Can my cancelled enhanced drivers license (cancelled because my name was wrong on it), be used to enter Canada and re-enter the United States, if my corrected license dose not arrive in time of my planed trip? I submitted a request for expedited processing, but was told that there was no guarantee. (I am traveling thru Canada to get to Michigan next Friday April 21, and returning the reverse route on Sunday April 23, so I will need the document by Thursday April 20). I have the license with the error, and my temporary license with my correct name on it, along with the documents I presented to get the license. I do not seem to be able to find any answers to this question anywhere. I tried New York State D M V, but they could not give me a definite answer. I tried to call the U S and Canadian Border Patrols,information lines, but could not get through to either - (do not know if I even got the right numbers). Any information will be greatly welcome.

  • I think you'll be okay. Canadian requirements for US citizens are actually laxer than the stated US requirements, but the stated US requirements are actually overstated: if you can prove you are a US citizen, CBP must recognize your right to enter the country. They are supposed to give you a lecture about needing proper documentation, but since you're already awaiting that the lecture will probably be minimal.
    – phoog
    Apr 14, 2017 at 19:19
  • I'd be concerned about presenting a cancelled ID, as they may not have any indication why it was cancelled, and so they might suspect it of being stolen or otherwise misused, which could significantly delay your trip while you explain. Personally, I wouldn't use it. I suspect you wouldn't be stranded or anything, but you could be held up waiting for a while. Apr 15, 2017 at 3:11
  • @ZachLipton since he has the temporary corrected license and all the supporting documentation no reasonable person would conclude that the cancelledlicense was stolen.
    – phoog
    Apr 15, 2017 at 3:16
  • What I'm confused about is the fact of their being a case of two drivers licences. In many places, holding two licences, even if one is invalid, can constitute as a offence criminally, or under a traffic safety act. Apr 16, 2017 at 23:44

1 Answer 1


Entry into Canada

The Canadian government's current page on the matter is somewhat sloppy. Among other things, it merely says that you "must carry acceptable identification." Nowhere does it say explicitly what documents are required or acceptable, however. It says "Visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website to learn more about what travel documents are required." The link in that sentence points to the "find out if you need a visa" page, however, which only informs a US citizen that a visa is not necessary.

An "archived" page is much more explicit, but may no longer reflect current government policy. It says

If you are a United States citizen (U.S.), you do not need a passport to enter Canada; however, you should carry proof of your citizenship such as a birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization or a Certificate of Indian Status, as well as a photo ID.

You should be prepared for the possibility that the Canada Border Services Agency won't let you in, but as far as I'm aware you should be okay with any proof of identity and US citizenship.

Entry into the United States

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) specifies that US citizens must use certain documents when entering the US. For land border crossings, the list includes enhanced driver's licenses.

However, this requirement conflicts with the fundamental right that US citizens have to enter the United States. Because of that right, any US citizen who turns up at the border with any evidence of identity and citizenship must be admitted. Even if CBP finds that the evidence offered fails to prove citizenship, a person claiming US citizenship has a right to a hearing before an immigration judge.

Because of the WHTI, however, a person showing up with inadequate documentation will likely have to spend some time in secondary inspection as the claim to US citizenship is investigated. Such a person will probably also receive a lecture about the necessity of having WHTI-compliant documents. In your case, however, you're obviously trying to get one, so the lecture would likely be kept to a minimum.

Assuming the "documents you presented to get the license" include your birth certificate or other proof of citizenship, you should be fine.

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