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  1. #1
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Help: Confused about rules/Regulations about entering Canada by bike

    What would I need to do if I wanted to enter Canada for a two week period by bicycle?

    Is a driver's license good enough or would I need to get a birth certificate and/or passport?

    All I find is conflicting information on this. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Fat Guy in Bike Shorts! manual_overide's Avatar
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    easy answer: passport. a driver's license would probably work, but a passport pretty much ensures you won't have problems going over or coming back.

  3. #3
    Macro Geek
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    I am fairly certain that US citizens require only a piece of credible photo ID to cross into the Dominion of Canada. If you do not have a passport, a driver's license should do.

    About 30 years ago, I used as ID, when crossing back to Canada after trip to the USA, a faded, creased, virtually indecipherable paper health card. (Health cards in those days did not have photos.) The card had been in my wallet next to some postage stamps for months, and the stamps were permanently glued to my health card! Not a lot of the card was visible.

    Most likely, the customs agent recognized youthful folly, and let me pass. If I tried to use that card as ID today, I bet I would be arrested rather than welcomed!

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    Either a passport or a driver's license + birth certificate, I believe. At least that's what my friend used in march because he didn't have a passport.

  5. #5
    Hooked on Touring
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    I bike into Canada every year.
    It has gotten tougher of late - despite a treaty still in force declaring no need for passports.
    But now you must show "proof" of citizenship - basically a passport.
    Are you an American citizen? Do you already have a passport?
    If so, take it. Driver's license PLUS social security card will work
    But they might invite you inside for verification - - - an hour later - - -
    Also, color Xerox all you IDs and keep in a Ziploc bag in case they are lost/stolen.

  6. #6
    Senior Member toolboy's Avatar
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    Get the passport if at all possible. It's becoming harder and harder to go either way without out. I came back into Canada at Sarnia Ontario after a long tour. Be advised that the Blue Water bridge is closed to cyclists. The supervisor took pity on me that day and threw my bike and gear in the back of his truck and drove me to the border. Don't expect he would be doing that too often. Where in Canada are you planning to ride?

  7. #7
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    perhaps entering at Niagara Falls....

  8. #8
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    The question you really need to keep an eye on is what is required to get back in the States. It's the US that is piling on the requirements, for obvious reasons, and US citizens will be required to meet the higher entry hurdles with whatever piece of secure ID is eventually devised. I have never been asked for ID going into the states in 46 years, airports excluded, but I have only been once since 9/11, used to travel frequently to the states. As others have said, it's changing. The real tightening comes in '07.

    As a Canadian, let me be the first to welcome your travel to our country!!

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    When you get to the border, make sure you have:

    1) Passport and/or driver's licence (with picture ID) plus birth certificate ... preferably a passport.

    2) Proof of purchase for your bicycle and any other expensive items you might have with you (such as ipods, digital cameras, etc.) .. .this is a new one that they've started asking for in the past year.

    3) A destination ... most countries have started asking for this recently too. Be able to give the address to a friend's house, or the name of a particular hotel or something.


    If you've got all that, you should be able to enter the country without too much difficulty.

  10. #10
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolboy
    Get the passport if at all possible. It's becoming harder and harder to go either way without out. I came back into Canada at Sarnia Ontario after a long tour. Be advised that the Blue Water bridge is closed to cyclists. The supervisor took pity on me that day and threw my bike and gear in the back of his truck and drove me to the border. Don't expect he would be doing that too often. Where in Canada are you planning to ride?
    I hope you at least offered to buy him coffee or breakfast or lunch for his trouble! Supervisors like that are few and far between!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  11. #11
    Senior Member toolboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    I hope you at least offered to buy him coffee or breakfast or lunch for his trouble! Supervisors like that are few and far between!
    Indeed! Perhaps it was my piteous state ........ or the crying ........ in any case I was most appreciative. As an aside, he was also a very robust fellow, heaving my fully loaded steed into the back of the truck not only easily but carefully. Same thing happened on the Michigan ferry. I can barely lift my loaded bike over a curb! Gotta start working out eh?

  12. #12
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    I go to Canada about every other weekend and forgetting my passport would be reason enough for me to turn around and I am getting to know the border people on a first name basis. Going north isn't the issue, it's the return home.

  13. #13
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    You will have trouble if you bring a ***.

  14. #14
    Papa Wheelie Sigurdd50's Avatar
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    i toured southern Ontario in the summer of '74
    In addition to all that stuff, I took my DRAFT CARD
    they eyed me and my long hair and my scratchy bike and my 200 dollars and my intent to be in country for 2-3 weeks... and then let me pass
    I don't even remember the cross back (came on Ferry from Manitoulin Island.... sheesh, that's a lovely place!) Must've been Port Clinton?

    Generally, the Canadians are friendlier than the Yanks. ONce (1974), coming back in a car over New Hampshire or Vermont, they thought they smelt some dopers... (there were 3 of us long hairs). They took the car apart cause they thought they found a seed. Nothing... the contraband was concealed in a plastic baggie, buried between some record albums in a crate. We pulled over down the road and smoked a doob. Those were the days.

  15. #15
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    It used to be sufficient to carry just a drivers license, but now you better also carry a birth certificate or some proof of citizenship. As mentioned above, the problem is getting into the USA, not Canada. I don't know what is going to happen next year when passports or ID cards are going to be required. US citizens will get into Canada, then not be allowed to return home? Will we need to construct refugee camps for all the stranded Americans?

    Three years ago I forgot my passport and got into USA with a drivers licence, but not without grief. The agent wanted a second piece of photo ID but rejected everything I showed him. Finally he grabbed my wallet out of my hand a went through the contents. He found an expired AARP membership card, said that is the only one that counts, and let me in. Go figure!

    This was on a bicycle trip and we crossed by ferry from Wolfe Island (Kingston Ont) to Cape Vincent NY. Ferries are a great way to cross. We returned across the Thousand Islands bridge and they normally allow bikes on the sidewalk, but not this day because a code orange was declared. However the bridge authority carried us across in a truck and I understand they will always do that when the sidewalk is closed.

  16. #16
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Brown
    It used to be sufficient to carry just a drivers license, but now you better also carry a birth certificate or some proof of citizenship. As mentioned above, the problem is getting into the USA, not Canada. I don't know what is going to happen next year when passports or ID cards are going to be required. US citizens will get into Canada, then not be allowed to return home? Will we need to construct refugee camps for all the stranded Americans?

    Three years ago I forgot my passport and got into USA with a drivers licence, but not without grief. The agent wanted a second piece of photo ID but rejected everything I showed him. Finally he grabbed my wallet out of my hand a went through the contents. He found an expired AARP membership card, said that is the only one that counts, and let me in. Go figure!

    This was on a bicycle trip and we crossed by ferry from Wolfe Island (Kingston Ont) to Cape Vincent NY. Ferries are a great way to cross. We returned across the Thousand Islands bridge and they normally allow bikes on the sidewalk, but not this day because a code orange was declared. However the bridge authority carried us across in a truck and I understand they will always do that when the sidewalk is closed.
    Actually, Ken, having dealt with Border control for years as a trucker, it sounds like he kinda bent the rules to help you out! He just couldn't tell you that!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  17. #17
    Senior Member toolboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake
    perhaps entering at Niagara Falls....
    Great country around there though too much traffic for my tastes. Get yourself a detailed county roads map. The little roads are mostly all paved and though a bit convoluted, a much better way to go. I see from your tag that you probably already own a GPS. I used mine constantly in southern Ontario and the detail was great. I have a Magellan Meridian and the Mapsend software for Canada.

  18. #18
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    The criterion has always been "proof of citizenship" it just hasn't been rigorously enforced. I can remember crossing into Montana in the 1980's, showing my driver's license and being lectured by the border officer that "This means you are allowed to drive, it doesn't tell me your citizenship".
    She let me in anyway.

    In the 90's crossing into Montana again, I offered my passport but they asked for my driver's license and went in and checked it on the computer - I guess they didn't have anything else to do.

    Its getting tougher and tougher as opposed to Europe where the borders seem to be disappearing.

    Take your passport. Always.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    2) Proof of purchase for your bicycle....
    I couldn't meet this requirement, for sure.

  20. #20
    Chief Chef BearsPaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    When you get to the border, make sure you have:
    ...
    2) Proof of purchase for your bicycle and any other expensive items you might have with you (such as ipods, digital cameras, etc.) .. .this is a new one that they've started asking for in the past year.
    Are they really going to require a proof of purchase for the vehicle you ride into/out of the country? I've never been asked for a proof of purchase for my car, and I've never had them run the plates to make sure it was mine and not stolen or anything. This seems strange to me. I've never crossed the border by bicycle though.

    gpsblake:
    I've crossed the border dozens of times (by car) and a driver's license + birth certificate worked every time. If you don't have a passport already, it's not necessary to get one.

  21. #21
    cyclotourist
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    Here is the current information:

    Current Requirements for Entry Into Canada

    Visas are not required for U.S. citizens entering Canada from the U.S. You will, however, need:

    Proof of your U.S. citizenship such as your U.S. passport (For information on obtaining a U.S. passport, check with one of the regional passport agencies located throughout the U.S.) or certified copy of your birth certificate issued by the city, county or state in the U.S. where you were born. If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen and do not have a passport, you should travel with your naturalization certificate. A driver’s license, voter’s registration card or Social Security card is NOT valid proof of citizenship.
    Photo identification, such as a current, valid driver’s license
    You can get by without a passport for now if you don't have one. If you travel in the future you will need one.

    The travel initiative requirements will be rolled out in phases. The proposed implementation timeline is as follows:

    December 31, 2006 – Passport required for all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
    December 31, 2007 – Passport required for all land border crossings, as well as air and sea travel.
    http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/...onal_1170.html

  22. #22
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    The travel initiative requirements will be rolled out in phases. The proposed implementation timeline is as follows:

    December 31, 2006 – Passport required for all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda*
    December 31, 2007 – Passport required for all land border crossings, as well as air and sea travel*
    * Does not apply if you are a poor mexican willing to provide slave labor

  23. #23
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    When you get to the border, make sure you have:

    2) Proof of purchase for your bicycle and any other expensive items you might have with you (such as ipods, digital cameras, etc.) .. .this is a new one that they've started asking for in the past year.
    Whoa, how on earth does that work? I don't have receipts for any of that stuff just hanging around. Maybe somewhere in a file, but after 5 years, a lot of that has likely been tossed out. That doesn't even cover my wife's bike bought off ebay. I thought you just had to declare anything of value. I've not crossed the border yet, but intend to this summer on tour.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemp
    Whoa, how on earth does that work? I don't have receipts for any of that stuff just hanging around. Maybe somewhere in a file, but after 5 years, a lot of that has likely been tossed out. That doesn't even cover my wife's bike bought off ebay. I thought you just had to declare anything of value. I've not crossed the border yet, but intend to this summer on tour.

    Quote Originally Posted by lrzipris
    I couldn't meet this requirement, for sure.

    Show them the paperwork for the insurance on your bicycle. I think that would qualify as proof that it was purchased in your country of origin.

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BearsPaw
    Are they really going to require a proof of purchase for the vehicle you ride into/out of the country? I've never been asked for a proof of purchase for my car, and I've never had them run the plates to make sure it was mine and not stolen or anything. This seems strange to me. I've never crossed the border by bicycle though.

    gpsblake:
    I've crossed the border dozens of times (by car) and a driver's license + birth certificate worked every time. If you don't have a passport already, it's not necessary to get one.
    I've been talking with the BC randonneurs who go back and forth into the US on many of their rides. Up till late last summer, they could ride back and forth with driver's license and birth certificate without too much difficulty, but late last summer they've started pushing for a passport and making it difficult for the riders if they didn't have one (as in getting them to sit in a room for an hour to "process" the other stuff). They've also started asking for proof of purchase/ownership for the bicycles, and for other things they carry.

    I'd have to dig it up, but you can get a proof of ownership card or something like that here in Canada, or the insurance paperwork for your bicycle will also do.

    When I came across the border from the US into Canada last July, I did so on the bus at a crossing near Vancouver. I had my bicycle in a box with me on the bus, and I was asked if that were my bicycle (I think the helmet I was holding might have been a give-away), and if I could prove that it was mine. I couldn't! But I told them that the bicycle is a Canadian bicycle (it is - it's a Marinoni) and that I purchased it in Canada, and they reluctantly let the matter go. But apparently they've become more insistant about appropriate paperwork since then.

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