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Entering USA from Canada by land w/o a passport: experience?

Entering USA from Canada by land w/o a passport: experience?

Old Sep 1, 19, 12:18 am
  #1  
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Question Entering USA from Canada by land w/o a passport: experience?

Howdy folks,

Has anyone had experience returning from Canada without a passport (card)? I send in my passport and passport card for renewal and won't be able to get them back in time for an unexpected trip to Vancouver, BC. I am going to take my driver license and Naturalization Certificate with me and will be crossing at either Peace Arch or Pacific Hwy. Now, this is a practical question: how long did you spend in secondary, how hard was the experience and did you have any problem crossing the border later with proper documents?

If there is a chance I can be flagged after this and experience delays during my future border crossings, I will probably cancel this trip (my boss won't be happy). Your feedback would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Sep 1, 19, 12:24 am
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Originally Posted by König View Post
Howdy folks,

Has anyone had experience returning from Canada without a passport (card)? I send in my passport and passport card for renewal and won't be able to get them back in time for an unexpected trip to Vancouver, BC. I am going to take my driver license and Naturalization Certificate with me and will be crossing at either Peace Arch or Pacific Hwy. Now, this is a practical question: how long did you spend in secondary, how hard was the experience and did you have any problem crossing the border later with proper documents?

If there is a chance I can be flagged after this and experience delays during my future border crossings, I will probably cancel this trip (my boss won't be happy). Your feedback would be greatly appreciated!
I can't specifically respond to your question, I just know that trying to enter without a valid travel document will get you permanently flagged and make you ineligible for a lot of visa waiver programs between the countries involved. I'm a bit confused though - you're asking about entering the US, but you're not asking about entering Canada without a passport, only about your return? Or do you have a Canadian passport as well and you're merely wondering about your return to the US? If you have a Canadian passport to enter Canada then what I wrote above is probably moot.

Source:I ran into this issue when I realized AT THE PODIUM that I brought my old, expired passport. The agent was kind of enough to let me turnstile and specifically write down "NOT an attempted border crossing" so as to not have that permanent refusal mark on my record.
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Old Sep 1, 19, 8:55 am
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Originally Posted by Smiley90 View Post
I can't specifically respond to your question, I just know that trying to enter without a valid travel document will get you permanently flagged and make you ineligible for a lot of visa waiver programs between the countries involved. I'm a bit confused though - you're asking about entering the US, but you're not asking about entering Canada without a passport, only about your return? Or do you have a Canadian passport as well and you're merely wondering about your return to the US? If you have a Canadian passport to enter Canada then what I wrote above is probably moot.

Source:I ran into this issue when I realized AT THE PODIUM that I brought my old, expired passport. The agent was kind of enough to let me turnstile and specifically write down "NOT an attempted border crossing" so as to not have that permanent refusal mark on my record.
Thanks for your reply. I am a US citizen, and I will be entering Canada as such. I did not mention Canada's CBSA because they haven't really changed the list of documents required for US citizens to enter by land post-WHTI. So, apparently a driver license and a naturalization certificate should still be sufficient to enter Canada.

Now, when you say I will be permanently flagged — do you mean by the CBP? I am not sure how visa waivers to other countries will be affected and how it is even related to my situation. What I don't want to happen is me being flagged by the CBP when returning back to the US from my future trips.
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Old Sep 1, 19, 9:11 am
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Source: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/western-hemisphere-travel-initiative

Travelers without WHTI-compliant documents are likely to be delayed at the border as CBP officers work to verify identity and citizenship.
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Old Sep 1, 19, 5:03 pm
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Entering the US with a valid US passport isn’t necessarily a great experience in the first place. I’m not sure why you’d willingly do so without the proper documentation.

Surely, the better (and correct) solution is to get your passport expedited or get an emergency passport.
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Old Sep 1, 19, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by König View Post
Thanks for your reply. I am a US citizen, and I will be entering Canada as such. I did not mention Canada's CBSA because they haven't really changed the list of documents required for US citizens to enter by land post-WHTI. So, apparently a driver license and a naturalization certificate should still be sufficient to enter Canada.
I’m not so sure about this. I am not sure CBSA will let you in without a passport or a Nexus card. The wording is a bit vague but I would bet they won’t admit you without a US passport or a green card. Unless a green card is what you meant? I might be wrong but this is something I would confirm before you make the drive up.

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-v...td-dv-eng.html

Visitors to Canada:
Identification requirements for United States citizens and permanent residents, and international visitors
All international travellers must carry acceptable identification and a valid visa (if necessary) when entering Canada. A passport is recommended because it is the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document for the purpose of international travel. International transport companies, such as airlines, must make sure that travellers have proper, valid travel documents. If you do not have the proper documents, you may be delayed or unable to board the plane. What you need will depend on where you are from, how you are travelling, and what documents you are travelling with. Consult entry requirements by country.

When you enter Canada, a border services officer will ask to see your passport and a valid visa, if you are arriving from a country for which one is required. Visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website to learn more about what travel documents are required.

Citizens of the U.S. who are members of the NEXUS program may present their membership card as proof of identification and as a document that denotes citizenship, when arriving by air (when coming from the U.S.), land, or marine modes.

Citizens of the U.S. who are members of the FAST program may use their cards as proof of identity when arriving by land and marine modes only.

Permanent residents of the U.S. who are members of the NEXUS or FAST programs must travel with a passport and proof of permanent residence, and may be asked to present these documents to the officer upon arrival at the border.

Permanent residents of the U.S. who are members of NEXUS also need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) when flying to or transiting through Canada. Citizens of the U.S. and Canada are exempted.

All visitors arriving from or transiting through the U.S. are encouraged to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information concerning the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and the requirements to enter or return to the U.S.
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Old Sep 1, 19, 6:58 pm
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To answer your question:

As a US national, you may not be denied entry to your country. Period.

The passport serves as uncontroverted evidence that you are a citizen. Your entry may be delayed and may be unpleasant, but you will be admitted.

I would bring with me clear color copies of the relevant pages of your passport book and card as well as your DL. The photo match and CBP's ability to look up the passport and see that it is you should suffice.

Nobody can tell you how long it will take as it is dependent on how busy things are. Plan on an extra 3-4 hours and be pleasantly surprised if it takes 10 minutes.
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Old Sep 1, 19, 7:20 pm
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You should call your "Constituent Services" office for your Senator or congressman.

They can work wonders. Like next day renewals......

Call them on Tuesday. early.
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Old Sep 1, 19, 10:19 pm
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OP, are you a WA State resident? If so, I don't know if time permits but you could look into obtaining a Washington State "Enhanced" Drivers license. An enhanced drivers license is encoded with your passport information and has RFID technology. It can be used for land and marine border crossings between the United States & Canada.

I have a British Columbia enhanced drivers license. If I am out for a drive and decide I want to cross into the US, it is all that I need. I don't have to worry about carrying my passport. Outside of peak times, traveling south, you can use the Nexus lanes to enter the US with an enhanced drivers license. Hours are clearly marked at Sumas/Huntington crossing so I anticipate it would be the same for the other crossins too.

James
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Old Sep 1, 19, 10:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post
OP, are you a WA State resident? If so, I don't know if time permits but you could look into obtaining a Washington State "Enhanced" Drivers license.
Thanks for your reply, James. I used to be a WA resident about 10 years ago, and I even attempted to get an EDL, but the only Spokane DOL location that was accepting such applications was a zoo, so I just gave up after a few hours in line. At that time, I already had a passport card, so there was no real need for an EDL which prompted me to abandon this quest. Now, I live in OR, so unfortunately an EDL is not an option for me.
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Old Sep 1, 19, 11:01 pm
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A Global Entry card can be used in lieu of a passport when crossing into the US at land borders via the NEXUS/SENTRI/Ready Lane lanes.
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Old Sep 1, 19, 11:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Exec_Plat View Post
You should call your "Constituent Services" office for your Senator or congressman.

They can work wonders. Like next day renewals......

Call them on Tuesday. early.
Thanks for the suggestion, but I doubt it would help me due to time constraints. My trip would be in the middle of the next week.

Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
A Global Entry card can be used in lieu of a passport when crossing into the US at land borders via the NEXUS/SENTRI/Ready Lane lanes.
Unfortunately, I am not a member of any trusted travelers programs.

Last edited by TWA884; Sep 1, 19 at 11:36 pm Reason: Merge consecutive posts by the same member; please use the multi-quote function. Thank you.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The passport serves as uncontroverted evidence that you are a citizen. Your entry may be delayed and may be unpleasant, but you will be admitted.

Nobody can tell you how long it will take as it is dependent on how busy things are. Plan on an extra 3-4 hours and be pleasantly surprised if it takes 10 minutes.
Thank you for the feedback. What I am interested in most is whether this entry will make a candidate for additional screening during my future re-entries.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 1:24 am
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Originally Posted by König View Post
Thanks for your reply, James. I used to be a WA resident about 10 years ago, and I even attempted to get an EDL, but the only Spokane DOL location that was accepting such applications was a zoo, so I just gave up after a few hours in line. At that time, I already had a passport card, so there was no real need for an EDL which prompted me to abandon this quest. Now, I live in OR, so unfortunately an EDL is not an option for me.
Interesting. In British Columbia, there are done by appointment. I fear, though, that without a passport or other acceptable document, you may be denied entey into Canada. A driver's license does not prove nationality nor does a US address.

I am currently at my vacation home in Phoenix. I own US real estate and have an Arizona purchased vehicle which is registered and insured in the State. As a Canadian, it is illegal for me to cross the border into Canada with my US owned vehicle.

I wish you the best of luck. I wouldn't want to be flagged in the Canadian system as having tried to gain entry without documentation. The flag will be sure to make crossing north in the future more difficult and there is a possibility that you could be barred from entry for a finite period of time. You had mentioned "the boss wouldn't be happy." If this is work related that will compound the difficulties many times. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions.

James
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Old Sep 28, 19, 8:49 am
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Most answers above quote regulations that apply only when flying into Canada, and/or bearing a non-US passport.

The US strengthened land border regulations after 9/11 via the WHTI, but Canada never followed suit. As a result, if:
- you are a US Citizen, and
- you enter Canada through a land border, then:

- you must prove your identity and citizenship to CBSA
- a naturalization/birth certificate, or any other document which clearly indicates your US citizenship is sufficient for proof of citizenship
- you do not require a passport.

In principle, you need a US passport (or other WHTI-compliant document) to get back into the US, even at a land border.
In practice, a US citizen cannot be denied entry to their own country. You may encounter varying degrees of delay and hassle however.

Last edited by Algorithm; Sep 28, 19 at 9:02 am
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