Without a doubt, Niagara Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world. The sheer amount of water surging around you is simply sublime. In fact, when Austrian composer Gustave Mahler first encountered the falls, he is said to have exclaimed, “At last, fortissimo!”
Over 28 million tourists visit the falls every year. If you’d like to be one of them, first make sure you have the travel documents you need for your desired itinerary. Do you need a passport to go to Niagara Falls? The Niagara River straddles the Canadian border, so the answer depends on which side of the attraction you’ll be touring. The American Falls and Bridal Veils Falls are both on the US side of the border. However, their bigger brother Horseshoe Falls is on the Canadian side. There are plenty of waterfall-related activities and vantage points on both sides of the border, but the view from the Canadian side is generally considered to be the most impressive.
Obviously, if you’re going to stay in New York, you won’t need a passport. However, if you want the full Niagara Falls experience, you’ll need to cross the border into Ontario. In that case, you may need a passport. Here’s what Niagara Falls Live has to say about the matter:
U.S. CITIZENS RETURNING TO THE U.S. AFTER VISITING NIAGARA FALLS CANADA ARE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE A PASSPORT, PASSPORT CARD OR ENHANCED DRIVERS LICENSE AT THE IMMIGRATION CHECKPOINT. If you are a U.S. citizen living in the U.S. and cross the border to Canada and attempt to re-enter the U.S. you will need one of the above listed forms of identification.
Until June of 2009, this wasn’t the case, and you can see from the emphatic combination of all-caps and red font that many travelers still show up unprepared. Don’t be one of them- get a passport, a passport card or another acceptable form of ID. Trusted traveler cards like NEXUS, FAST and SENTRI cards can also be used to cross, though they are much less common and more of a hassle to acquire. Please note, if you are flying from the US to Canada, you’ll need a passport book, not a passport card and not one of the alternate IDs. See Do You Need a Passport to Go to Canada? for more information. (more…)