Not long ago you didn’t need a passport to enter Canada if you were an American citizen, and so some confusion lingers about Canada passport requirements for U.S. travelers. The simple answer is yes, if you are a U.S. citizen then you will want to use a valid passport with at least one blank page for an entry stamp to go to Canada. Because even though you can legally enter with a passport card or NEXUS card, you will need a passport book to reenter the U.S., especially if flying. The easiest thing to do is opt to use a passport book in every situation.
Canada Passport Requirements for U.S. Citizens
U.S. citizens will want to use a valid passport with at least one blank page for an entry stamp to go to Canada. Though you can also use a passport card or NEXUS to enter Canada, you will need a passport book to reenter the U.S. The simplest thing is to just bring your passport, since it’s the only document that works in every scenario.
Visitors over the age of 16 entering Canada must provide proof of citizenship and proof of identity, while minors under 16 must only prove their citizenship. These distinctions are mostly academic since a passport, passport card, or NEXUS card will work in both cases.
One note regarding minors, per the State Department: “If you plan to travel to Canada with a minor who is not your own child or for whom you do not have full legal custody, [Canadian border officials] may require you to present a notarized affidavit of consent from the minor’s parents.”
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Additional Requirements for Traveling to Canada
Visa: No, for stays under 180 days
What to Do if You Lose Your Passport in Canada
Take every precaution to keep your passport secure, such as carrying it in a hidden passport holder, keeping it locked in a safe, and emailing copies to yourself or a loved one before traveling.
If you do lose your passport, report the loss immediately to the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Canada.
So, Do I Need a Passport to Go to Canada?
The answer is yes, if you are a U.S. citizen you will want to use a valid passport with at least one blank page for an entry stamp to go to Canada.
More Information When Visiting Canada
The U.S. Department of State provides detailed information, including travel advisories and passport validity requirements, to your destination.
Destination Canada is a great resource for things to do and places to stay, as well as everything you need to know before you go when planning a trip to the country.
If you happen to be traveling with a pet, keep in mind that you will need various paperwork depending on the animal.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 5 Exotic Places Where You Don’t Need a Passport
- How to Renew a Passport, Global Entry, and TSA PreCheck—The Ultimate Guide
- How to Take Your Own Passport Photo
Dress Up Your Passport
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2016. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. Kate H. Knapp contributed to this story.