US to Canada Travel Information
US to Canada Border Crossing Requirements
Border Crossing Requirements
Know before you go! If you're traveling from the Pacific Northwest into Canada, having the right documentation is vital. These requirements are specific to United States residents visiting Canada, taken from the U.S. Department of State Travel website. Information for other international visitors is available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
Though this information is intended to be helpful to you as you plan your travel to Canada, requirements may be subject to change and it's advisable to double-check with the Department of Homeland Security before you leave home.
Anyone entering or re-entering the United States by air must have a passport or a NEXUS card, so if you're planning to fly out of Seattle or Bellingham to Vancouver, B.C., make sure you've got your passport in hand!
By Land and Sea
Effective June 1, 2009, anyone entering or re-entering the U.S. by land and sea must show one of the following documents:
- U.S. Passport
- The Passport Card, valid for land and see travel between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region, and Bermuda.
- WHTI-Compliant Travel Documents for U.S. Citizen travel via land and sea:
• Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)
• State-Issued Enhanced Driver's License
• U.S. Military Identification with Military Travel Orders
• U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling in conjunction
with official maritime business
• Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card
• Form I-872 American Indian Card
- Requirements for Children: Children under age 16 will be able to continue crossing land and sea borders using only a U.S. birth certificate (or other form of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate). The original birth certificate or a copy may be used.
Traveling from Western Washington into Canada
To travel from Western Washington into British Columbia, Canada, four border crossings are available:
Open 24 hours a day, this crossing on Interstate-5 is the main route for passenger cars traveling from Western Washington into Canada. R.V.'s can cross the border here, but commercial trucks must use the Truck Crossing.
Also open 24 hours a day, the Truck Crossing can sometimes be a good choice for those who want to avoid long waits, since it also accommodates passenger cars. Take Exit 275 from Interstate 5 to access this crossing.
Open 8 a.m. to midnight, this crossing can be accessed via Exit 256 from Interstate 5 in Bellingham. From here, take the Guide Meridian/WA-539 all the way to the border.
To get to the Sumas/Abbotsford Border Crossing, take Exit 256 from Interstate 5 in Bellingham, and drive north on the Guide Meridian/WA-539 for 12.6 miles. Turn right on W. Badger Road/WA-546 toward Sumas and the crossing. This crossing is open 24 hours a day.
Use Public Transportation Whenever Possible
When traveling to Vancouver, B.C., travelers can save themselves a lot of time and hassle by utilizing public transportation options.
Train Travel into Canada
Though some will want to drive through Bellingham into British Columbia, potentially long border waits make it worthwhile to consider travel by train. Amtrak has added a second train from Seattle to Vancouver, making travel into Canada even more convenient.
Here are sample travel times and ticket prices for Seattle and Bellingham (subject to change):
Seattle to Vancouver: $55.00 USD (for trains; bus tickets also available starting at $35.00)
Leave Seattle: 7:40 a.m. Arrive Vancouver: 11:40 a.m.
Leave Seattle: 6:50 p.m. Arrive Vancouver: 10:50 p.m.
Bellingham to Vancouver: $21.00 USD (trains only)
Leave Bellingham: 9:49 a.m. Arrive Vancouver: 11:40 a.m.
Leave Bellingham: 8:58 p.m. Arrive Vancouver: 10:50 p.m.
See Amtrak.com for more details and to order tickets. Also, save yourself time and hassle by double-checking border requirements at our Border Crossing Information page.
Air Travel into Canada
Depending on how far you're traveling, flying is another viable option to avoid waits at the border, and once you land, a ride on the Canada Line Skytrain (~$4) makes it easy to get from the Vancouver International Airport to Downtown Vancouver.
Keep in mind that you must have your passport or NEXUS pass to travel via air. Check our Border Crossing Information page for more information.
Transportation within Canada
Much planning has gone into transportation to and from the the borders, ensuring travel is efficient, safe, and environmentally sustainable.
Though the border is not far, plan your trip as if you're traveling to a new faraway destination. Careful planning and research before you leave will help ensure that you get to enjoy all the hustle and excitement of Vancouver without feeling overwhelmed.
Check the Vancouver Website for Detailed Travel Information
Since information can always change, the best way to get the most up-to-date transportation information is to visit Vancouver2010.
View US-CA Border Crossings in a larger map