I'm an American citizen in Mexico and I want to fly to Canada. The only thing is that I only have my American Birth Certificate! I do not have any other ID.

Canada says that American Citizens can enter by land with a Birth Certificate. However I could not find out anything about entering by air with only a Birth Certificate.

  • 1
    Do you have any form of photographic ID? A driver's license, a military ID, etc.?
    – Joe Malt
    Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 18:19
  • 7
    I'm pretty sure that without a passport or at least some sort of photo ID, you will not be allowed to board any flight whatsoever in Mexico. I think your best bet is to get in touch with the nearest US consulate and start the process for getting a passport. Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 18:27
  • 1
    According to your question, you have no ID at all. A birth certificate is not identification. It may prove that Jose Martinez is a USA citizen permitted to enter Canada... but it doesn't prove that you are Jose Martinez.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


According to TIMATIC, the database used by airlines to decide whether a passenger's documents are sufficient, you can indeed use a birth certificate to prove your US citizenship when arriving by air, but as noted in a comment, you will probably have to identify yourself with a photo ID before being allowed to board the plane in Mexico. The TIMATIC text:

Passport Exemptions:
Nationals of the USA with a recommended proof of citizenship such as a:
- US birth certificate; or
- US certificate of citizenship; or
- US certificate of naturalization; or
- US Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
Nationals of USA with a NEXUS Card embarking in USA or Canada and entering Canada from the USA or US territories .
Nationals of USA with an emergency passport.
Document Validity:
Passports and other documents accepted for entry must be valid for the period of intended stay.
Warning: if departing from the USA (regardless of any destination passport exemptions), a valid passport and/or accepted departure document is required by the US immigration authorities.
Additional Information:
Holders of proof of citizenship issued by USA not holding a valid passport; will be granted entry upon arrival only after examination by a Canadian Border Services Officer if having satisfied the officer about their citizenship.

Given the uncertainty expressed in the last paragraph, I suspect that even if you had a photo ID such as a driver's license, the airline would not let you board.

  • 1
    Your last sentence is important - even though birth certificate etc. may be approved for entry, the airline may not be satisfied there is enough to prove citizenship and not allow the passenger to board the plane (and therefore not given a chance to even try it with the border services officer)
    – Midavalo
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 16:40
  • To enter Mexico a passport would be needed.
    – hecvd
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 13:45
  • @hecvd the question describes a US citizen who is already in Mexico and not in possession of a passport. There are several possible ways for that situation to arise, but without knowing how it arose, it's hard to say more about it. (Furthermore, it seems to be possible for a US citizen to enter Mexico without a passport if the US citizen enters by land and remains within 20 km of the border.)
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 14:09

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