Planning a trip to Canada? Make sure you understand the current US passport requirement to Canada. Depending on how you plan to visit Canada, you may be able to use a passport book, passport card, or even a NEXUS Card.

The NEXUS card used to be the best-kept secret of frequent travelers to Canada. The card, which requires a background check and in-depth interviews with authorities from both the US and Canada to obtain, gives you “trusted traveler” status, plus your own special “express lane” at the border. With a NEXUS card, you could get through Customs much faster than with a US passport alone. Pretty sweet, right?

Unfortunately for NEXUS cardholders, the program is not the secret ticket to elite status that it once was. In fact, MarketWatch is reporting that the NEXUS lanes going into Vancouver are now experiencing the equivalent of bumper-to-bumper traffic, often moving more slowly than the regular lanes. In fact, one Canadian traveler told Marketwatch that ““In June, we were crossing at Peace Arch on our way to Seattle and the NEXUS line was much longer then the regular line. People were trying to sneak out of the Nexus line to get back into the normal lineup.”

Even more discouraging is the fact that some members of the program have exploited their “trusted traveler” status to sneak in undeclared stashes of alcohol and other goods, which will no doubt result in an extra dose of time-consuming scrutiny for those in the NEXUS lane.

David Gillen, the director of the University of British Columbia Centre for Transportation Studies, told MarketWatch that the program is basically a victim of its own popularity:

“Initially it was very successful because it speeded through people going over the border on a frequent basis. As more and more people have joined the system, the capacity has not increased to keep up with the number of members or the number of trips that they’re making.”

A NEXUS card is all you need for proof of citizenship when you cross the US/Canadian border by land or by sea. For air travel, you do need a passport, but having a NEXUS card will generally get you through the airport more quickly.

US Passport Requirement to Canada

Nowadays, it’s best to carry a valid passport any time you leave the country. Travel to Canada almost always requires a valid passport. Remember that you can also carry a passport card for land travel to Canada. If you need a US passport, be sure to apply early. Applications take about six weeks to process, although you can expedite them by paying an extra $60 expedite fee. This will cut the processing time down to about three weeks. For faster, elite-level service, a private passport expediter like RushMyPassport is the easiest way to go.  We personally deliver your US passport application to the Department of State for super-fast processing, often in as little as 24 hours. Plus, there’s no appointment necessary, and no need to travel to a passport agency office.

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