Entry requirements from USA

Dec 28th, 2001, 05:51 PM
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Entry requirements from USA

My 20 yr old son and a group of his friends are planning on going to Montreal for New Year's eve. What ID's are required for crossing the border? Are there any special issues regarding border crossing, post 9/11 that I should be aware of? Thanks
Dec 28th, 2001, 07:11 PM
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Definate proof of US Citizenship is required. The perfect evidence of course is a passport but failing that a birth certificate, (only of course if he was born in the States), or a voter registration combined with picture ID. The important thing to know is that a Driver's License is NOT proof of citizenship and therefore is NOT sufficient. Sometimes the Immigration people will let you through with no more than a cursory few questions because they are trained to recognize accents and body language of people born in Canada and the US but don't count on it. Passports are still the very best.
Dec 29th, 2001, 04:34 AM
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I believe they're officially asking for 2 pieces of photo ID now - which doesn't mean they will insist on that, but technically they could. This is in addition to proof of citizenship.
Dec 29th, 2001, 10:39 AM
Bob Brown
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On this issue of what to show when crossing the Canadian - US border, I suggest that you life less complex and take your passport. If you don't have one, why not get one? They are good for 10 years and fairly easy to obtain from many post offices.

If you are flying into Canada, I strongly suggest taking your passport.
Technically, it is not required, but with passports we breezed on through while passengers without a passport were subjected to much more questioning. About 4 years ago, well before Sept 11, my wife and I entered Canada at an airport. I had my passport and she did not. After pulling out her voter registration card, driver's license, work ID card, birth certificate and a note from her mother, the Canadian official let her pass. Coming back, it was the same story.

If crossing by automobile today, I still would take my passport because it makes life simpler. Taking along a copy of a birth certificate is to me more risky than taking a passport!! I can use my birth certificate to get a new passport, but not the other way around!!
I doubt if we will ever return to the good old days when all I had to show both going and coming was my Southern drawl and Scotch-Irish complexion.
Dec 30th, 2001, 12:04 PM
Bob Brown
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Before anyone comments on my wording, I know that the US Post Office does not issue passports. But I went to the local main US Post Office and filled out the papers and had my photo made there. So I guess it would be more correct to say that the application was filled through the Post Office.

I was happy I had my passport on another occasion, too, before Sept 11, 2001. I was driving from Calgary to Yellowstone in a Hertz car. The US immigration official at the border station gave me the third degree. He was asking such questions as "Where did you get the car? Where did you enter Canada? Why did you fly into Calgary? Where are you going in the USA? How long are you going to be there? Why are you going there? Where are you from? How are you going back home? Why is an American driving a Canadian car? Why aren't you driving an American car? How are you going to return the car? Where?"
After I realized that his questioning was going to continue for a while, I showed him my passport and the rental contract. That finally placated him. I could have saved myself some time had I simply presented both documents when I pulled up to the window.
Jan 31st, 2004, 03:14 PM
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Since this thread is a few years old, I want to bring it back now to see what's current on this topic.

I want to drive from the US into Canada. Anything in particular I should know? I am planning on taking my passport so that won't be a problem. I assume I will have to pass through some sort of checkpoint - will my vehicle be searched? Not that I will have anything to hide, but I want to be prepared in advance about the procedure. And I guess I should call my automobile insurance agent to see if my policy will cover any accident that may occur while I am in Canada.

As always, thanks for any responses.
crepes_a_go_go is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 03:43 PM
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>>>>>>I want to drive from the US into Canada. Anything in particular I should know? I am planning on taking my passport so that won't be a problem.<<<<<<

It's good that you'll be bringing your passport.

>>>>>>I assume I will have to pass through some sort of checkpoint<<<<<<


>>>>>>will my vehicle be searched?<<<<<<

Yes, it could be.

>>>>>>And I guess I should call my automobile insurance agent to see if my policy will cover any accident that may occur while I am in Canada.<<<<<<


Two other issues I can think of off the top of my head:

(1) It's very important that you get health insurance that covers you in Canada.

(2) I've never encountered this issue myself, and don't know the ins and outs of it, but I think you should do some research. In another post you said you might bring your two children with you to Canada. They will need their own passports. Also, it could be that you would need to carry documentation proving that their other parent agrees to your taking them to Canada. As I said, I don't know the current rules, but I think you need to find out.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 03:47 PM
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Oh, another point that holds up some Americans at the Canadian border. I'm not saying this necessarily applies to you, but in case it does, don't even think of bringing a firearm into Canada.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Based on recent experience of friends I expect that your entry into Canada will be quite uneventful. Like Judy said, firearms rules are different here. I believe that there is provision for hunters to bring in firearms provided specific procedures are followed.
Gavin is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 04:02 PM
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I have just recently seen a TV program about one parent taking kids into Canada. Yes, they say you must have a signed and notarized statement from the other parent giving permission. My husband had to sign just such a letter when we got passports for our children since I was the one who took them in to apply. I guess when you are not in a hostile custody situation, you just don't think about the fact that one parent traveling alone with the kids could be kidnapping them.

My driving and bringing the kids with me will totally depend upon my finding a furnished rental that I can afford. If that doesn't work out, I will have to stay with a host family or in a dormitory, and in that case, I will fly.

Either way, I will leave my firearms and weapons at home - LOL!
crepes_a_go_go is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 11:17 AM
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I agree, take your passport for Canada, if you have one. The problem is not so much entry into Canada as it is returning home. Even then, be prepared for some coakamamie questions from the American agents. Last summer, I flew to Calgary and rented a car from Hertz. As part of the trip, we re-entered the USA at Sweet Grass, MT. At the border station I got the 3rd degree. I think most of it originated because I was an American driving a Canadian car.

Although I presented the rental contract and my passport, I still had to fend off a bunch of questions about who I was and where I got the car.

Some of the questions struck me as ridiculous, however. The man in the booth took my passport, then he asked me where I lived and other related questions.
Then he told me my insurance was no good. (Well, I had asked the chief claims agent of my insurance company about that very issue. He told me my insurance was valid for liability. But the border patrol guy knew more about insurance than a CPCU with 16 years of claims experience.)

I know it sounds like you will be driving your own car, but for Americans who rent a car in Canada and cross the border, you would help yourself if you had an endorsement on the contract saying that the rental company knew you were crossing the border with the car.

I don't know what kind of reception a Canadian might get if he or she were driving an American car into Canada.

In many highway crossings entering Canada, I have never had any problem at all with the Canadian officials, except we once had either to eat 6 plums or throw them away. The only other request I ever had was to remove my sun glasses.
I am sure the official wanted to see my eyes and full expression.

The only full vehicle search I have ever seen in many crossings occured at the Chief Mountain post as we were going from Glacier NP to Waterton. Some guy in front of me in a psychedelic VW van smarted off to the Canadian border official about firearms and liquor. He was talking loudly and said something to the effect of "I got enough stuff in here to blow up Chief Mountain and get all the Indians drunk." As I pulled away, the Canadian authorities were getting their exercise for the day.
The insides of the van were rapidly becoming the outsides as all sorts of stuff piled up on the pavement.

Although I was the next vehicle in line, I passed on through with a wave and a smile after the normal questions.

So when the Canadian officer asks about firearms, tobacco, or what ever, answer openly and with a straight face. Those folks have a job to do, and in my experience, they are totally professional and polite.

In contrast, I don't know what to tell you about American officials except to be prepared to gut it out. The interesting aspect of it is that I have gotten more grilling between the US and Canada at highway crossings than I have in several international airports when returning from Europe.

All of my returns from Europe into Philadelphia and Atlanta have been routine. No questions at all from customs or from immigration officials.
brookwood is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 11:33 AM
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Regarding Brookwood's most recent post, I am quite sure that it is completely non-kosher for residents of one of the sides (can't recall which one, but think it is Canadians) to rent a car in the states (on the other side) and drive it back into (home country) Canada. It may even be "unlawful"/illegal to do this, and not just a "violation of the contract" (such as driving on a non-paved road, etc.)

Regarding other stuff:

EITHER a certified copy of your birth certificate OR a passport is required for U.S. citizens going to Canada these days. Again, not because Canada cares so much about either, but because the U.S. side will basically demand either for re-entry.

Regarding the transportation of minors across the border, if they are accompanied by one parent, a note from the other parent (if at all a legal custodian, especially) saying that s/he is well aware that they are going.

If you are bringing a minor who isn't your offspring, then a well-written note from their parents and the birth certificate or passport, AND photo ID is the wise move.

I do NOT believe that these last things need to be notarized, at least for casual day/weekend trips, as that has been my recent experience.

Maybe one person will read one little dabble of something I've refreshed and be aided by it.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 06:51 PM
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Well, looks like I will have some experiences to look forward to! Thank goodness I will be driving my own vehicle and not a rental. And both my children have passports, and I will have a signed and notarized letter from my husband as well. I'm sure he'd much rather come with us and not have need for a letter, but unfortunately, someone in the family has to work so the rest of us can afford the luxury of these wonderful adventures! LOL

Thanks for all your knowledge.
crepes_a_go_go is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 02:52 PM
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I don't know if someone mentioned this previously, but get a "Canada card"(a small yellow card) from your car insurance company verifying that is covers you for the minimum in all provinces. It should be free to get this card as you're generally not buying additional coverage, just verifying it. It may take a few days for the company to process the request.
all of My border crossings my car into Canada and back to the US 0 had been uneventful, but there are occasional backups in either direction.
Driving your own car and having passports will make things faster. Having the notarized letter form your husband is fine and necessary, but don't be surprised if the border agents still question you and your kids (if old enough) more that they might someone travelling without kids.
janie is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 04:21 PM
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Crepes_a_go_go, this is a bit of a tangent, but it's somewhat related to the current discussion.

You can get a rebate for the GST (goods and services tax) portion of some of your expenditures while you're in Canada. The paperwork is a pain in the neck. For many people who come to Canada for a few days, the few dollars they'll be refunded are just not worth the bother. However, in your case, since you may be staying for a couple of months, your expenditures may be substantial enough to make it worth you while to complete the paperwork.

Here's a website that explains how it works:

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 05:01 PM
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Crepes a go go
I think you have received all the correct legal advice regarding the crossings.

Before Christmas my wife and I drove down to Seattle for one night. On the way back, they would not even look at our passports.

Two yuppies in a volvo 850 do not seem to raise a suspicion.

What interested me was Usa customs asking if we had guns. You cannot even buy a decent assault rifle here, but the couple we were visiting had two proppped up agains the TV.
icithecat is offline  

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