Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



January 31, 2008 is a Key Date for Travellers Between Canada and the United States

As of January 31, 2008, a Canadian travelling to the United States by car, bus,  and other road vehicles (or walking), trains, and boats and other watercraft (or swimming) will have to comply with documentation requirements under the United States Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

Under U.S. law, a Canadians will be required to provide to U.S. border officials:

  • a passport; or
  • a valid government issued identification (such as a valid driver's license) AND a valid birth certificate OR a NEXUS or FAST card  (but one has to go through a lengthy process to obtain these types of cards).

If the individual who is travellnig to the United States is under 18 years of age, the individual must have either a valid passport or a valid birth certificate. 

If a Canadian is travelling to the United States by air, the individual must provide a valid passport  or NEXUS or FAST card - the alternative forms of documentation are not acceptable.

News reports have indicated that U.S border officials may act reasonably to permit Americans returning to the United States from Canada without their required documentation.  But there is no guarantee that a U.S. border official will waive requirements to comply with the U.S. law.  Consequently, it will likely be a quicker journey if one has the proper documentation.

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