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Alvah
03-29-2009, 03:21 AM
Up until a few years ago, a driver's license was enough to allow
a person to cross the Canadian - U.S. border, but that's no longer true.

I have heard that now if a U.S. citizen goes to Canada without a
passport, just a driver's license, he or she will have difficulty getting back
into the United States. Does anyone know from experience what happens
if you are in Canada and don't have your passport? What happens at the
border? How does such a person ever get back in the U.S.?

Has this happened to anyone here?

Thanks,

Seaclusion
03-29-2009, 03:28 AM
I know you are asking a serious question, and I have no firsthand knowledge of what happens if you don't have a passport. I figure you'd probably get sent to Guantanamo.

Richard

veinglory
03-29-2009, 03:31 AM
How would they get into Canada without a passport in the first place?

Seaclusion
03-29-2009, 03:33 AM
Canada isn't anal about letting U.S. citizens into Canada. It's only the U.S. that's worried about letting it's own citizens back into the country.

Richard

Alvah
03-29-2009, 04:08 AM
How would they get into Canada without a passport in the first place?


Yes, as Seaclusion implied, you don't need a passport to go from the
U.S. into Canada; you just need one to get back into the States.

I am concerned about this because I have a relative, a teenage
girl, whose boyfriend will soon move to Canada.
Her parents have warned her about the passport issue, but since she's a teenager, I'm worried she will do something foolish.

2Wheels
03-29-2009, 04:18 AM
Check out paragraph three here (notice that it says both enter and depart):
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/ready_set_go/land_travel/ref_material/reqs_canmexber.xml

Aschenbach
03-29-2009, 05:17 AM
I am concerned about this because I have a relative, a teenage
girl, whose boyfriend will soon move to Canada.
Her parents have warned her about the passport issue, but since she's a teenager, I'm worried she will do something foolish.

This sounds more like a "live issue" than a writing/research question. If I were you I would call the relevant immigration/customs departments.

As a UK citizen who has crossed the Canada/US border a few times recently, I second other posters in that US officials are very paranoid. Canadian officials are more relaxed. But of course you need the correct documentation either way.

jclarkdawe
03-29-2009, 05:30 AM
Normal procedure is that Canada does not allow US citizens into their country unless they have documentation to return to the US. Right at the moment you can drive over the border without a passport. Canada is now asking how long you're staying (not a new question) and if you're staying beyond 1 June, they want to see your passport.

I'm sure a few people will be caught out. Eventually they'll get over the border. It just takes a lot of time. People going to Europe lose their passports all the time.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

dreamsofnever
03-29-2009, 10:41 AM
Normal procedure is that Canada does not allow US citizens into their country unless they have documentation to return to the US. Right at the moment you can drive over the border without a passport. Canada is now asking how long you're staying (not a new question) and if you're staying beyond 1 June, they want to see your passport.

I'm sure a few people will be caught out. Eventually they'll get over the border. It just takes a lot of time. People going to Europe lose their passports all the time.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Huh, strange.

I went to Canada this last summer on a road trip with my husband and they checked our passports. I got the feeling that they wouldn't let us in without passports, but perhaps I was wrong. Or perhaps we got an official who was more strict about the documentation? Hmm...

I will note that my maiden name was still on my passport at that time, despite being married for about 9 months and having my ssn and driver's license in my married name so I don't think they did any deep digging when checking the id.

Phoebe H
03-29-2009, 11:58 AM
Huh, strange.

I went to Canada this last summer on a road trip with my husband and they checked our passports. I got the feeling that they wouldn't let us in without passports, but perhaps I was wrong. Or perhaps we got an official who was more strict about the documentation? Hmm....

The deadline for requiring passports was supposed to be a year or so ago, but they didn't have the manpower to process all of the passport applications quickly enough to implement it, so they've pushed the deadline back a few times.

Note that there is also this new Passport *card* which will work for crossing the border into Mexico or Canada. I also keep hearing about an "enhanced driver's license" which I suspect is just another name for the passport card. Anyway, the card is the same size as a DL, and is a little cheaper than the traditional passport book, so that might be a good alternative if this person is only crossing the Canadian border.