Passport smoothes travel to the U.S.

Most of us are used to crossing the U.S. border with little trouble, and nothing more than a friendly question or two and a wave. Recent changes to the enforcement of photo identification rules have been a rude awakening to some Canadians returning from a U.S. vacation, as the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) warns.

Canadians travelling to and from the United States may experience difficulties if they do not possess valid photo identification and proof of citizenship. According to DFAIT, all carriers (noticeably airlines, but also Amtrak and Greyhound) have tightened their policies concerning passengers’ proof of admissibility into Canada.

Many people rely on birth and baptismal certificates, but since these don’t have photographs they are no longer accepted by airlines without additional photo i.d. identification. There are cases of carriers that have transported Canadians to the U.S. on round-trip tickets and refused to return them to Canada, without valid photo identification and proof of Canadian citizenship.

Travellers are forced to contact the Canadian Embassy or nearest Consulate in the U.S. for assistance, where consular officials ha to verify documentation. Of course, this takes time, and is a potential vacation-wrecker. Even if the U.S. is the only place you ever travel, the solution is simple: get a passport.