Entering Canada - Canada Customs Information
Border Crossing to British Columbia - Passing Through BC to Alaska
U.S. Re-Entry Requirements for United States Citizens

Border Crossing Information

Flag of The United States of America - Information about passports to get into Canada

American and Canadian citizens entering the United States through air, land or sea borders must have a passport or other federally approved ID, such as Washington state's enhanced driver's license.

The new requirement affects Washingtonians driving home from a Vancouver, B.C., weekend trip; those taking a ferry back from Vancouver Island; or Seattle-Alaska cruise passengers whose ships call at British Columbia ports. The Department of Homeland Security recently announced the ID rule, which is the final phase in requiring more standardized and secure border-crossing ID between the U.S. and Canada

All air travelers between the two countries already must have a passport.

For decades, U.S. and Canadian citizens could travel between the two countries and simply declare their citizenship verbally or show a driver's license. That's been steadily tightened in recent years, especially since the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, through what's called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative USA.

Canada - http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/whti-ivho/menu-eng.html

There are, however, some federally approved exceptions to a passport for land/sea travel between the U.S. and Canada.

Among them:

• Washington state residents who don't want to pay for a passport (it costs $100 for an adult first-time passport) can instead get the new Washington enhanced driver's license. It's been approved as an alternative to a passport at land and sea border crossings between the U.S. and Canada, serving both as ID and proof of U.S. citizenship. It's also valid for Mexico land/sea travel, but not for any international air travel. Washington has issued 6,400 of the new enhanced licenses (which contain radio-coded ID) since the program began in January. It costs $15 more than a normal driver's license, and Washington also offers a similar enhanced ID card.

• U.S. and Canadian citizens under 16 will be able to present a birth certificate instead of a passport for crossing land/sea borders between the U.S. and Canada once the stricter ID requirements begin in June 2009. There also will be special provisions for children traveling in school, sports or other groups.

• Travelers who have been prescreened can use "trusted traveler" cards issued by the federal government, including Nexus cards that can be used by motorists at fast-clearance lanes at the Blaine border crossing on Interstate 5.

• The new U.S. passport card — a cheaper ($45 for an adult) but more restricted document than a passport — is available for land/sea travel between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

U.S. Passport office: For details on obtaining a U.S. passport or a passport card, www.travel.state.gov/passport or 877-487-2778.

Washington enhanced driver's license: www.dol.wa.gov/. Phone 866-520-4365 to make an application appointment.

Department of Homeland Security: For more details on the new passport requirement, see www.dhs.gov/.

Canadian Immigration: www.cic.gc.ca

U.S. Custom & Immigration: www.cbp.gov or www.customs.com

Canada Border Services: www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca

Canadian Air Transport Authority : http://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/english/

 

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