Driving from Alaska to Seattle with kids

Old Jul 15, 18, 12:43 pm
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Driving from Alaska to Seattle with kids

My son and his wife have lived in Alaska for 9 years but are going to relocate to the lower 48 in October. They plan to drive from Skagway to Seattle where my daughter lives and visit her before heading to see us in Texas. Obviously they will have to drive through Canada to get to Seattle. My son and his wife both have US passports but have not gotten them for their 4 year old son or daughter who is turning 2. Do they need passports for them or can they show birth certificates?
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Old Jul 15, 18, 1:51 pm
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According to the U.S. Department of State website, when traveling by land or sea, U.S. and Canadian citizen children under the age of 16 need only present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship when entering Canada or the U.S.

I suggest making sure that the children have their official birth certificates issued by the city, county, or state of their birth with the raised or embossed seal (specific details here).
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Old Jul 15, 18, 3:14 pm
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Note the specific requirement for the US entry. As a practical matter, US citizens can't be denied entry, but that can be a lengthy and unpleasant experience. Now, might be a good time to get the kids passports.

Children: U.S. citizen children ages 15 and under arriving by land or sea from a contiguous territory (Canada or Mexico) may present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate (issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where he or she was born), a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate. If the child is a newborn and the actual birth certificate has not arrived from the Vital Records Department, we will accept a Hospital issued birth certificate.

The document from above will also suffice for the Alaska - Canada transit as the birth certificate is proof of citizenship.
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Old Jul 16, 18, 9:38 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Note the specific requirement for the US entry. As a practical matter, US citizens can't be denied entry, but that can be a lengthy and unpleasant experience. Now, might be a good time to get the kids passports.

Children: U.S. citizen children ages 15 and under arriving by land or sea from a contiguous territory (Canada or Mexico) may present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate (issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where he or she was born), a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate. If the child is a newborn and the actual birth certificate has not arrived from the Vital Records Department, we will accept a Hospital issued birth certificate.

The document from above will also suffice for the Alaska - Canada transit as the birth certificate is proof of citizenship.
In my experience of crossing by land between Canada and the US with young children who are US citizens, my extended family have had no lengthy and unpleasant experiences at US landports of entry as a result of showing birth certificates/US CRBAs (not even always originals) to US CBP for young US citizen children instead of passports for such children. [And my family includes various people of non-European ethnic backgrounds too, in case that may matter.] This isn't the experience of someone doing this only once or twice in a lifetime -- it's a body of experience of doing this even for commute purposes.
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Old Jul 17, 18, 1:42 pm
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We traveled with 2 kids to Canada by car twice having only birth certificates for them, and every time it was a smooth sailing through the border. In case it matters, my wide also is not of European descent, and we both have accents. The CBSA agents just typed something from the birth certificates into the computer, then asked a usual set of questions -- and off we went. Coming back to the US was even smoother, as the CBP agents just glanced at the certificates and returned them to us.
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