Travel, Work

U.S. Travel Identification

Planning to travel to the U.S. in the near future? Remember this date: June 1, 2009. That’s when restrictions at the border will get even tighter. After May 31, a birth certificate and driver’s license won’t be enough to get you into the U.S. at land and sea entry points. A Certificate of Indian Status or Canadian Citizenship won’t be accepted either.

So what are your options?

A passport is the gold standard.

You have to fill out paperwork, gather your I.D., get a photo and find a friend or associate as a guarantor. If you’re worried about mailing your birth certificate — or want to cut the waiting time in half — you can go to the nearest Passport Canada office instead.

It costs $87 for adults, add another $70 more if you want rush processing.

Another option is a NEXUS card. It’s best for: Canadian and U.S. citizens and permanent residents who frequently cross the Canada/U.S. border. It’s designed to save time and hassle for pre-approved, low-risk travellers. Members have the option to use automated self-serve kiosks at airports, dedicated lanes at land border crossings and a phone-in feature for arrival by sea. These services can make it faster to use a NEXUS card instead of a passport.

It costs $50 for five years and $50 to renew.

But it won’t be a quick and easy application. The process to determine whether you’re eligible or not can take six to eight weeks

There’s also a Free and Secure Trade card for commercial importers, carriers and registered drivers

Which is best?

The trick is to figure out which option suits your needs. Apply early and be patient. The Canadian government is already warning people that the deadline is approaching, so expect lots of other like-minded people to be applying as well.

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