Crossing the US / Canada Border
- A US Passport, Passport Card, Enhanced Driver License or an Enhanced ID Card (EDL/ID) is REQUIRED to cross the US/Canadian border by land and sea.
- A Passport is required for air travel.
- A Passport Card or EDL/ID are NOT valid for air travel.
When traveling between Canada and the United States, it will be necessary to pass through Customs and Border Protection at the border.
arrowSome Important Things to Know Before You Cross the Border!
When traveling between Canada and the United States, it will be necessary to pass through Customs and Border Protection at the border. The professionals who work at Customs are highly trained and this process is generally very simple. They’ll ask to see your ID, ask about your citizenship and ask you to produce one of the documents above when crossing the border. Millions of people cross the border every year with ease, but some are refused due to lack of sufficient documentation. If you want to have a successful border crossing, it is important to know everything you’ll need before you get there. Remember, these steps are in place to protect you so be sure to learn about crossing the border and avoid disappointment!
arrowIdentification is a Requirement!
Identification is necessary for travel between the United States and Canada. Effective June 1, 2009 all travelers must travel with a Passport, Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License or Enhanced ID Card (EDL/ID). When traveling by land or sea, US or Canadian children under age 16 will be able to enter with an original or copy of a Birth Certificate, no photo ID required.
If you are not a United States or Canadian born citizen you will be required to have a passport and possibly a Visa. Airlines will require a passport for all travelers. Refer to the list of websites below for current visa requirements.
arrowWhat is an Enhanced Driver License or Enhanced ID Card?
US citizens who are Washington State residents are eligible to purchase an Enhanced Driver License or Enhanced ID Card for $15.00 more than a regular driver license and can be obtained within a couple of weeks. This EDL/ID will meet the requirements for proof of citizenship to re-enter the US from Canada and Mexico by land or sea. Many other states have or will soon have EDL/ID available for their residents, check with your local DOL for more information. Further information is available at the Washington State Department of Licensing website.
As of January 1, 2013, states/provinces offering an Enhanced Driver License/Enhanced ID Card:
arrowChildren and Infants Require More Proof
US or Canadian children under age 16 and infants are required to provide proof of citizenship for each child. That may include original or copy of Birth Certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Naturalization Certificate or Citizenship Card. If both birth parents are not traveling you must have written authorization from the parent(s) or proof of custody. Children from countries other than US or Canada will require a passport and possibly a Visa. Failure to provide such evidence may make you inadmissible to Canada.
arrowIf You’ve Ever Had a Felony…(Including DUI)
Persons with a felony may be denied entrance into Canada. If you have been convicted of a crime in the United States it may be considered a felony in Canada. A Driving Under the Influence conviction (DUI) is considered a felony in Canada. Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for more information.
arrowOrganized Student Groups
Groups of Children: Effective June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizen children under age 19 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory and traveling with a school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or sports team, may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card. Visit the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative website for more information.
The group should be prepared to present a letter on organizational letterhead with the following information:
The name of the group and supervising adult,
A list of the children on the trip, and the primary address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth, and name of at least one parent or legal guardian for each child,
A written and signed statement of the supervising adult certifying that he or she has obtained parental or legal guardian consent for each participating child.
“Do You Need More Information?”
For further information on crossing the US/Canadian Border and duties you may have to pay on goods you bring back to the US, please reference these sites:
U. S. Customs and Border Protection
Department of Homeland Security
U. S. Department of State
U. S. Department of State – Visa Requirements to enter the U. S.
Canada Border Services Agency
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Citizenship and Immigration Canada – Visa Requirements to enter Canada
Citizenship and Immigration Canada – Overcoming criminal inadmissibility into Canada
Washington State Department of Licensing/ Enhanced Driver License/ ID Card
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative