Canada Passport Requirements | Crossing the Border with Kids | What Can I Bring to Canada? | Passport Equivalents | NEXUS Card
Updated October 2016
Bottom Line: U.S. and Canadian citizens ages 15 or younger with parental consent are allowed to cross the borders at land and sea entry points with certified copies of their birth certificates rather than passports.
Visitors of all ages arriving in Canada by air require a passport or passport equivalent, such as a NEXUS card.
Note that anyone who has a NEXUS card or is considering applying for one can apply for NEXUS cards for his or her own children at no cost.
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U.S. and Canadian citizens ages 16 through 18 traveling between the U.S. and Canada with school, religious, cultural or athletic groups and under adult supervision will also be allowed to travel with only proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.
Children may require additional travel documents when visiting Canada. See Tips for Crossing the Border with Children for more info. For example if one parent is travelling to Canada with children but not the other parent, a signed document giving travel permission may be necessary. Border guards are especially diligent in keeping an eye out for unlawful border crossings involving children.
Visitors of all other nationalities, of all ages, need a valid passport to enter Canada by land, sea and air.
Best Advice: Don't wait. Get a passport or passport equivalent, like a NEXUS Card, for your child now. The trend for essential travel documents, even between friendly, neighbouring countries like Canada and the U.S. and Mexico, is toward increased security and standardization. A passport - or passport equivalent - is becoming a must.
- Cruise ships, train lines and bus companies will all have up to date information on passport requirements.
- Consult the U.S. Department of State or Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).
- Read What Do I Need to Know about Crossing the Canada / U.S. Border with Children?