At The Border: Things To Know About Crossing To And From The USA (part 1)

Whether a person lives close to the border or is just dying for a chance to see what life is like on the other side, driving across to Canada can be tempting. The idea of rich poutine, a unique art scene, and a more laid-back way of life is all too good to pass up. As much as we’d all love to be able to drive over the border at will, modern laws prevent this from happening. For starters, a passport or enhanced license — which is only available in states that border Canada — is necessary for entry. In accordance with both country’s laws, a list of rules is maintained in order to prevent just anyone from shipping up north.

Some of these laws are funky in ways that only Canada can be while others are practical but not universally known. Both drivers and passengers are routinely questioned during their border crossing and a thorough car check is almost a guarantee. While it sounds like a lot of work, it’s really quite a simple process if all these regulations are noted prior to traveling. A road trip to another country doesn’t need to be stressful nor does it need to be impossible. In order to help this ring true, we’ve created a list of things everyone should know before crossing the US/Canada border.

1. A passports or enhanced license is necessary

This is quite possibly the most important aspect of the border to border travel. A potential traveler won’t even be allowed through the border crossing without the necessary documentation. It’s not uncommon for people to attempt to cross without either of these things and border security has no issue turning travelers around. In addition to one of these two forms of identification, a valid license should also be present, especially for the driver of the vehicle. Any other form of personal identification will be accepted in order to prove a passport or enhanced license is legitimate.

2. If traveling with someone else’s children, have proof of permission

This goes without saying but it’s something that many don’t think of. When an officer greets a traveler, they’re greeting a stranger they know nothing about. It’s not clear to them if a traveler is a child’s aunt making a trip to Toronto for the weekend, or if she’s a stranger with someone else’s child. In order to make this entire process go quickly and efficiently, a letter stating one’s intention as well as their relation to the child is the best thing to have, if not some other form of proof and identification.