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If you are a US Citizen in Canada without a passport, can you return to the US with a birth cerificate?

by Lisa
(Old Bridge, New Jersey, USA)

Question: I have an expired United States passport and want to travel to Canada. Is there anyway to do this without a valid passport?


Answer: It is recommended that you use a current, valid passport when traveling between the United States and Canada. Children are required to present their own passport.

There are a few other WHTI-compliant documents that can be used by U.S. citizens.

When traveling by air, a Merchant Mariner Document (presented by U.S. citizen merchant mariners traveling on official business) or NEXUS Card may be used.

American citizens traveling by land or sea can also present a valid passport card, Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) or a Trusted Traveler Program Card such as NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST.

Only children under age 16 can present a certified birth certificate when crossing the U.S./Canada border by land or sea.

If you meet the criteria, you can renew your passport by mail. Regular processing takes 4-6 weeks. You can get it in 2-3 weeks if you request expedited services.

For faster service, you can either apply at a regional passport agency or get a private expediting service to submit the application for you.

If you are in Canada when your passport expires, you should visit the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in Canada to renew your passport in Canada.

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Misplaced passport
by: Anonymous

Question: I just moved and my passport has been misplaced. I have a vacation planned in Canada and scheduled to leave within 10 days (will be arriving by land). My state does not offer EDL. What can or should I do to make sure I can leave and return to the US?

Answer: The first step is to call 1-877-487-2778 to report the lost passport. Note, the passport will be invalidated and, if found, cannot be used for travel.

Then, schedule an appointment at a regional passport agency. Since you will not have your previously-issued passport, you must apply as if for the first time.

If you are unable to visit a regional agency, you can employ the services of a registered courier service to submit the application on your behalf. Click the links below for more information.

New Passport Requirements

Applying at a Regional Passport Agency

Applying through a Passport Courier

I'm 15 can I cross?
by: Anonymous

Question: I'm 15 and I'm running away on a vacation. I plan to come back to the US. I live in the US. What do I need to cross the border when I go to Canada and when I come back?

Answer: You need your original birth certificate or a certified copy issued by the vital records office of the county in which you were born. You also need a letter of consent to travel signed by both parents. If signed by only one parent, you need to provide proof that parent has sole legal custody.

Please answer quickly
by: Anonymous

Question: I'm 18 years old and I'm currently in a abusive home. I'm running away to Canada to be with my boyfriend of 4 years who is a native born Canadian citizen and all I have is my birth certificate, my college ID and my expired US passport. Will I be able to cross with my expired passport and proof of American citizenship?

Answer: You will need a valid U.S. passport to enter Canada. It is possible to get a passport as quickly as the same day at a regional processing center. At 18, parental consent is not required.

Need to go home
by: PLS HELP!

Question: I am an American in Toronto Canada. I lost my wallet & passport and all I have is my American Drivers Lic. my car, and my ownership. I need to go back home (minnesota.) How would I go abouts going home? Please reply.

Answer: Apply for an emergency passport at the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto.

Returning to the U.S.
by: William

You cannot enter the U.S. without a passport unless you are a minor. All U.S. citizens age 16 and over are required to present a valid passport when entering the United States. You can apply for a passport at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate general.

Can I get across
by: Anonymous

I am a US citizen living in Canada. I want to move back home and I don't have a passport. I have a Canadian drivers License and my US birth certificate. Would I be able to cross the border with these documents?

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