Can I just purchase a temporary passport to go shopping in the States? I don't go over that often so to spend $160 on a permanent passport is not worth it. I am a Canadian citizen would like go to Buffalo, NY to shop.

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    A temporary passport is not an option. You can only get them when outside of Canada and after having applied for and paid for a regular passport. See canada.ca/en/news/archive/2005/11/…. There is an additional fee for the temporary passport, making it a more expensive option, not less. See laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2012-253/….
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 18:36
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    $160 boils down to $16/year. Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 10:24
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    What research did you do on temporary passports before asking here? What did you find out?
    – HenricF
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 10:47
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    @SpehroPefhany : Given the OP is only planning to use this document to travel Canada => USA a) they don't need six months extra validity; b) they aren't going to run out of pages for his visa. Also, you can renew a Canadian adult passport that has been expired for less than a year (so with careful timing of infrequent visits, you only require a new passport roughly every 11 years). Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 16:24
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    @Harper As far as I can tell California's attempt to pass an EDL law was vetoed in 2015. Has there been a new law passed since then? According to Wikipedia, US EDLs are available only in the states of Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington, which is less than half of the Canadian border states, even if you exclude Pennsylvania and Ohio, whose borders with Canada are in Lake Erie.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 16:36

5 Answers 5


Accordin to the Government of Canada,

The Canadian temporary passport is an eight-page, machine-readable passport. It is:

  • issued by a Canadian mission
  • used for short-term situations
  • meant for urgent, proven travel situations or residency requirements
  • based on the decision of the Government of Canada passport/consular officer

This is evidently not appropriate for your application.

However, if you are a resident of Ontario (as I assume because you want to drive to Buffalo, NY), you can obtain an Ontario enhanced driver license at a cost of $40, which is a valid travel document to visit the United States across a land or sea border. (It is not valid for air travel.)


You've misunderstood what a temporary passport is. It's not a short term "passport-lite" that you can get more cheaply and easily than a regular passport. Rather, it's an emergency replacement that you can get from a Canadian embassy abroad when your main passport has been lost, stolen or damaged, to complete your trip and get you back home.


If you are a Canadian citizen and you will be driving from Canada to the USA, then according to the US CBP, you do not need a passport to enter the USA.

Instead of a passport, CBP will also accept:

Enhanced Driver's License/Enhanced Identification Card, NEXUS, FAST/EXPRES and SENTRI enrollment cards.

Note though that if you are arriving by air, you will need a passport (or a NEXUS card when departing from a designated Canadian airport).

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    Sentri is for Mexico. FAST/Expres is for truck drivers (people bringing commercial quantities of goods over). Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 22:28
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    All the SENTRI enrollment centers are in the United States near the Mexican border, so that's not a practical option for the OP. Neither is an Enhanced Driver's license, as they live in Alberta. I do believe it's possible to get a NEXUS card without a passport, though at $50 for 5 years plus a trip to an enrollment center vs $160 for a 10-year passport that can be used worldwide, it's not necessarily the best option. Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 22:58
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    @ZachLipton - again - I didn't make this up - it's a quote directly from the CBP web site which I included in its entirety in the hope that this information would be useful to others than just the OP of this particular question. Only the first part of the quote may well be relevant and useful to the OP of this question. Maybe there are some Canadians out there who do have SENTRI cards (for whatever reason) - the CBP site says that they can use these cards to enter the USA and does not specify that they may only do so when leaving Mexico.
    – brhans
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 23:11
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    @brhans : I don't think people are suggesting that the information is false - just that it is misleading/unhelpful given the constraints of the OP. If you added a paragraph like "Of those Enhanced DL is not available for Alberta residents, FAST is for commercial truck drivers, and SENTRI is basically for the American/Mexico border. That leaves NEXUS as an option." I think everyone would be much happier. Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 9:09
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    Folks.... Answerer fairly quoted CBP's website. I was more curious so I looked up each of the mechanisms. I posted the comments merely to share the bounty. Simply to benefit readers or make it easy for answerer to add the data if interested. For my part, I aim to imply no criticism nor obligation. I'm sorry if my helpful info made anyone think less of the answer! #benice #agf Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 16:46

Keep in mind as well that while the price is $160, that is a 10-year passport that you can travel to nearly every country in the world on. You used to be able to travel to the US from Canada using your drivers license, however this is no longer the case. The enhanced drivers license is only available in select provinces and it only allows entry via land or sea, and you cannot use this while travelling by air. A Canadian passport is a invaluable piece of ID and you can use it in Canada for any situation in which you need more than one piece of government issued photo ID. This is a situation that happens more often than you would think and the time it saves having a second piece of id when you really need it is almost worth the cost alone. Just my opinion.


Consider NEXUS. $50 for 5 years and only lets you go between Canada and the US. You must visit an enrollment center in person for an interview.

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