Passports for Canadians

Spring 2005 CSANews Issue 54  |  Posted date : May 17, 2007.Back to list

Phase 1 – by December 31, 2005 (this year) – U.S. citizens, Canadian citizens, and citizens of Bermuda entering the U.S. by air or sea FROM THE CARIBBEAN will require a valid passport. This will predominantly impact upon Canadians taking Caribbean cruises that operate out of the southern U.S.

Phase 2 – by December 31, 2006 (next year) – All travellers arriving in the U.S. by air or sea will require a valid passport for entry. This will impact upon snowbirds who travel back and forth by air, especially those who fly home for Christmas and then return south for the balance of the winter months.

Phase 3 – before January 1, 2008 – All travellers entering the U.S. by air, sea OR LAND will require a valid passport.

Programs such as NEXUS are being discussed, but no definitive details are available.

What is wrong with a birth certificate and driver's licence?

Birth certificate standards vary too greatly from state/provincial jurisdiction to be easily used at the border. Due to the number of variations that exist, they are also subject to a higher risk of forgery. Passport offices have database access to cross-validate the authenticity of a birth record. Border inspectors do not have this access.

Driver's licence standards also vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, making them not the ideal document of choice. Driver's licences also do not provide any details on citizenship, which is the key to border-crossing entry.

The CSA has always endorsed carrying a passport as the one definitive and universally recognized and accepted form of documentation. In light of these new changes at the U.S. border, the need is even more real.