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mocha-ice
10-12-2010, 05:38 PM
I was wondering if someone could help settle a little dilema. I will taking a group of teens (12-17 years old, all Canadian citizens) along with two other adults to the US for a weekend next year. We will be taking a bus down the whole way.

The debate comes over what identification the kids will need. One of the other adults is conviced that they all need passports no matter what.

However, I believe that being minors, they are only required to have an official government issued birth certificate. I found this on the Government of Canada's website: (regarding land travel)
Canadian citizens aged 15 years or under are only required to present proof of Canadian citizenship, such as an original or a photocopy of a birth certificate, or an original citizenship card, when entering the United States by land or water. Canadian citizens 18 years of age or under who are travelling with a school or other organized group, under adult supervision with parental/guardian consent, may also present proof of Canadian citizenship alone.
http://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/whti-ivho/child-enfant-eng.html

Now I called up the hotline (1800-O-CANADA) and the lady basically read me the same information.

Now I realize it's best for the kids to have passports now, since they are getting to be almost the only means to get into the USA, but the trip is already quite expensive and I don't want to force the parents to pay the extra 60-70$ for a passport if it's not completely necessary.

So does anyone have any direct experience with taking minors across the Canada-USA border? Thanks

Castlerock
10-12-2010, 06:12 PM
I bring my kids over quite often. Shopping is the best :)

I used to bring their birth certificates and actually got hassled more coming back into Canada then going into the US, while using them.

I don't know if I would trust my kids with their original birth certificate. It seems easier to get a new passport than a new birth certificate if it gets lost.

So I just got passports and it is less hassle.

barbk
10-12-2010, 07:35 PM
I have never seen COPIES of birth certificates accepted -- if it doesn't have a raised seal, the ICE folks do not like it. (A certified copy does have a raised seal.)

Were you told about getting a notarized statement signed by both parents consenting to their child's traveling with you across a border? They're supposed to check for this in compliance with the Hague convention against child abduction, though I was never asked. I have heard of kids who have been denied transport for lack of this, though. (Doesn't matter if you have a passport or not.)

PDilemma
10-12-2010, 07:42 PM
I have never seen COPIES of birth certificates accepted -- if it doesn't have a raised seal, the ICE folks do not like it. (A certified copy does have a raised seal.)

Were you told about getting a notarized statement signed by both parents consenting to their child's traveling with you across a border? They're supposed to check for this in compliance with the Hague convention against child abduction, though I was never asked. I have heard of kids who have been denied transport for lack of this, though. (Doesn't matter if you have a passport or not.)

I would check on the parental consent. A friend of mine was detained by U.S. authorities at the Canadian border coming back into the U.S. with her adopted Chinese daughter. She had a passport for her but not a birth certificate or adoption papers and was basically accused of possibly having kidnapped her own daughter. It was a two hour ordeal.

mocha-ice
10-12-2010, 07:59 PM
Yes, we know we need to get parental consent forms/notarized letters. We can't do that until 30 days before we leave, so it's not an issue right now. But thanks anyhow.

I really just wanted to know about the passport vs. birth certificate issue. Some of our kids come from lower income families and/or single parent households and the cost of a passport for them can be quite a lot. Our kids are all responsible, and I would trust them to keep a hold on their identification, if they don't feel comfortable keeping them, the adults will keep them.

Thanks everyone for your responses. I guess I will have to keep looking into the issue.

Erica Lee
10-12-2010, 08:30 PM
I worked at a high school near the US/Canada border and we had a travelling choir. I can confirm that we took minors into the US without passports, though we did state that we preferred the kids to bring their passports if they had one (most of them already did). They're generally really good with you at the border if it's clear you're on a school organized trip. They'll have a border officer hop on board the bus and ask the kids some questions but that's about it. Your mileage may vary, but we also checked "officially" about the passport thing and came to the conclusion that it wasn't necessary.

Garden Kitty
10-12-2010, 08:46 PM
This is what I found on the internet about the issue - check under special groups (http://www.getyouhome.gov/html/lang_can/index.html)

But they have a contact us link, so you may want to confirm


I got to that page from links on the US State Dept site. (http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1261.html)