Montreal via Burlington?

Old Jun 16th, 2007, 07:42 PM
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Montreal via Burlington?

Planning a trip to Montreal in Spetember, but one of our party hasn't applied for a passport yet, so now we have to consider other options in case his application doesn't pan out in time. Is flying into Burlington, VT and driving from there a decent option? Someone told me the Montreal ariport is an hour outside the city, so driving two hours from Burlington doesn't sound bad--is it? Any tips? Thanks!
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Old Jun 17th, 2007, 03:44 AM
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The drive from Burlington to Montreal is very easy . it is a small airport so you get luggage quickly and can leave quickly.
I would say it is a very good option for you as long as the rental car co is ok with your driving to Canada. (I think they all are)

If you don't all have passports, be sure that you have birth certificates for the border.

If you go through from I-89 there is no highway on the Canadian side until you reach St Jean sur Richelieu area. You go through an agricultural area with small towns.
In Sept some of the apple orchards will probably have cider, hard cider and maybe ice cider for sale. In summer you can get corn on the cob cooked in kettles at farms along the way--Sept may be too late for this.

From Burlington you can also get off the interstate and drive through the Champlain islands, then connect to I-87 in NY. this is a very pretty drive in nice weather, a little longer. The drive on the Canadian side is more boring with this route.
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Old Jun 17th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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Thanks very much! I was looking at Burlington as a work-around, but now I think it may be the better option.
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Old Jun 17th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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Well, going straight to Montreal would be more convenient, but Burlington is a pretty reasonable alternative. If you decide you are interested in things to see between Burlington and Montreal, let me know and I can suggest a few.

I was just looking at the State Dept web site to start working on renewing our son's passport and checked out the new rules for "Temporary Travel Flexibility for U.S. Citizens with Pending Passport Applications." This is the new waiver of the requirement for passports for US citizens flying to the US from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean It sounds as though this option only works if the passport is far along in the application process to generate an on-line status report. It would probably be safer not to count on using this if you aren't already able to get the status report.
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Old Jun 17th, 2007, 01:26 PM
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Yes, we are aware of the extension of the new rules, but you have to have a receipt showing that you applied for your passport no later than June 8--that and your driver's license would let you fly back into the US without a passport; but our traveler didn't apply by that date. He may yet succeed in getting a passport in time for out trip by going through an expeditor, but we're researching other options just in case.
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 03:27 AM
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I had not seen anything specifying that the new policy said that the application had to be pending as of June 8th. The state dept information is certainly not a model of clarity.

I would double- (maybe triple?) check about using a US driver's license for entry to canada. I think they want proof of citizenship (birth certificate) plus proof of identity (photo license). Passport is good for both. The Canadian website isn't very clear on this --says you need "a" document but also says a birth certificate "and" not "or" a gov't photo i.d.:

1. Do I need a passport to enter Canada?

U.S. citizens only need a document such as a birth certificate and government-issued photo identification (e.g., driverís license) to enter Canada.

People along the Canadian border are getting very concerned about the change that will require passports to be used in crossing by land. Last night NPR had a story about the towns of Derby Line VT and Stanstead QC where the border runs through the middle of the library (downstairs) and theater (upstairs) in
the old Opera House.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story .php?storyId=11145348
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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Note: The airport in Montreal is not an hour outside the city. You're probably referring to Mirabel, which closed to passenger traffic a couple of years ago. The main airport is Pierre-Elliot-Trudeau International (formerly known as Dorval) and it's about 1/2 an hour from downtown, but certainly not outside the city.

Last year, we flew to New York from Burlington after driving down from Montreal. Yesterday, we came back from Massachusetts via Burlington.

The drive is very easy. Coming into Canada, there was no line-up at the border, neither yesterday nor last year. You are likely to hit traffic on Highway 10 going into Montreal though, depending on what time of day you arrive.

Going into the States is another story. Last year, we waited half an hour and we were quite happy with that as we had to get to the airport. Yesterday, the line-up stretched quite a ways back, so it could have been more than half an hour.

The drive from Montreal to Burlington is anywhere from 2-2 1/2 hours, depending on how long it takes you to cross the border. It's certainly doable if one of your party doesn't have a passport.
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 09:24 AM
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DH and I just returned to Connecticut after a wonderful 4 day weekend in Montreal. We were under the impression that we needed passports now, but that is NOT TRUE. The law will not go into effect for at least a year, perhaps two. We found this out reading the Montreal newspaper in our hotel on Saturday. The reason for the delay seems to be the backlog of passport applications in the U.S. A valid driver's license or your birth certificate are still acceptable.
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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We did not encounter any delays at all at the border crossing. We went into Canada at 4pm Thursday and came back through to the US at 12 pm Sunday. On Thursday afternoon, the traffic on 10 into Montreal was heavy but moving right along. The one nerve-jarring thing was the commuter buses--they use the far left lane of the highway to travel, at a high speed, going the OTHER WAY. In other words, they are coming right at you, in the left lane, with nothing but orange cones to separate your car from them! We couldn't believe our eyes. But other than that, we found Montreal very easy to get around in. The streets are laid out in a grid. It's a great walking city, too--pedestrian-friendly. Right turn on red light is NOT allowed, which is wonderful if you're walking!
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 04:04 AM
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mahlquist and others--it is true that there is still no requirement to have a passport to go into Canada or return to the US by land. Since January 2007 US citizens returning to the US from Canada by air have had to have a passport. That is what prompted NewbE's original question about flying to/from Burlington rather than Montreal.
Very recently, the government decided to waive the passport requirement for air travelers who can show they have applied for passports but have not gotten them yet. This is in response to the widely-publicized back log in processing passports. The waiver policy requires people to print and produce a status report on their applications to show proof they have applied. NewbE says the application has to have been filed by June 8th to use this new rule for "Temporary Travel Flexibility."

anyway, it is all a big mess. There is a bill pending in Congress to mandate extending the time lines for requiring people to have passports for land travel. The administration already has authority to extend the deadline on its own but keeps insisting it doesn't have to do this, despite all the current problems. According to (Democratic) Vt Senator patrick Leahy,
"The Administration is walking blithely toward a cliff with this program, and they're threatening to take millions of Americans with them. Their competence in being able to get this right was already in question, and when they keep insisting they'll be ready in six months, so is their judgment."
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 06:57 AM
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It's a big mess, indeed, and thanks, Vttraveler and others, for clearing it up a bit! I may well be wrong about the June 8th deadline--sadly, the US govt. website is very unclear. On June 8th they announced that you could return from Canada (and Mexico and the Caribbean) by air with your birth cert. and a receipt proving you'd applied for a passport, through Sep. 30.

So does that mean you have to have applied by June 8th, or Sep. 30? I don't know, and I read it a dozen times.

That is indeed why we're leaning towards Burlington--who wants passport hassles on a vacation? And while Canada is great, we kind of like our friend and don't want to leave him there! ;-)

The mess is disappointing--I would have thought the US capable of better planning and service. But that's another thread!
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 07:00 AM
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Oh, and there really are two issues: requirements for entering Canada, and requirements for re-entering the US. I think mahlquist may mean that Canada won't require US passports for entry for a year or two; but the US said it would require them for re-entry by air, before it began announcing extensions due to backlogged applications.
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