USA to Canada Passport Laws

USA to Canada Passport Laws
Both the Canadian and United States governments have specific requirements for travel between the two countries. While it is encouraged that all U.S. citizens get passports, they are not necessarily required for travel by land, but are required for travel by air or sea.

Canadian Law

Canada requires that everyone entering the country have proof of identity and citizenship. The documentation required to demonstrate this varies depending on how travelers enter the country.

Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA)

The CBSA determines who can enter the country. CBSA officials check for proper identification and documentation upon entry to Canada.

Passports for U.S. Citizens

U.S. citizens officially do not need a passport to enter Canada in most cases. However, the U.S. Department of State suggests that citizens obtain passports for easy entry.

Travel by Land

To enter Canada by land, U.S. citizens must show government-issued identification, such as a driver's license, birth certificate, naturalization certificate or other documentation proving U.S. citizenship. A NEXUS card is also acceptable.

Travel by Air and Sea

Americans traveling by air back into the United States are required to have a valid passport. This requirement was extended to travel by sea in June 2009.

NEXUS Program

NEXUS is a joint program with Canada to provide an identification card that allows faster entry into the country for pre-screened travelers. This program applies to travel between Canada and the United States by land, sea or air (see Resources).


Article Written By Erica Sweeney

Erica Sweeney is a freelance writer and editor based in Little Rock, Ark. She has a master's in journalism from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her work has been published at, Arkansas Times, Aging Arkansas and Arkansas Business.

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