There has always been confusion between going to Canada and re-entering back into the United States. Going to Canada by road does not technically require a U.S. citizen to have a passport but sure does if the entry is by air. So, if your next trip to Canada will be by road, there are alternative documents that can substitute for a passport. These documents must be issued by the government in order for them to be used. You will need only one to prove your identity. However, if you decide to go and only carry one form of ID, that can result in you being held up by Canadian authority. So, it is best to go with a passport due to the fact the when returning, you can use a passport.

Going to Canada by Road

Going by road has fewer restrictions as do by flying. By entering the country this way, Canadian Border Agents will accept similar travel documents. These documents are:

  1. NEXUS Card
  2. US Passport Card
  3. Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL)
  4. FAST Card
  5. Green Card

We know that minors don’t usually have the same identifications as an adult. So, minors are excluded from having a picture ID but can still own one if the parent gets it. A minor can use proof of citizenship which is a birth certificate instead of a passport. A U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of U.S. Naturalization can be used as well. All must all be original documents. If a copy is made, get the copy notarized before submitting it.

Going to Canada by Air

If you are flying into Canada, you will need a passport to show immigration before entering. Using your passport will surely make your return back into the U.S. a lot easier as well. As of 2004, U.S. and Canada had an agreement to strengthen border security by implementing the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Due to this agreement, all U.S. citizens entering Canada does not need a passport but will do when returning home.

So, even if you have other forms of ID and you choose to use one to enter Canada, it is best to carry your passport so that on your way back you can use it. Carrying your passport will help you enter the US and prevent you from being stopped by Immigration. A US passport in the reference must be a valid passport and not one that expired. If your passport expired while in Canada, go to a US Embassy and obtain a temporary passport to re-enter the US. Once back, you can apply for a new passport.

Going to Canada with Minors

Canada border crossing with children has its restrictions. If one parent is crossing with a minor, a signed notarized document and from the absent parent must be presented stating permission is granted for the minor to travel outside the U.S. If the parents are divorced, documentation with proof must be shown as well. Without these documents, you might not be granted entry or delay the entry process. These rules also apply to legal guardians who are crossing with minors. so, it is best to get all the necessary information before traveling to Canada or any other international destination. You do not want to travel to a border and cannot enter because of some technicality or existing laws you did not know about.

Travelers with Criminal Convictions

Possessing a passport does not automatically qualify you to enter into Canada if you have a criminal record. People with criminal convictions may not be allowed to enter unless due to the discretion of the Border agent. Also, if stopped for questioning, provide as many documents (court documents) as possible to make the entry possible. The more proof you have show your conviction was taken care off, the more likely you will have the opportunity to enter the country.

So, if you plan to go to Canada by either land, sea, or air, it is best to take your passport even if you have an alternative document. Hence, having a passport will not stop you from entering the U.S. on your way back. If you don’t have a passport, you should apply for it as soon as possible. You can also use an expediting company if you will travel soon. This way, you will have a passport to prevent any setbacks.