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Thread: Passports and crossing the border

  1. #1

    Passports and crossing the border

    My passport expired 6 months ago. Does anyone have any idea if I'll have any trouble getting into Canada from the US and back home again? It's still a valid id.

  2. #2
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    A drivers license does not prove US citizenship.

    Travel from within the Western Hemisphere (North, Central or South America)
    U.S. citizens are exempt from passport requirements. However, it is highly recommended that a U.S. Citizen be prepared to present documentation such as valid or expired U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, or Naturalization certificate to avoid delays.
    http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/va...entary_req.xml

    It is interesting that they will accept an expired passport, although I agree with Maxima that it might look suspicious to them. At the very least, be ready to explain why you haven't renewed it yet.

    Respectfully,
    Ned
    Nobody does it better...

  3. #3
    Fuck Models Love Stripper Uncle Kracker's Avatar
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    I've never once had a problem crossing with just a license... But it doesn't hurt to be safe.
    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. They wake up in the morning and that's the best they're going to feel all day."
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  4. #4
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    To be 100% safe, renew your passport

  5. #5
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    Stranger,
    Legally you are not required to present a valid US passport to cross the US Canadian border at this time, but that might change next year. Whether you would have any hassle depends on a number of factors: whether you look like a US citizen, talk like a US citizen, behave like a US citizen, act in any way which may raise suspicions, your demeanor, and not the least is what mood the US or Canadian officier is in.

    For most people a valid US driver's license is sufficient. I know many people who have done that without any problem, at least not on the issue of citizenship. The expired passport is a good supporting evidence of citizenship, but if I were you I would definitely carry another form of valid picture ID to prove who I am.

    Even if you were a naturalized US citizen say from South America or Asia, I would think a valid official picture ID such as a driver's license and an expired US passport would be more than sufficient to get you thru the US Canadian border, at least for now. But don't be too surprised if you were asked a few more questions and got invited to a longer getting-to-know-you-better chat inside the building.
    Last edited by Rex Kramer; 07-03-2005 at 07:28 PM.

  6. #6
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    Might sound strange but, you might have more problems getting back to the US than entering Canada in the first place if you only have a driver licence... US customs are way more picky!

  7. #7
    I can tell you with absolute certairnty and first-hand experience that a Canadian citizen can not fly into the US with only a driver's license as proof of citizenship. How it goes the other way around, I'm unsure, but it's a pain to be turned away at a border. Don't think it can't happen to you. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by metoo4
    Might sound strange but, you might have more problems getting back to the US than entering Canada in the first place if you only have a driver licence... US customs are way more picky!
    This is true - I rarely get asked for ID when entering Canada, but always am when returning to the US. I started carrying my passport after 9-11 just because I thought it would be easier. US Customs only asks for ID, though, not a passport.

    Even though Canadian Customs is less likely to ask for ID, they are more likely (in my case) to do random vehicle searches.

  9. #9
    Thanks for the advice everyone. It just so happens my driver's license has expired as well. I don't exactly need to drive where I am so I forgot to renew that too. I guess if push comes to shove my birth certificate should do when I'm going back into the states right?

  10. #10
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    Stranger,
    I think you are asking for trouble if the only document you carry to cross the US Canadian border is your birth certificate, without a valid official picture ID such as a driver's license or passport. You have to be ready and able to prove your citizenship, as well as you are the same person in the documents by a picture ID.
    Last edited by Rex Kramer; 07-06-2005 at 03:01 PM.

  11. #11
    Veteran of Misadventures
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    I have previously reported in another thread that I have personally observed people travelling without a passport encountering problems at the Canadian border. Why you would want to invite a problem you don't need to have is frankly beyond me. We live in a day and age where nobody should set foot outside their country without a passport, and if they do any problem they encounter is on them.

  12. #12
    Wine, women, & song ... ck_nj's Avatar
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    I agree with EB on this. It's just not worth it. My co-worker got hassled at the border with a valid birth certificate and CURRENT driver's license, while my other co-worker and I both had passports.

    If you really wanted to, you could get a renewed passport within 2 weeks, sometimes within a few days. You will have to pay extra for it, but it may be worth it for you.

    The Department of State's website shows you how you can get one in a hurry:

    http://travel.state.gov/passport/abo...ncies_913.html

    Also, several websites (like abriggs.com and passportexpress.com) can get you a renewed one within 1 day. Again, you will have to pay extra for it.

    CK

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Kramer
    Stranger,
    I think you are asking for trouble if the only document you carry to cross the US Canadian border is your birth certificate, without a valid official picture ID such as a driver's license or passport. You have to be ready and able to prove your citizenship, as well as you are the same person in the documents by a picture ID.
    I never said that was all I was going to bring. I simply stated that since my driver's license had already expired I thought maybe my birth certificate might be more valid as a form of secondary id.

    Ck, thanks for the link

  14. #14

    Check the U.S./Canadian Customs website

    There is quite a bit of information on both sites regarding your question and much else, for example "How much alchohol you can bring across the border in either direction." As far as personal experience I once crossed the border with a friend who only brought his passport and the border guard(Canadian) accused him of trying to hide a criminal history by not bringing his license, apparently since criminal histories are tied to drivers licenses in the U.S. We eventually got through after a long wait and several phone calls.

    Since then we only brought our drivers licenses and haven't had a problem for 5 years running. Now I see articles about next year that say we will need to have a valid passport to cross but no solid date as to when, or if they will follow through on this at all.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxima
    An expired (thus invalid as a travel doc) passport would bring suspicion. Just use your valid driver license.
    I had no problem with a cancelled passport that was expired and my drivers license. If the guard would have asked why I am using my cancelled passport, I would simply say that I want to keep my current passport home since it is not required to get back and forth across the border yet.

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