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Canada Travel Requirements

Canadian Entrance Stamp in US PassportCanada travel requirements for entry are different from the requirements to re-enter the United States. While Canadian law allows all American citizens entering Canada to show government-issued photo ID (e.g. Driver's License) and proof of U.S. citizenship such as a U.S. birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or expired U.S. passport to enter, the United States does not accept these documents.

U.S. citizens who travel to Canada must present a valid passport to re-enter the United States by air or a passport, passport card or other approved WHTI and WHTI-compliant document when entering by land or sea. A Nexus card is also enough to gain entrance to Canada by land, sea and air.

Oftentimes, the discovery that a passport is required for travel to Canada happens only a few days before the scheduled trip. The only way to get a passport in less than two weeks is to apply at a regional passport agency or, when this is not possible, through a registered expedited passport courier service such as Fastport Passport.

The exception to this requirement is for U.S. citizens under the age of 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious, or other youth group) who need only present a birth certificate (original, photocopy or certified copy), Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or naturalization certificate.

If you plan to travel to Canada with a minor who is not your own child or for whom you do not have full legal custody, Canada Border Services Agency may require you to present a notarized affidavit of consent from the minor's parents or legal guardians. There is no specific form for this document, but it should include dates of travel, parents' names and photo copies of their state-issued IDs.

One of the WHTI-compliant documents for crossing the land border is the U.S. Passport Card. The card may not be used to travel by air and is available only to U.S. citizens. All American citizen travelers are encouraged to apply for a U.S. passport well in advance of anticipated travel in order to avoid any problems.

Both the U.S. and Canadian governments urge frequent travelers to join the NEXUS trusted traveler program. NEXUS members receive a special travel card that allows expedited border crossings for both private and commercial travelers through both U.S. and Canadian border controls.

A visa is not required for U.S. citizens to visit Canada for up to 180 days. Anyone seeking to enter Canada for any purpose other than a visit (e.g. to work, study or immigrate) must qualify for the appropriate entry status, and should contact the Canadian Embassy or nearest consulate and visit the Canadian immigration website.

The Canadian Embassy is located at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC. Canadian consulates can be found in Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Juan or Seattle.

If you already have a trip to Canada planned and need to get a passport quickly, you can schedule an appointment at the nearest regional agency or apply online for expedited passport service through a registered expediting courier service. If you are still planning your trip, be sure to sign up for the best Canada tours so that you see and do everything you want to.

How a DUI Can Affect Admissibility to Canada

Canadian flag flying with mountains in background.Canada, our neighbor to the north, has a wealth of natural beauty, interesting cultures, and vibrant cities to explore. When taking a trip from the U.S. to Canada, you can typically cross at any designated land border with either your passport book or your passport card. However, just because you have been issued a passport in the U.S., it doesn't mean other countries have to honor it. If you try to cross the border into Canada with a previous DUI conviction, be ready to get your feelings hurt.

In Canada, the statute for DUI covers equivalent U.S. charges of DUI, physical control of a vehicle-moving or not under the influence, and DUI as a minor. These are indictable offenses and, therefore, grounds to deny entry to the country if you are a foreign national. You are considered rehabilitated ten years after the completion of your DUI sentence, and are eligible to apply for rehabilitation five years after the completion of your sentence. If you're awarded rehabilitation, you're allowed into the country; the process can take several months to complete.

If you've ever been convicted of a DUI in the United States, and you're planning a visit to Canada you face possible exclusion. Approaching a Canadian land border without researching entry requirements ahead of time, or going through the proper process of a rehabilitation application is a roll of the dice. You can try to enter by applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) at the border, and while it's possible to gain admittance to Canada in this way, it's unlikely, especially if it is clear you're ineligible. More often than not, you'll be turned away, and the risk comes with a non-refundable $200 application fee. The best idea is to first contact an experienced immigration lawyer in the province where you plan to travel to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

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