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ID and Passport Guide and Obtaining a Canadian Passport

What ID do you need to enter the United States by land?

As of June 1, 2009, if you travel to the U.S. by land or water, a U.S. law will require you to present one of the following valid WHTI compliant documents:

  • a passport;
  • a NEXUS card;
  • a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card;
  • an enhanced driver’s licence (EDL) or enhanced identification card (EIC) from a province that has implemented a U.S. approved EDL / EIC program; or
  • a Secure Certificate of Indian Status;

Canadian citizens flying to or through the United States must present a valid Canadian passport.  A NEXUS card when used at a kiosk at participating airports is also acceptable.

Canadian citizens who are U.S. lawful permanent residents may present their permanent resident card (Form I-551) or other valid evidence of permanent residence status in the U.S. For more information, you may visit American Consular Services.

Passports

For information on obtaining a Canadian passport, please visit Passport Canada.

The website will provide you with everything you need including passport eligibility, application and renewal processes, guarantor policies, estimated processing times, passport office locations and required application forms.

Enhanced Drivers License / Enhanced Identification Card

Certain provinces participate in U.S. approved Enhanced Drivers License (EDL) and Enhanced Identification Card (EIC) programs, allowing Canadian citizens to cross the Canada / U.S. border with an EDL or an EIC.

Provinces participating in these programs as of June, 2010 are British ColumbiaManitobaOntario andQuebec.

Canadian Citizens 15 Years or Under

Canadian citizens 15 years or younger are only required to present proof of Canadian citizenship, such as a birth certificate or citizenship card.

Traveling alone with minors

All adults traveling alone with minor children are strongly recommended to have a letter authorizing them to take the children on a trip out of the country. The letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or legal guardian can be reached and will confirm that the children are not being abducted or taken against their will. Border services officers watch for missing children may ask detailed questions about the children who are traveling with you.

Divorced/separated parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents.