I'm a US citizen with Canadian permanent resident card. My US passport is being renewed. Can I cross into the US with copies of both my passport and the passport renewal in my possession?

  • 2
    By air or by land? Aug 22, 2017 at 11:19
  • Whether or not you have a Canadian permanent resident card is irrelevant to US border officials. All they want to know and care to know is that you are a US citizen. Aug 22, 2017 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


Yes you can. In actual fact it is possible to enter the USA with no ID whatsoever particularly if you are coming by land (airlines and ships will turn you away without ID).

However be ready to be detained while they thoroughly confirm you are a US citizen. See Does a verified US citizen need a police & medical report to return from Ghana?

Once confirmed though, USA immigration law gives all citizens the right to enter.

The Fifth Circuit in William Worthy, Jr. v. US, 328 F.2d 386 (5th Cir. 1964):

We think it is inherent in the concept of citizenship that the citizen, when absent from the country to which he owes allegiance, has a right to return, again to set foot on its soil.

See the real life response from this woman who lost her passport in Mexico. Vehicle customs, lost passport

  • You know, I've heard the statement "if you're a US citizen they have to let you in, even without a passport" many times now, but I've never actually read the story of anyone who has successfully done so, and the skeptical side of my brain keeps wondering whether this is an urban legend. Are there any first-hand accounts of entering the US without a passport out there on the web? Aug 22, 2017 at 13:46
  • @MichaelSeifert Yes there are including on this very website. See the answer from this woman who lost her passport in Mexico. travel.stackexchange.com/questions/94391/… Aug 22, 2017 at 13:53
  • @MichaelSeifert Doesn't matter how common it is, the simple fact is that if you make it to the border and claim to be a US citizen, they have to investigate it, and if you are a citizen, they have to let you in, full stop
    – Crazydre
    Aug 22, 2017 at 14:08
  • @MichaelSeifert I can't comment on Canada, but living in Tijuana, Mexico, I know (first hand) many US citizens who travel down here for a weekend and then back without a passport (ie they don't even have one). Having a US driver license or birth certificate or other form of ID is enough to be allowed back over the border into the US. Happens all the time down here. It doesn't mean they don't get additional questions or a slower crossing, but I haven't heard of any being denied reentry into the US.
    – Midavalo
    Aug 22, 2017 at 14:20

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