Is a passport needed to travel from the US to Canada?

11 August 2021
Is a passport needed to travel from the US to Canada?

According to the Canada Border Services Agency, everyone must have a passport or equivalent documentation such as a NEXUS card or an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) to enter Canada by land, sea, or air. Although, it is strongly suggested all citizens of both Canada and the United States carry passports when crossing borders.

Like the United States, Canada approves the use of alternative travel documentation that can be used in place of a passport.

In Canada approved equivalent travel documentation is:

  1. NEXUS card: A card that pre-approves entry by land, sea and air between the U.S. and Canada. There is an application process which involves an interview. Apply through U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  2. U.S. Passport Card: Issued by the U.S. Department of State it allows entry into Canada by all travel means.
  3. Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL): This card proves both identity and citizenship. The EDL can be used by land or sea, but not by air. Currently, an EDL is only available in Washington and New York states.

However, that’s only half the story, if you want to re-enter the United States, you better be prepared with your U.S. passport or equivalent travel documentation in hand.

According to The United States Embassy Consular Services Canada, “All persons, U.S. citizens or foreign nationals must present a valid passport or alternate approved travel document to enter or depart from the United States by air.”

This policy was passed by Congress as The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) “to strengthen border security and facilitate entry into the United States.” Travel document security remains a top priority for the U.S. government.

In the United States approved equivalent travel documentation is:

  1. NEXUS Card: A WHTI-compliant document for land and sea travel as well as air travel between airports using the NEXUS program.
  2. U.S. Passport Card: A U.S. government passport card that allows entry back into the U.S. from Canada.
  3. Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL): This card proves both identity and citizenship. The EDL can be used by land or sea but not by air. Currently, an EDL is only available in Washington and New York states.

The United States also requires persons over the age of 19 years to provide government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s license, and proof of citizenship such as a birth or naturalization certificate.

Persons 18 years of age and less must provide proof of citizenship.

Nexus and FAST cards are also acceptable for proof of citizenship and identity. If you are traveling with children make sure you are prepared with the proper documentation when crossing borders, check on The United States Embassy Consular Services Canada for more information.

When traveling to Canada, make sure to purchase your travel insurance policy beforehand. There are several policies to choose from including; medical travel insurance, in case you are injured, while away from home, single trip insurance, and multi-trip insurance as well.

You can never be too safe when leaving your home country and entering a foreign one.

Share
Damian Tysdal
Author
DamianTysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.