Can I cross the Canadian border sans birth certificate?

Ok, so a couple friends and I are planning on driving into British Columbia tomorrow to visit another friend. In the past, we’ve always taken our driver’s license and our birth certificates as ID. We’ve been asked for the former every time (obviously) and the latter once. Anyways, stupid-ass me lost my birth certificate and I’m wondering how significant of a problem this potentially is. If they ask me for my birth certificate and I say I don’t have it, will they refuse us entry? Will a second piece of ID compensate? And how will things be coming back into the US?


I’ve crossed into and back from B.C. a number of times without a birth certificate without any problem. I got hassled the last time and after about 2 minutes of questioning the dude popped our trunk, looked around briefly and waved us through. I would assume it wouldn’t be a problem once, but in the future you should get a passport or a copy of your birth certificate.

I typically use my voter’s registration as my second ID, with no problems.

Completely anecdotal, but a helluva lot seems to depend on how you appear to them. Living in Detroit, I grew up crossing the bridge all the time and have never been hassled. I look like a typical soccer mom, first time I crossed after 9-11 my driver’s license was expired and no one even blinked. I have pals here and from Toronto, however, that consistently get stopped, questioned and searched for no apparent reason.

My boss is there right now, and had a MAJOR hassle getting in without it. In fact, I think he may have been forced to go home and get it.

Also, my son was turned away at the border a couple weeks ago because he didn’t have one.

The purpose of the birth certificicate is to prove that you’re a citizen of the U.S. From this site, it would appear that there’s no guarantee that they’ll let you in without it.

I’ll second that. Years ago, my little brother drove back into the US from a trip to Canada with his bussies. When the border dude said, “any illegal drugs?” one of the guys in the car responded, “sure, whatcha need?”.

Two hours later the car was still being put back together.

Ummm…bussies = buddies. sorry, my “d” and “s” keys are soooo close together.

My sister-in-law was flying from Dallas to Toronto about a month ago. She didn’t have her birth certificate and was not allowed on the plane without it. She was forced to go back home to get it.

When we have our driving trips into Canada, usually my drivers license and my vehicle registration (with my name on it) always did the trick, and my wife only needed her driver’s license, but we always carried our kid’s birth certificates for their identification. Curiously, they would ask my oldest son what the names are of his brothers just to see if we are kidnapping them or something.

I always have mine (or the passport) so it hasn’t been a problem. My sister & I once went, she’d forgotten hers. On the way into BC, it wasn’t a problem, they didn’t even seem to care who we were.

There was a bit of difficulty on the way back out. But we weren’t carrying anything, we hadn’t bought more than $100 worth of stuff (which we’d declared anyway), we had the same last name, looked vaguely alike, and I had my birth certificate with me - so I think it made it easier. She was warned to bring proper ID next time.

Good news! After tearing my house apart, I located my bith certificate! Anyways, thanks to everyon for the help and advice. If worse came to worse, I was going to take my social security card and draft form, thankfully, it won’t come to that.

When you return, tell us how you fared, in both directions.