I am a US citizen. I traveled from the US to Canada by air, showing my US passport to enter Canada without a visa. I returned to the US by land (train), and showed my Global Entry card at the border to enter the US, instead of my passport. I'm wondering whether that was a bad idea.

I have an impression that Canada gets information from the US government about people entering the US, in order to determine when they exit Canada. I am wondering whether they will have been able to link up my passport and Global Entry card, to determine that I really did exit. Otherwise, the Canadian authorities might think that I never left and am overstaying.

Is this a possible issue, or are their systems smart enough to handle it correctly?

If it is an issue, what should I do about it?

(One could encounter similar issues with a passport card, enhanced driver's license, or any of several other possible travel documents. Are these all linked in the appropriate databases?)

There's a similar question about the UK: Different documents shown when entering and exiting the UK - could this lead to immigration assuming I've overstayed?

  • 3
    US and Canada have been exploring various pilot programs to allow land border entries into one country to serve as notice of exiting the other country -- for non-citizens only. Given the privileged position Americans and Canadians have in each other's countries, I wouldn't worry about it. For example, Canadians cannot accrue unlawful presence in the US unless there is a finding by an immigration judge or similar.
    – phoog
    Aug 2, 2016 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


This is not an issue because there is no system yet. The current state of exit reporting in Canada is described here. While Canada does get reports of third-country nationals exiting via the land border, Canada and the US do not yet exchange information about their own citizens nor does Canada (officially) collect outbound air records. The only way for them to find an American has overstayed is to catch them in the country; not knowing when they went home is normal.

Note that the Canadian legislation to allow them to exchange citizen information at the land border and collect airline outbound passenger manifests is Bill C-21, which is currently making its way through parliament. I assume that after this passes we'll eventually find out how they plan to reconcile the problem of the variety of WHTI documents Canadians and Americans can use for border crossings. For the moment, however, neither Canada nor the US has the information to positively determine when a citizen of the other country has overstayed.

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