Anothe canadian border question

Discussion in 'Americas' started by s.ga.rider, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,102
    I do think that a passport for BORN CITIZENS OF THE USA is not an absolute requirement for crossing into Canada and back into the USA WHEN USING PRIVATE VEHICLES
    AT AN ESTABLISHED LAND BORDER CROSSING .
    In 2015 I investigated this matter for friends from Georgia , the state in the USA.
    From the Canadian authorities it was learned that US CITIZENS could enter Canada without a passport so long as they could provide several pieces of official US issued documents which established their identity and US. citizenship.( drivers license, social security card, other official i.d. docs )

    From official US sources it was learned that this also was the case. Furthermore it was stated that once the person's identity and US citizenship had been proven they could not be denied re-entry to their home country.
    After these reassuring messages my three friends , without passports, drove their motor home into Canada , from Washington state , to Manitoba and back into the USA. with no problem .

    When one hears that passports are always required it must be regarded as a blanket statement as to what would be preferable to all the rank and file front line border personnel . And they are not always completely up to speed on the fine details.
    Sure , to cut the possibility of hassles a passport would be good to have , and you would be set to travel overseas too.
    Remember the catch here is travel by private vehicle across. land borders to Canada by US CITIZENS

    PLAN CAREFULLY

    Now for some levity... image.jpeg

    ] The last two words really make me laugh.
    " prior planning" implies that there is also such a thing as 'post planning ' or " planning afterwards " which is impossible .
    " Prior planning " and "Preplanning" are redundant and nonsensical terms. One can only "plan" for a coming action . By definition this happens only beforehand so adding " prior " or " pre" is silly
    #61
  2. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Oddometer:
    7,960
    Location:
    47°50′15.8″N, 119°56′21.9″W
    For US Citizen's coming back into the US, a Passport is only required when entering Marine or Airport Ports of Entry. I carry my Passport even when I don't technically need it because if something happens while traveling by vehicle in Canada (or Mexico) and you need to be flown back home, no passport is going to be a big deal and could jeopardize ones health.
    #62
    Dan Diego likes this.
  3. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,102
    Right on the mark Drtbyk.
    Having a passport will greatly expedite RETURN to the USA in such emergencies .
    But even then if you , a CITIZEN OF THE USA do not have a passport and can establish that you are a CITIZEN the US border guards cannot ultimately deny your return. It may take some bitching and wrangling , but as a CITIZEN they are obligated to permit your return to the country of your birth..
    This is a result of international agreements, , each country must accept the return of bona fide citizens , whether or not they have a passport , if they can establish proof of citizenship. The border workers want you to have a passport because it speeds up processing immensely.
    The passport is the fastest , internationally standardized and simplest way to establish proof of citizenship. This is especially so for the second tier citizen, the naturalized immigrant who is always questioned more intensely.
    Get a passport . .
    #63
  4. Dragonflylily

    Dragonflylily One Women -Two wheels

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Being a US citizen you are required to have a current Passport or an EDL (Enhanced Drivers License). Getting into Canada is the easier aspect of your trip. Returning to the US is when things can become rather complicated even with one of these two proofs of identity.
    When I lived in Valdez, AK and rode my bicycle to work, bears were present on the bike path much too often. Especially garbage day!
    #64
    Wreckchecker likes this.
  5. Wreckchecker

    Wreckchecker Ungeneer to broked stuff. Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,418
    Location:
    Damascus, MD
    True words. If not from one of the 4 states issuing EDL then you need a passport.

    You do NOT want to try "some bitching" or ring to talk your way thru with US Customs, as you will have a very bad experience. They are not just "border workers. " By CBP rules you are presumed NOT to be a citizen (not "presumed innocent"), so they hold every one of the cards and your future is in their hands. They are the only agency which can lock you up without rights or time limits, because non-citizens have no rights!

    A few times in my career I've been with guys who tried to joke with CBP or be coy. It was a disaster each time. It leads to the room where you get detailed tear-down inspections.

    In their defense, they are also our front line to all sorts of terrorists, smugglers, etc. They have a really tough job to do. Just have your passport, answer their questions directly, and everybody has the best possible outcome.
    #65
  6. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,102
    Funny , but my three friends had no such problems returning to the USA at the Manitoba / Minnesota border
    Perhaps a rules change since then - ?
    #66
  7. flei

    flei cycletherapist

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Oddometer:
    9,289
    Location:
    Western Mass.
    Directly from the US State Dept. website (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/canada.html):

    "Entry into Canada:
    Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens.

    Children under 16 need only present proof of U.S. citizenship.

    Entry into the United States: When traveling by air from Canada, U.S. citizens are required by U.S. law to present a U.S. passport book, except as noted in the few exceptions provided on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

    For entry into the United States via land and sea borders, U.S. citizens must present either a U.S. passport, passport card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Drivers License, or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document. The only exception to this requirement is for U.S. citizens under the age of 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious, or other youth group) who need only present a birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or naturalization certificate."

    Maybe this is open to interpretation????? To me it says it is easiest just to carry my USA Passport when I travel into Canada and then return to the USA.
    #67
  8. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,102
    Thank you Flei , you have proven my research was correct and still valid.

    As I also said , the PASSPORT is still the simplest way to prove you have the right to get back into your own country. Some of the border guards can be really excessively authoritarian , who would take exception if you dare to exhale without their command . No excuse .There are also some very considerate workers among them who make up for the control freaks .
    #68
  9. antirich5

    antirich5 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,340
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    How do you expect to prove to immigration that you are a valid US citizen without a passport? Not like there's a civic's test or something to prove it.

    Don't think carrying around a birth certificate is such a good idea; not the most robust documents in the world. Besides, if the agent is some kind of 'Birther' nut, he'll just question it to no end. :D

    Don't think just a driver's license will work; many states issue them for non US citizens on work visas and such.
    #69
  10. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,368
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've joked with them (both US and Can guards), but only when they've initiated it. My favorite was going into Canada and the guard says,
    "Nice bike, how fast does it go?"
    "One hundred kilometers an hour."
    "(laughing) No, really, how fast?"
    "(also laughing) One hundred kilometers and hour."

    No way I was going to walk into that one, even if he couldn't do anything to me about it.

    Then he let me get my helmet and gloves on while sitting at the booth, holding up the whole line (it was a busy crossing and would have been a pain to get it someplace to suit up). I've found that most guards will let me suit back up there if I ask first. However, I've dealt with guard that I had no interest in sticking around for.
    #70
  11. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,985
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Well, let me clarify that: Don't bring hand guns.

    Why not bring a shotgun for protection against bears and other scary wildlife? If that's your thing, it's fairly easy and perfectly legal.

    Do some research on what you can show up with and you're golden. It's best to have the paperwork completed before you arrive. And please make sure you bring a "non-restricted" firearm (authorized shotgun).

    http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/form-formulaire/pdfs/5589-eng.pdf
    #71
  12. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,985
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Find a local LEA on the US side of the border. Call them ahead of time. Ask if you can leave it with them while you travel through Canada. This is no prob if you know what you're doing.
    #72
  13. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,102
    How do you prove you are a citizen or LEGAL resident ? Takes some doing perhaps but it can be done if you are calm and reasonable and polite about it and have a civilized appearance . Don't come across like a bossy young dude or potential drug smuggler or ISIS sympathizer .
    You do always carry your drivers license and vehicle registration and ownership , your insurance cards don t you? Are you or were you a member of the US armed forces, then show proof of it. And if you have an "enhanced dl " or that border quick card it is another clincher , and yes why not your US birth cerificate if you have it.? Any and all gov issued pieces of ID you can show to prove you have a real and permanent bond with the US will add to the proof.
    The state department site linked by Flei is conclusive.
    If the border worker wants to be a total ass about it he can give you an undeservedly difficult time,
    .
    These guys are doing a sometimes stressful job but in the end they are YOUR employees .They should not exempted from a requirement for being reasonable. Just answer their questions and don't get uppity . When I said "bitching and wrangling " it was meant more as the internal view of "negotiating and persistence in civilized fashion "
    As a foreigner I face slightly different tasks but I get through the US border with my passport and simply shutting up and answering any questions,not volunteering any comments. If the border worker is friendly and engages in a conversation I will respond in a similar friendly manner and often enough we have a nice chat.
    Next step, get a passport.
    #73
  14. statsman

    statsman Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,396
    Location:
    Toronto ON
    There are a lot of urban legends going around about crossing the border.
    Just get a passport.
    It will facilitate crossing the borders both ways and it proves you're an American citizen.
    Your choice, the easy way or the hard way.
    #74
  15. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,985
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    A passport (book or card) is the best means of re-entering the USA.

    It's not required at land borders (the USA can't keep a US citizen out) but it does make things so much easier. There are no fines or other penalties, contrary to urban legents. CBP stopped doing that a while back.

    NOTE: This mainly relates to the southern border with Mexico as US citizens can't even travel into Canada without a passport now.
    #75
  16. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,102
    Wrong , Dan .
    Read that State Departmentb article again where it says "
    "Entry into Canada: Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens."

    Notice the three possible I.d . items and that little word " or"

    You can travel into Canada wihout a passport if you have one or more of the other papers .... and no handguns .
    #76
  17. statsman

    statsman Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,396
    Location:
    Toronto ON
    The Can. Border Services website advises that US citizens or residents entering Canada require proof of both residence and citizenship.
    A PASSPORT PROVES BOTH.
    It also states that those using a NEXUS card may still be asked for a passport.
    Are there ways around this. It would appear so.
    But since a passport fills all requirements neatly, get the passport.

    Just for my own amusement, why would you go to the US State Dept. website for info on Americans entering Canada.
    It seems the Canadian site would supply more relevant information.
    And we will even supply it in French. :lol3
    #77
    Dan Diego likes this.
  18. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,102
    The relevant US. government site was researched by Flei because the initial question which started this chain of posts was about US CITIZENS getting back into the USA without a passport .
    The border folks on both sides are on to each other's game , they share all the info about coming and going travellers and probably know when your last dentist visit was :roflIt is just like two cog wheels meshing , they cannot be different or movement would stop dead.

    The US Sourced information is still valid as you point out when you quote the Canadian Border service that proof of US citizenship and US residence is required to get into Canada .
    . That means a choice of documents , with passport being the quickest , but not absolutely only way.
    I bet if you look long enough you can find the Canadian border service info also available in many other languages beside English and French
    #78
  19. flei

    flei cycletherapist

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Oddometer:
    9,289
    Location:
    Western Mass.
    Just get a fooking Passport! Unless you enjoy this sort of thing:
    [​IMG]
    #79
  20. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,578
    Location:
    Nelson area, Kootenai, BC, Canada
    Free Prostate exam! Niiice
    #80