CAN-US Border Crossing anyone?

So my wife and I are going out to Seattle next week to visit my sister’s family for Thanksgiving. Woo!

At the same time, we’re planning on driving up to Vancouver to visit my grandmother and other relatives who have yet to meet the good Lady Cheek.

We were gathering our stuff together last night when we realized that my wife’s passport had expired back in June. Normally, no big deal, both of us have driven across the border several times, sans passport, with no big fuss from the guards. However, as we all know, it’s a different world out there, etcetera, et so on, and the Vancouver area border guards are notoriously diligent as well (can’t remember the name of the crossing, sorry).

Any Dopers out there crossed the border since September? Are they demanding passports? Any problems, particularly near Vancouver? Inquiring minds wanna know. Many thanks.

We crossed at Int’l Falls the weekend after 9/11. Going into Canada, they looked at our birth certificates/and DLs. Coming back into the US, they just asked questions and checked our stuff. (We were four white folks, one 75 years old, so I guess they were using profiling.)

Woops. Forgot to mention that we looked into an expedited renewal of the passport. They said it would take about two weeks. :frowning:

Scarlett67, thanks for the info!

I went through customs at the Regina airport a few days after 9/11, came back through Portal two weeks later. Other than a cursory luggage search in Regina, I didn’t notice anything different than the times I crossed before. I forgot my birth certificate, and got through with a driver’s license and my CDIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card. Y’all should have no problems with just a driver’s license and a birth certificate.

You’re supposed to have a passport to get into Canada?? I thought you didn’t need one for Canada or Mexico…All I know is I was never asked for one either time I went to Canada(eastern providences, however) though it’s been six or seven years since the last time through.

I lived in Washington for 20 years, and was never asked for a passport at the Vancouver border. I did travel one time with a high school group where one of the kids was a German exchange student, and we were held up for a long time while they checked her passport & Visa.

I don’t think this is required of U.S. citizens. I hope not, because I never take mine with me when I go back there.

I pass from Vermont to Quebec all the time, and they have never asked for a passport except from my friend Pete who was born in s. Korea.


Nope. Not from the U.S. When I went to Europe at the end of college I got a passport that has long since expired. Growing up in SE Michigan, I probably visited Canada at least once a year before I ever got a passport and several times a year for several years thereafter. I have never been asked for a passport at any Canadian/U.S. border. My wife has never had a passport and I’ve taken her to and through Canada, as well. I can’t believe that that has changed since 9/11, since it would be very big news.
If Lady Cheek is not a U.S. citizen it could be a problem, (although, if true, that would raise issues about her current visa status in the U.S.).

Ask the Vancouver Chick…

You won’t need a passport (if American)to come into Canada but you will need proof of citizenship AND a valid photo ID. Please note that a driver’s licence is not proof of citizenship. It only proves you were able to convince your state of residence that you aren’t much of a public menace behind the wheel. A birth certificate and driver’s should do the trick. (A friend is a customs agent at YVR and was working 9/11 when all those redirected planes came into town. She spent half the day cheking incoming planes for explosives and the other half trying to explain that a California DL doesn’t prove you’re American dammit!) And no bitching about it if you actually get asked for a passport or birth certificate. If I can politely tolerate the vehicular equivalent of a full body cavity search when I drove down to Wash. State on Sept. 15 you Yanks can cough up a birth certificate if you want in so bad. Be sure to enjoy the fine Asian cuisines of the area during your stay.

(Vera’s Indian status card would probably exempt her from needing further proof of citizenship, BTW)

I crossed from Michigan into Ontario back in October. As others have already pointed out, a Driver’s License (as a photo ID) and a birth certificate (as proof of citizenship) should do you fine.

Seattle checking in – I haven’t been to Vancouver since 9/11, but word is to still expect delays of indeterminate length – much grilling of people and checking of cars. So give yourself lots of time.

Thank you all for your responses. To clarify, in the past, I’ve been told by various people that the border guards have every right to ask for your passport, but are not required to do so. Regardless of the close relations between the US, Canada and Mexico, they are still different countries. Mostly, I was curious if the guards had decided to enforce the regulations as a result of recent incidents. Apparently not.

So. Let’s expand a little bit on my previous comment: I’m goin’ to Seattle and Vancouver to visit my whole famdamnily! Woo!

[rock and roll]
Goin’ out West where I belong…
[/rock and roll]

Thanks all, more responses still welcome - particularly if they deviate from what’s been already noted. :slight_smile:

(Annie, we’ll only have a day in Vancouver, with a 1 1/2 year old baby girl, so we’re not gonna get much fun touristy stuff done. I plan on showing the good Lady my old haunts in Kits and N.Van, and the bridges…those are special. Maybe a quick stroll down Commercial Drive for the artsy stuff, too. Thanks for the advice, though!)

Hey, it would be quite a hike, but you can cross in northern NY in Massena and into Cornwall, Ont. with little more than a couple of questions. The only time I ever needed ID was when I was 17 and the car I was in was pulled over for having 6 people in it (too many in their estimation?), because, you know teenagers are dangerous little buggers. :rolleyes:

I should add that my pre-crossing research indicated that we needed certified birth certificates, which you have to get from the state here in WI. YMMV.

I went to Vermont in October. I called Foreign Affairs and was told that it would be a good idea to bring my passport, or failing that, my birth certificate and official photo ID (e.g. medicare card). Although they didn’t look at it, it is better safe than sorry. (Also, the border guard going into the US was a total shmuck, but that’s a story for a different day.)

Ask the chick who lives in Canada and works in the US:

I cross the Windsor/Detroit border twice every day, which I believe is the busiest Can/Usa border crossing. On Sept 12, and for the 3-4 weeks following it, crossing the border was a nightmare. 2-4 HOUR delays, minute searches of every car, third degree questioning, the works.

Please note: I am not questioning the fact that this was done, nor complaining about it. This is just how it was.

Anyhow, it’s back to ‘normal’ now. The delays are minimal, cars are random checked, not each car.

The one change: Proof of citizenship is required - this is where the passport comes in. It does not have to be a passport - it can be a birth certificate or whatever it is you have that proves your country of citizenship. You will also need photo ID.

Now, they don’t always ask you to show it; but if they do, you’d better have it, or they can and will turn you right back around.

Happy Visiting!!!

Another Vancouerite here:

Crossing the border without a passport is easy as long as you are white and non-threatening looking. Which I am. Every time I have gone through the border with friends who are Chinese or Filipino, all of us have been asked for ID big time. It also depends whether you are using the Peace Arch or 151 Truck crossing. I think the Peace Arch is more thorough.

All I can say is this… Don’t make jokes. Of any sort. At all. The Canuck guards have NO sense of humor.

Years ago, going on a fishing trip through International Falls, MN we had a friend with us from OH. We told him to shut up. But during the “Have you ever been to Canada”, he said…“Ya…lived dere all my life, EH”… Guard said “Pull over to the side dere please”. They commenced to dismantle the truck and camper. Tackle boxes tossed open, packs dumped, coolers emptied, hubcaps and air filters yanked and so on and so forth… they all but took the truck apart before telling us to “Have a nice trip in Canada and good luck fishing. Please pack your vehicle and move along”.

Be humorless, no accent jokes, no “EH’S” and you should be fine. Have a fun trip!