News Canada

Canada/US border not totally impassable without passport

By Ada Slivinski, 24 Hours Vancouver



It’s been three-and-a-half years since the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative made passports or NEXUS cards mandatory for those crossing the Canada-U.S. border by land or sea — yet it’s still possible to get across without one.

“U.S. and Canadian citizens who lack WHTI-compliant documents but are otherwise admissible are not necessarily denied entry into the United States today but may be delayed as CBP officers attempt to verify citizenship and identity, ” said a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Spokesperson in an email.

“Travel document compliance rates continue to remain high, with a 97% national compliance rate at land ports of entry and 99% in air,” said the same spokesperson.

Roughly 300,000 people cross the Canada-U.S. border per day. Even if only 1% didn’t have proper documentation, that’s still 3,000 people per day.

The Canada Border Services Agency recommends that travellers carry a passport, however;

“Admissibility of all travelers seeking to enter Canada is considered on a case-by-case basis based on the specific facts presented by the applicant at the time of entry,” said CBSA spokeswoman Esme Bailey in an email.

“Travellers may face delays or may not be allowed to board the aircraft or other mode of transportation if they present other documents,” she said.

Bailey said the CBSA does not track information about how many people are permitted to enter Canada from the U.S. without proper documentation.

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