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Passport needed for US - Canada travel?
Marcia




msg:3804234
 1:37 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've always assumed that people (citizens of either country) could freely travel back and forth between the US and Canada without immigration or passport requirements or restrictions.

Is that so, or do back and forth visits require getting a passport?

 

timster




msg:3804263
 2:21 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

For decades, it was easy enough to travel back and forth for tourism. Since the 9/11/01 attacks, that has been changing. Nowadays, you either need a passport, or a special "alternative" ID, like a drivers license with a special RFID chip.

[news.zdnet.com ]

Even in the old days though, you needed papers to legally work in the other country. I once got hired into a position vacated by a fellow who was deported to Canada. Only capital is allowed to flow freely back and forth, not mere people.

Rugles




msg:3804270
 2:30 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

You do not need a passport to get into Canada. But you will need a passport to get back into the USA if you are travelling by air. If you are driving a birth certificate and photo ID like a drivers license will work for a few more months.

Its the US government that has changed the rules, not the Canadian government. Americans sometimes mistakenly blame the changes on the Canadian government, that is not the case.

I live near the border and cross frequently. I am what they call a "trusted traveller" and have what is called a Nexus card. To get it I have to give the US government my fingerprints, my photo, an iris scan, criminal background check with the FBI and RCMP, my credit card numbers, place of employment, my car registration info, an interview with the Department of Homeland Security. But it was all worth it because I basically drive across the border and barely slow down and just wave my little card with a chip embedded inside it at this machine, and away I go. We even have a secret bridge that nobody else can use. This Nexus card has saved me at least a dozen hours of waiting time, it rules!

Gone are the days when you can cross the border with a library card.

Swanny007




msg:3804293
 3:07 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have to give the US government my fingerprints, my photo, an iris scan, criminal background check with the FBI and RCMP, my credit card numbers, place of employment, my car registration info, an interview with the Department of Homeland Security

OMG that's scary! I've crossed the border quite a few times, mostly by air (I'm in Canada). I haven't had any bad experiences per se. I dread the day when I have to give up my fingerprints or iris scan for something as simple as getting to PubCon ;-) That'll be the day I stop traveling to the US.

Rugles




msg:3804304
 3:21 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

That was my choice, its not a requirement.

Believe me, when you cross the border as often as I do, its worth it.

I live closer to the airport in Buffalo than I do Toronto, there is nothing worse than sitting in a massive traffic jam at the border watching the clock tick knowing that you might miss a flight if the US Customs dude decides to pull you over for a secondary inspection. Like I said, it has easily saved me a dozen hours over the last 3 months.

[edited by: Rugles at 3:23 pm (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]

Marcia




msg:3804305
 3:23 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

This question was prompted by some relatives (in the U.S.) discussing visiting some relatives in Canada, and it was a complete shock to me to hear passports even being mentioned; I'd not have thought it was even a consideration or close to an issue.

I've never even half-way thought of Canada as being a "foreign country" in any way. I feel like they're "part of us" and that we're "part of them" - all one, like all of our states are one, here in the U.S.

Rugles




msg:3804307
 3:25 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've never even half-way thought of Canada as being a "foreign country" in any way. I feel like they're "part of us" and that we're "part of them" - all one, like all of our states are one, here in the U.S.

Those days are long gone. Sadly.

LifeinAsia




msg:3804363
 4:15 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've never even half-way thought of Canada as being a "foreign country" in any way. I feel like they're "part of us" and that we're "part of them" - all one, like all of our states are one, here in the U.S.

One more reason the U.S. should just annex Canada. :)

Rugles




msg:3804395
 4:46 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

One more reason the U.S. should just annex Canada. :)

Tried and failed in 1812 ;-)

limoshawn




msg:3804396
 4:47 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

we were rv-ing in Montana (Glacier National Park, I highly recommend it) about a year ago and decided to rent a car and go to Canada for the day. It was a wonderful day in a great part of the country.
Upon our return to the border we quickly discovered that we should have put more thought into what we would need to get back into the country! Turns out they wanted to see more than a drivers license and a hi-de-ho good neighbor! They kept us there for hours grilling us about where we were from, why we went to Canada and tearing the rental car to pieces! eventually they let us back in. If we had taking our passports there would have been no problem at all.

LifeinAsia




msg:3804403
 4:57 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Tried and failed in 1812 ;-)

Then it's about time to try again- the 200-year anniversary's comin' up!

piatkow




msg:3804423
 5:12 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

trouble is that two years later there would have to be a bonfire in Washington.

Rugles




msg:3804481
 6:26 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

ssshhhh don't remind them

Syzygy




msg:3804980
 8:19 am on Dec 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

...I basically drive across the border and barely slow down and just wave my little card with a chip embedded inside it at this machine, and away I go. We even have a secret bridge that nobody else can use.

My emphasis

Secret bridge? I'm intrigued by the notion that in this day and age there is something in the public realm as big as a bridge that can be described as 'secret'!

It sounds more akin to the days of yore with smugglers having secluded coves into which they could clandestinely bring ashore their swag, or dark trails that go deep into the foreboding woods. How ironic that the situation has reversed and it's the law abiding element that has such secrets!

One other thing - where is it?

Rugles




msg:3805137
 2:31 pm on Dec 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Us locals call it the "Lower Bridge" but the official name is the "Whirlpool Bridge". Its relatively unknown outside of the area and the locals used to consider it "our bridge" because the tourists would never be able to find it because its way off the beaten path.

It used to be open to the public but has been permanently closed to the public since 9-11. I think that it was a security issue because its very short and has very little room to put a lot of barriers, or radiological detection devices and the other stuff that appeared on the bridges right after 9-11.

Now to use the bridge you need to be a "trusted traveller" like myself. You can't even get on the bridge without the card because you need to wave your card in front of this device and the barrier suddenly opens to let you on the bridge. There is never any other cars on the bridge when I use it and ironicaly just miles away is the second busiest border crossing in North America with massive traffic jams.

But don't tell anybody ... its a secret ;-) .

cornwall




msg:3806413
 9:38 pm on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

the day when I have to give up my fingerprints or iris scan for something as simple as getting to PubCon ;-) That'll be the day I stop traveling to the US.

As a European, I stopped travelling when I had to give fingerprints and iris scan to the US government.

US citizens do not need them to get into the UK, and until they do, or the US stop asking for mine, I am happy to avoid travelling to or via the USA.

Shaddows




msg:3806531
 1:05 am on Dec 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

cornwall, I hear you. Honeymooned in Florida earlier this year.

The US gov and google have more info on me than the UK gov and phorm could even dream of.

lawman




msg:3806551
 2:24 am on Dec 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

OK everyone, let's keep Foo charter's [webmasterworld.com] prohibition against political discussion in mind. :)

lawman

anallawalla




msg:3806677
 8:07 am on Dec 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Last month I (with Aussie passport) went from the US to Calgary and back to the US. The US INS at LAX or SFO requires us space aliens to give our index finger prints and a photo of one's face - not an iris scan as someone mentioned.

However, the US inspectors at Calgary airport had a scanner where I had to scan my thumbs and then the remaining four fingers of each hand. Either this scan is peculiar to the Canadian border or about to be rolled out to all airports.

There were notices to the effect that Americans and Canadians will need a passport as of 1 June 2009.

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