Do You Need A Passport to Go to Canada?


Visitors traveling to Canada from any country besides the United States have always needed a passport to enter and leave Canada. Because of Canada’s close borders with the U.S., though, the requirements to enter and leave Canada have historically been less strict.

The answer to the question of “do you need a passport to go to Canada?” depends on how you will travel to Canada. If you are going to be arriving by air, you will have different, and stricter, requirements than if you are going to be driving through a land border or entering from a sea border.

The restrictions and requirements are in place to ensure that you will be able to re-enter the United States when your trip to Canada is over. The United States requires a valid passport for you to arrive in the country by plane and has looser requirements if you are going to enter the U.S. by sea or land.

If you are going to be staying in Canada for 180 days or longer, you will need to apply for a Visa, whether you arrive by air, land, or sea.

Passport Requirements for Entering Canada by Air

If you will be flying into an airport in Canada, then you do need a valid U.S. passport book because you will need to present it in order to board an airplane when it’s time for you to return to the United States.

If you are entering Canada on your way to Europe, then your passport has to be valid for at least three months after your planned departure date. If Canada is your intended destination, then your passport only needs to be valid until the date you are expected to re-enter the United States.

These requirements are the same for children and adults.

Passport Requirements for Entering Canada by Land and Sea

Canada’s bordering states offer several points of entry via land. If you will be entering Canada using one of these border crossings, then you need to prove your identity and American citizenship, but you do not necessarily need a passport.

The following identifying documents will allow you to cross the U.S./Canadian border:
• NEXUS card
• Birth certificate
• Valid U.S. passport book or passport card
• Certificate of citizenship or naturalization
• Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL), also known as a REAL ID

These requirements are the same for children and adults.
Should You Get a Passport to Go to Canada?
If you are traveling to Canada via air, then yes, you definitely need to get a passport book to go to Canada. If you are going to arrive by land or sea, then it’s highly recommended that you still get a passport book.

Even though there are alternatives available, a valid passport book will always allow you to enter into Canada and the United States, no matter what type of border you intend to cross. Plus, a valid American passport will allow you to travel to any other country in the world.

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