When we travel, the main goal is often to relax.  Unfortunately, that can sometimes be difficult to accomplish, especially if you are going to be crossing a border (whether it is by plane – or driving).

Planning for a cross border trip can be stressful and overwhelming, leaving travelers more prone to exhibit forgetful behaviour. No one wants to get to the border only to find out they have forgotten their passport, or anything else that might be needed for a successful border crossing. Throughout this article, we are going to discuss, in more detail, the dos and don’ts of Canadian/US border crossing.

One of the most important things you can do is to ensure you have all documentation required to cross. Here is a list of documents that you may require if you are crossing the Canadian/US border in a vehicle:

If you are over the age of 16, you will be required to present one (or more) of the following identifying documents

  • A passport
  • An enhanced drivers license
  • An enhanced identification card (Manitoba & British Columbia)
  • A NEXUS Card (typically used by people in business that travel between Canada and the US regularly)
  • A FAST Card
  • A Permanent Resident Card

A person under the age of 16 is not required to have a passport when travelling by passenger vehicle. They may present a copy of his or her birth certificate, or, other proof of Canada citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or a Canadian Citizenship Certificate as valid identification.

You may be surprised to learn that infants (even newborns) are required to have a passport if you plan to fly. If you are crossing the border via airplane, all travellers, regardless of age will require a passport as a form of identification. Unfortunately, not all businesses that take passport photos are able to accommodate infant photos, so it may be best to call ahead to ensure the photographer has the correct equipment. Younger infants may need special seats to allow them to sit up with out a parent to meet passport photo requirements.

Another detail to note when travelling across borders with children, whether by plane or vehicle, is the Child Travel Consent Letter. If a children is travelling with only one parent then it is important to have this form filled out and signed by the non-traveling parent which discloses their consent for their child to leave the country without them. This form can be found on the travel page of the Government of Canada Website.


Lastly, be sure to always check what goods you are able to bring in and out of the countries you are travelling to and from. You can find this information on the respective Country’s customs/travel page on their government websites.

When crossing the board, remember to be polite, honest and cooperative. Plan your trip well, and come prepared with all your required documents. When you take these actions, it can help ensure an easy border crossing.