Do I Need a Passport to Visit Canada or Mexico?

Traveling out of the United States typically requires a passport or other type of documentation. However, many people traveling in North America wonder, do I need a passport to visit Canada or Mexico? Sometimes, travel to neighboring countries does not require as much documentation as when traveling to further destinations.

Travel to Canada from the U.S.

Traveling to Canada by ground requires visitors to go through the Canadian border. The border is controlled by Canada Border Services Agency. Therefore, Canadian laws and guidelines for entry apply. Generally, if you are a U.S. citizen, you may enter Canada with a passport. It is important to note that you must provide adequate documentation to re-enter the U.S.

Entering Mexico from the U.S.

A passport is usually sufficient to enter Mexico from the U.S. You must carry the necessary documentation with you that will permit you to re-enter the U.S., if you intend to do so. Those who regularly travel between the U.S. and Mexico for business or other reasons may obtain a Border Crossing Card (BCC). This provides a simplified method of travel between countries.

Declarations and Permissible Items

When crossing the border between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico, you must follow the rules. It may be illegal to carry firearms or ammunition into another country. You must declare items that are permitted. The border officials may check your bags to look for any illegal items. If any such items are found, they will be confiscated, and in some cases, you could be fined or prosecuted. Check with the border officials for a current list of permissible items.

Border Crossing Requirements May Change

The requirements for documentation when crossing the border to Canada or Mexico may change from time to time. For this reason, it is essential to find out the most current information before planning your trip. If you try to cross the border without adequate documentation, you could be denied entry. It is also important to be prepared for re-entry into the United States.

Immigrants Entering and Leaving the United States

Immigrants must always carry their travel authorization documentation with them when they enter another country. If the immigrant has legal authorization to live in the United States, the visa will reflect that information. Failing to provide a visa at the border could result in a delay, or in refusal of entry. Travel for immigrants can be complicated. You can get answers to your questions with help from the knowledgeable immigration attorneys at Udall Shumway PLC.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Do I Need a Passport, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.