Documents needed to enter the US from Canada


Canadian citizens who want to enter the US will be required to present proof of citizenship as well as photo identification.

  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate
  • A certificate of citizenship or naturalization
  • Certificate of Indian Status
  • NEXUS Card or other pre-approved cards

Required documents for traveling by air

traveling by air

  • US citizens will need to present one of the following when traveling back to the US via air:
  • A US passport or a NEXUS/SENTRI/FAST card.
  • Military personnel traveling on official orders, a US Military identification card can be used.
  • US Merchant Marines traveling due to official maritime business, a US Merchant Mariner document is also acceptable.
Permanent residents of the US are required to present a valid Permanent Resident Card.
Canadian citizens entering the US via air need to present a valid passport. A NEXUS card can be used if the traveler is departing from a designated Canadian airport.

Foreign nationals, on the other hand, are required to present a passport and valid visa. Citizens or nationals of a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) designated country can travel to the US without a visa. However, they are required to get authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before they board an air or sea carrier traveling to the US. The passport should be valid for six months beyond the traveler’s intended stay in the US except for citizens of countries listed here.

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Required documents for Crossing US-Canada border by land/water/cruise

US Canada Passports

For U.S. Residents

  • US citizens will need to present one of the following when traveling to the US via land or water: a US passport or a NEXUS/SENTRI/FAST card. For military personnel traveling on official orders, a US Military identification card can be used. For US Merchant Marines traveling due to official maritime business, a US Merchant Mariner document is also acceptable. A Form 1-872 American Indian Card or Enhanced Tribal Card [PDF] (when available) is also an acceptable travel document.
  • US citizens on a closed-loop cruise (a cruise that begins and ends at the same US port) can enter the US using a birth certificate issued by a government agency and a government-issued photo ID.
  • US and Canadian citizens under the age of 16 can present an original/photocopy/certified copy of their birth certificate or any other proof of citizenship. Those who are under 19 need only present the same as well if they are traveling as part of an organized group such as a school/sports group or religious group.
  • Lawful permanent residents of the US are still required to present valid evidence of their permanent residence status such as the Form I-551 or their permanent resident card.

For Canadian Residents

  • Canadian citizens entering the US via land or sea are required to present one of the following documents: a Canadian passport, a NEXUS card, a FAST/EXPRES card, a SENTRI card, or an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) / Enhanced Identification Card.
  • For Canadian citizens below 16 years of age, an original copy of the birth certificate or a Canadian Citizenship Card is enough to gain them entry. Canadian children 16 and older are generally required to present a valid passport. This requirement changes depending on certain circumstances. Please visit our Traveling with Minors page for more details.
  • Canadians that are entering the US as a Treaty Trader, along with their family, is required to have a visa. Family members (children, spouses, or fiancés/fiancées) of legal permanent residents of the US are also required to have a visa.
  • Lawful permanent residents of Canada need to present a passport and visa to enter the US unless they are a citizen of a VWP-designated country. If so, they will be required to have advanced authorization through the ESTA. For citizens of VWP-designated countries entering by land, a valid passport is enough.
  • Canadian citizens that have at least 50% American Indian blood are only required to present their tribal identity card to the border official if entering by land.
Mexican nationals entering the US from Canada are required to present their Border Crossing Card (BCC) and a valid passport.
  • Similar to the CBP’s requirements for foreign nationals traveling by air, those who will be arriving via land or water ports of entry are required to present a passport and a valid visa. The passport should be valid for six months beyond the traveler’s intended stay in the US except for citizens of countries listed here. Citizens or nationals of a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) designated country can travel to the US without a visa. However, they are required to get a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval before they board an air or sea carrier traveling to the US.
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Do Canadian citizens need visa for visiting the US?

Canadian citizens are not required to have a visa for visiting or studying in the US. They are allowed to stay in the country for up to 6 months from the time of entry. However, in some cases, a Canadian citizen will be required to have a valid visa prior to entering the US.

Canadian citizens who plan to work, invest, immigrate, or get married to a US citizen/ permanent resident must qualify for a visa prior to entry.
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Useful information for travelers

On your way to crossing the border hotels are available, compare best hotels prices available on the US side and Canadian side. Bed and breakfast can be found here and here. If you are looking to find cheap cars for rent check this website for comparision of car rent prices. Check best car rental deals from Hertz, Avis, National Car Hire and Alamo.

Are you heading for camping, check for this fantastic campgrounds, or search for the best RV parking places. Need an RV hired, check this website. Boats and canoes are available for rent if you are crossing the border for some fun and hiking check these accommodation options. Are you going for golf – see the top golf courses and tee times here. Hiking options.

Did you car break down middle of the road, call for car help get emergency services. Do you need travel insurance – visit our partners here. You pets can be insured as well here. Visiting Canada for medical reasons, check this website.

Documentation needs to be all ready, for find the necessary legal forms here.

Required documents for Canadian-American Dual Citizens

American-Canadian citizens are not required to have a valid Canadian passport, a Canadian visa or an eTA to travel into Canada. Similar to US citizens, they only need to present proof of citizenship and proof of identity to enter the country. It is generally advised to use documents that prove Canadian citizenship when entering Canada to expedite entry.

When entering the US, Canadian-American dual citizens should use the required US travel documents appropriate to the mode of entry. Some examples are a valid US passport or Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS/FAST/SENTRI). This ensures a smooth entry into the US.

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