I need to travel from Ontario to Buffalo to have a document notarized, but I do not have a current passport. I am a Canadian citizen with parents from Norway and the UK. What other documents can I use to cross the border?

  • 4
    What is your nationality?
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 14:49
  • 1
    I am a Canadian citizen
    – user73548
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 14:52
  • I am of Norwegian and England parents born in Canada
    – user73548
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 15:28
  • 5
    Your possible Norwegian and British citizenship are not going to make it easier to get into the US than your definite Canadian citizenship, since you'll be able to get a Canadian passport or Ontario enhanced driver's license more quickly than a Norwegian or UK passport. But I'm afraid that both answers are correct: your best bet is to get a Canadian passport or Ontario enhanced driver's license. You might also consider getting your document notarized at a US consulate in Canada; see ca.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/….
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 15:56
  • 6
    There is at least one notary in Toronto who claims to be registered with the US consulate. This is not a recommendation, I have no additional information one way or the other. Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 16:28

3 Answers 3


By Land and Sea (including ferries) - Canadian citizens traveling to the U.S. by land or sea are required to present one of the travel documents listed below, and may generally visit the U.S. for up to six months. CBP will accept: Canadian passport, Enhanced Driver's License/Enhanced Identification Card, NEXUS, FAST/EXPRES and SENTRI enrollment cards.


  • What is a nexus card
    – user73548
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 14:22
  • @user73548 cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/nexus/faq-eng.html - NEXUS is a bi-national, Canada-United States program for pre-approved, low-risk travellers entering Canada or the United States (U.S.) at designated air, land and marine ports of entry. The program enables its members to enter either country more quickly and easily by using automated self-serve kiosks in the air mode of travel, dedicated lanes in the land mode of travel, and by calling Telephone Reporting Centres (TRCs) prior to arrival in the marine mode of travel.
    – BritishSam
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 8:37

Presuming you are an Ontario resident and possess a valid driver's license there, short of having a passport, the only option is an enhanced driver's license (http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/FormDetail?OpenForm&ACT=RDR&TAB=PROFILE&SRCH=&ENV=WWE&TIT=023-05009E&NO=023-05009E).

Other options exist (e.g. the NEXUS card) but you can't get NEXUS without having a passport, and are required to maintain a valid passport.

The best option might be to get a passport, but if you need it quickly (less than a couple of weeks or so), the rush fees are quite high.

  • ?? There's no requirement to have a passport to get a NEXUS card. This is the reason GE machines in US preclearance accept the card alone, and why they dropped the price to $50 (from $80, I think) post-WHTI; it is supposed to be a cheaper-than-a-passport alternative for Canadians to cross the border (like the $30 passport card for Americans).
    – user38879
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 16:51
  • @Dennis There absolutely is a requirement to have a passport to get a NEXUS card. The application process requires that you register your passport number and expiry, and you need to update your passport information whenever you renew. You certainly don't need to use your passport for land and water crossings (there is some debate about air crossings), but you do need to possess one. Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 17:42
  • @JimMacKenzie: From reading the site linked by Dennis, it appears that you only have to "provide a photocopy of an acceptable proof of your Canadian or U.S. citizenship and/or permanent resident status and admissibility to Canada". In both the US and Canada, the list of documents that prove US/Canadian citizenship include "a birth certificate and photo ID"; and the application form allows you to provide information about a "citizenship document" rather than a passport. Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 18:01
  • That said, the NEXUS application process takes some time (about four weeks of processing) and requires an interview after that, so if the travel is urgent, it wouldn't be the best option. Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 18:08
  • @JimMacKenzie, Look at the document requirements for an application at the link I provided; you need to prove citizenship but many documents are acceptable for that. Yes, you need to register and update your passport data if you have one, just like you need to register and update visa or work permit or PR information if you have that, but you don't need to have any of that to apply for and maintain the card. I don't know anyone who actually applied without a passport but I do know someone who didn't renew their passport and still travels with (and renewed) the NEXUS card.
    – user38879
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 18:11

You said current passport, does that mean you have an expired one? If so, you can try to cross with it. The American border agents can accept it at their discretion. Unless something's changed since June 2016.

My brother and I were going on a trip to the Air Force museum in Dayton Ohio and the night before he realized his passport was expired. Having read the "at their discretion" part and already having the vacation time booked, we decided it was worth a shot. At the border we handed over our documents and answered the agent's questions. At the end he asked my brother "you know this passport's expired, right?" He explained the situation and the agent let us proceed.

  • Yes, can confirm this does happen to low-risk Canadian citizens with recently expired passports ( and Norwegian-origin foreigners seem to be in favor these days ) so OP could give it a go, with the understanding they could be turned around. Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 4:07
  • My passport expired 4 years ago and I have also gotten married, so there is. A name change as well.
    – user73548
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 14:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .