Using the U.S. Passport to Travel to Canada

You are strongly encouraged to have a US passport with you when you travel to Canada. This is true even though the United States is close to Canada and can be reached via land. However, in addition to bringing a federal identification passport card or book with you, there may be additional types of documentation you can use. These items are outlined in the sections below.

It is important that you apply for a passport well before you intend to travel out of the country. Depending on how you plan on traveling to Canada, you may need a passport card or book to go. However, this depends on how you plan on reaching the country. If you travel mostly by land or sea, a passport card should suffice. On the other hand, if you plan on flying to Canada, you need to request a passport book instead.

Do I need a passport to go to Canada?

In the majority of instances, travelers who participate in Canada border crossing need passports. This is due to the fact that Canada and the United States are separate countries and have their own entry and exit requirements. In order to eliminate any confusion, individuals should have passports with them if they leave the United States. Furthermore, individuals must remember that all travelers need a valid US passport book if they plan on flying into Canada. There is no alternative documentation they may use when using this mode of transportation.

Do I need a US passport if I am driving to Canada?

If you are driving to Canada, you do not always need to fill out a passport application for a book first. As a result, there may be different documentation you can use if you need to travel to Canada by automobile or sea vessel. Common examples of acceptable identification include:

  • Passport card. This card is one of the securest documents you can have with you when you travel from the United States to Canada. It is valid at all land and sea border crossing points between these countries.
  • Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL). EDLs are only issued in certain U.S. states and Canadian provinces. However, individuals who have EDLs can use them instead of passports to cross from one of these countries to the other.
  • Trusted Travel Program card. Instead of deciding to apply for a passport, individuals may choose to enroll in this program. Specifically, individuals who frequently travel from the United States and Canada would need NEXUS.

Regardless, even individuals who do not necessarily need a US passport should consider traveling with one. This document is the most uniform, and it is the easiest for border agents to recognize. As a result, a valid passport is least likely to be denied when individuals travel between countries.