

Canada and the US have a very long tradition of being good neighbors to each other. In the past, U.S citizens in the USA could just cross the border simply with the driver’s license. However, lately the laws have changed, leaving many confused.

Do you need a passport to go to Canada? Likely, yes. Since June 1, 2009, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) has required that Americans entering Canada by land or by sea should have one of the following documents as evidence of citizenship:

  • An American (U.S) passport book
  • An American passport card
  • A NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST card
  • An improved driver’s license (Only available in a few states)

The only exceptions are for children and most people in closed-loop cruises. Children under the age of 16 are allowed to use their birth certificates, naturalization certificates or certificates of citizenship instead of a passport when they are traveling by land or by sea.

Children under the age of 19 can use birth certificates, too, provided they are traveling with an organized group like a school group, church group, sports team, volunteer group or cultural organization.

The group must be supervised by an adult and should have a letter on organization letterhead that contains the particular group, names of the supervising adult and also the children, and a signed statement certifying that parental permission continues to be obtained for those children on the trip.

Americans traveling to Canada on the closed-loop cruise (one which begins and ends up in the same US port) can travel making use of their driver’s licenses or state -issued ID cards as well as their birth certificates or naturalization certificates.

Now, if you want to travel to Canada by plane, the policies are very different. You will need a passport book (the passport card won’t work), and there are no exceptions for children.

If you are traveling by land or by sea, it’s recommended that you make use of a passport book for those who have to fly home unexpectedly

Website like RushMyPassport makes things easy for people to get a passport much faster and easier. They’ll submit the application and hand-deliver it to the US Department of State, resulting in processing times as little as one day.

Do you have any questions about traveling to Canada by land, let me know by using the comment section below.






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