Do you need a passport to go to Canada?
Our neighbor to the north may be under considerable political scrutiny lately, but as of this writing, nothing has affected the visa and entry requirements between either country. Ten years ago, US citizens could move freely between Canada and Mexico using nothing but a state-issued driver’s license. Since that time, the requirements have become stricter, and something travelers should review before crossing any borders.
Using passport cards to go to Canada
Many Americans can easily get confused about traveling to Canada and whether they’re okay leaving their passport at home. While there are some destinations in the Caribbean and even in the Pacific – Guam – that are completely accessible to US citizens without a passport, some do require passport books or cards.
If you’re based in Washington or New York state, chances are crossing the border by car or bus is a short trip. However, it’s not only residents of these states who can visit Toronto or Vancouver by land; any US citizens who holds a passport card or book can legally enter Canada for up to six months without a visa.
Passport cards may also be used for travel by sea, and cruises to Canada are no exception. As long as you’re a US citizen with a valid state-issued driver’s license on a closed-circuit cruise departing from the US, you do not need a passport card to visit Canada. However, it is generally recommended to carry a passport book in the event of medical evacuation or other emergencies.
Using passport books to go to Canada
Flights to any number of cities in Canada are available at major hubs in the US. Unlike many other countries, which require us to pass through immigration when departing abroad and arriving in the US, Canada does not always have the same stipulation for US citizens returning. To legally enter Canada, travelers must have a passport book valid for at least six months; in some cases, proof of ongoing travel may be required depending on your length of stay. To return to the US, you can just pass through immigration in a Canadian airport and enjoy a less stressful landing and disembarkation at home.
What about visas to Canada?
Regardless of whether you’re traveling by land or air to Canada, any stays longer than six months will require an extension once you’re in the country, and a passport will be required. Work visas, as always, mean you should have a passport book with at least 1-2 blank pages for stamps and documentation.
What if you need a passport to Canada in a hurry?
By land, a passport card will usually suffice. By sea, a state-issued driver’s license is acceptable, but a passport book is recommended. Flying demands a US passport book. Whatever method of transport you choose, chances are a passport application lies in your future.
A passport book or card for travel to Canada starts at $110 without considering any expedited or execution fees. If you have several weeks or more prior to your trip, it is possible to apply for a US passport by mail. With only a few weeks, one of the 26 regional passport agencies can accept applications in person. With even less time, a trusted agency like Travel Visa Pro is your best bet. We can process applications in as little as eight hours in some cases, and get you a passport book or card to travel to Canada quickly.
When it comes to traveling to Canada, weigh the pros or cons before deciding whether you want to invest in a passport book or card for the trip. If you do decide you need one, don’t hesitate to find the nearest Travel Visa Pro for assistance. We’ll demystify the application process and get you north before winter sets in.