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Old 12-16-2023, 11:51 AM
 
Location: NC
9,358 posts, read 14,085,892 times
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I want to visit someone just across the border between the US and Canada. Realizing there is a need to have an identity document I went online to see what is needed but there are mixed bits of info. My issue is I don’t have a passport, just a “Real ID” type of driver’s license. The latter required showing my birth certificate plus any name change documentation and evidence of local mail receipt. A passport seems to need the same documents. They both have photos.

So, can I use my Real ID to drive or fly into Vancouver? Having moved a couple times in the last couple years I would like to avoid looking for the necessary documents again and waiting the weeks it takes to get a passport. In the old daysa routine driver’s license and an American accent was all that was need. But now I have the “enhanced” driver’s license.

Thanks for any recent experience notes. This would be for early 2024.
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Old 12-16-2023, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
18,504 posts, read 15,536,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv4horses View Post
I want to visit someone just across the border between the US and Canada. Realizing there is a need to have an identity document I went online to see what is needed but there are mixed bits of info. My issue is I don’t have a passport, just a “Real ID” type of driver’s license. The latter required showing my birth certificate plus any name change documentation and evidence of local mail receipt. A passport seems to need the same documents. They both have photos.

So, can I use my Real ID to drive or fly into Vancouver? Having moved a couple times in the last couple years I would like to avoid looking for the necessary documents again and waiting the weeks it takes to get a passport. In the old daysa routine driver’s license and an American accent was all that was need. But now I have the “enhanced” driver’s license.

Thanks for any recent experience notes. This would be for early 2024.
Your airline will require you to have a passport for international flights.

Real ID is only good for air travel within the US. An enhanced driver's license is only good for land and sea borders, as well as US domestic air travel.

However, you really should check directly with your airline for important matters like this.
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Old 12-16-2023, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
3,970 posts, read 5,762,977 times
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A "Real ID" is insufficient for international travel. That thing only gets us Americans into federal government buildings such as airports, domestic flights, federal courthouses, and so forth. You will need a full passport book for all international air travel including to Canada. For travel to Canada by land or water, you can make do with a wallet sized US passport card, which is much cheaper than a passport book but only allows you to travel by land or water to Canada, Mexico, and select Caribbean countries. So with a passport card, you can fly to Seattle and drive up to Vancouver. If you want to fly directly to Vancouver, you will need a full passport. Natnasci mentioned about an enhanced driver's license but only five states: Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Vermont issue them to their residents. Everyone else will need to obtain a passport or passport card for travel to Canada.

I would not trust any information site that talks about passports other than the U.S. State Department. There is a lot of incorrect and inaccurate mumbo jumbo out there in the internet that is not helpful. Start here and navigate until you are clear with answers https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...passports.html.
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Old 12-16-2023, 01:18 PM
 
Location: NC
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Actually I would be willing to drive rather than fly since I would also be visiting in Washington state. Could I drive across the border with Real ID? Or could my Canadian friend pick me up in WA and drive us both back to Vancouver?

Thanks so far for the advice.
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Old 12-16-2023, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
18,504 posts, read 15,536,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv4horses View Post
Actually I would be willing to drive rather than fly since I would also be visiting in Washington state. Could I drive across the border with Real ID? Or could my Canadian friend pick me up in WA and drive us both back to Vancouver?

Thanks so far for the advice.
It has already been stated that Real Id is not good for international travel.

As for your friend picking you up, no. It is you who must have the proper documents to enter Canada.

Have you travelled internationally before?
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Old 12-16-2023, 03:24 PM
 
Location: NC
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Yes I have travelled internationally but not for at least 10 yrs. Europe and elsewhere. I brought up the Real iD overlap because it seems to have similar requirements. My last passport expired.

And in the old days I drove, or took a bus or train into Canada with no need for special documents. But times have changed and I was just trying to save some effort. I’m retired and no longer fond of extraneous paper work.
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Old 12-16-2023, 04:59 PM
 
2,208 posts, read 1,318,769 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
A "Real ID" is insufficient for international travel. That thing only gets us Americans into federal government buildings such as airports, domestic flights, federal courthouses, and so forth. You will need a full passport book for all international air travel including to Canada. For travel to Canada by land or water, you can make do with a wallet sized US passport card, which is much cheaper than a passport book but only allows you to travel by land or water to Canada, Mexico, and select Caribbean countries. So with a passport card, you can fly to Seattle and drive up to Vancouver. If you want to fly directly to Vancouver, you will need a full passport. Natnasci mentioned about an enhanced driver's license but only five states: Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Vermont issue them to their residents. Everyone else will need to obtain a passport or passport card for travel to Canada.

I would not trust any information site that talks about passports other than the U.S. State Department. There is a lot of incorrect and inaccurate mumbo jumbo out there in the internet that is not helpful. Start here and navigate until you are clear with answers https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...passports.html.
From the site, it seems that one can apply at either one of these places - post-office, library and government office. Interesting.
A passport will cost $130, a passport card $30. Then why would anyone pay $160 for both a passport and a card? it makes no sense.

https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...pply/fees.html
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Old 12-17-2023, 01:02 AM
 
Location: Alberta, Canada
3,624 posts, read 3,405,054 times
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You will need proof of your American citizenship to enter Canada. Any kind of driver's license or Real ID won't cut it, because the issuers of those don't make sure that you are an American citizen. All those documents do is to identify you. They tell police and airport and other authorities that you have passed a driver's test, how old you are, and that you live where you say you do. They don't say that you are an American citizen.

I realize that there are many documents that Americans use to get around their country by air (e.g. Real ID), but when you travel internationally, you need to prove your citizenship to the country that you are going to. Going to Canada is international travel; therefore, you need to prove to Canadian authorities that you are an American citizen. Not that you passed a state driver's test and/or that state authorities affirm that you live at the address given.

No, this requires the US federal government to get involved, and that requires a United States passport, or a passport card. I would recommend a passport; it will get you more places than just Canada, should you wish to travel further. At any rate, either will prove to any foreign authorities that you are indeed an American citizen. And that's what you need to do at the border crossing: prove that you are.

It is unfortunate that the days of oral declarations of citizenship when travelling between our two countries are over, but we gotta deal with the way things are today. And the best way to deal with that is just to get a US passport.
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Old 12-17-2023, 04:49 AM
 
Location: NC
9,358 posts, read 14,085,892 times
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For sure there are benefits to having a passport. My question here was based on having had to prove I was born in the USA just to get a Real ID type driver’s license. It’s just inconvenient having to dig out the paperwork again.

But maybe a few people who are born in the USA lose or give up their citizenship? I guess that could happen.
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Old 12-17-2023, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Elsewhere
88,509 posts, read 84,688,123 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv4horses View Post
For sure there are benefits to having a passport. My question here was based on having had to prove I was born in the USA just to get a Real ID type driver’s license. It’s just inconvenient having to dig out the paperwork again.

But maybe a few people who are born in the USA lose or give up their citizenship? I guess that could happen.
Your question in your OP was about crossing the Canadian border. You need a passport. No ifs, ands, or buts. You get to the border, they will ask for your passport, and if you don't have one, you won't cross the border. It's as simple as that. That's been the law since 2009.

What is inconvenient about having to "dig out paperwork". What do you need for a "Real ID"? (I don't have one, because I have a passport.) It's your birth certificate, right? How much digging do you have to do?
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