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Transportation: Travel to the U.S.

Documents for travel to the United States

As of January 31, 2008, Canadian citizens travelling by land to the United States must present one of the following:

  • a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s licence, PLUS a birth certificate or citizenship card; or
  • a valid passport; or
  • a NEXUS card; or
  • a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card; or
  • an enhanced driver’s licence; or
  • a Certificate of Indian Status card; or
  • for those aged 18 years and under only proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, is required.

There will be a transition period during which time travellers who do not present the appropriate documents may be delayed while U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers attempt to verify their citizenship and identity. Travellers may also be given an information sheet explaining the new procedures. The intent of this transition period is to raise awareness of the change, educate travellers and allow ample time for them to obtain the necessary documents.

The transition period will continue for approximately 18 months until the full implementation of the WHTI document requirements for travel to the United States by land and water takes effect June 1, 2009.

Upon full implementation of the U.S. WHTI on June 1, 2009, Canadian citizens will be required to present one of the following U.S. WHTI-compliant documents when travelling to, through or from the United States by land:

  • a valid passport; or
  • a NEXUS card; or
  • a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card; or
  • an enhanced driver’s licence (EDL) (in provinces and territories where U.S.-approved EDL programs are implemented).

Canadian citizens 15 years of age and under will only require proof of citizenship, such as an original or a copy of a birth certificate, or a Canadian citizenship card. Canadian citizens 18 years of age and under who are travelling with a school or other organized group, under adult supervision with parental/guardian consent, may also present proof of citizenship alone.

Entry requirements to the United States have not changed for non-Canadian citizens residing in Canada. For more information on U.S. entry requirements, consult the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Web site.

U.S. Customs check-list

1. Don’t try to cross without proper I.D., especially if you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen.

2. Have your I.D.s ready and out when you arrive at the border crossing. Don’t wait for the border official to ask for this. Everyone will be asked. If you have proper I.D. and it’s quickly and readily available for the officials, the entry will be quicker. Be forthcoming about the fact you are going skiing.

3. Do not attempt to bring illegal drugs or firearms or weapons of any kind into the U.S. You will be stopped and perhaps arrested if you try to do so in an unauthorized manner.

4. If you have a criminal record or other illegal offenses that prohibit you from entering the U.S., don’t try to enter. All visitors will be checked and it will only delay others in your party if you try to enter illegally.

5. Bringing food into the United States. If you bring fruit make sure that it has stickers indicating that it was produced in the United States. For more info on foods allowed into the U.S...

Les résidents américains et canadiens qui traversent la frontière américano-canadienne être munis d'un permis de conduire valide, d'un certificat de naissance ou de leur passeport. Les étrangers résidents permanents aux Etats-Unis doivent présenter leur carte verte. Non-Canadians must present a valid passport and complete an I-94 immigration form. The cost for I-94 form is $6.00 U.S. (cash only) payable upon entry into the United States. The I-94 visa is valid for 3 months.

More info...

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