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Crossing the U.S. / Canadian Border

Documentation required when crossing the United States / Canadian border

If you are crossing the border by land or sea, including on Amtrak trains and Thruway services, you must have one secure Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative compliant document that proves both citizenship and identity.

  • For United States citizens 16 and over, this document must be one of the following: passport, passport card, trusted traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST), enhanced driver’s license, Merchant Mariner’s Document, U.S. military ID with military orders or form I-872 (American Indian Card).
  • For Canadian citizens, this document must be one of the following: passport, trusted traveler card or enhanced driver’s license.
  • For citizens of other countries, a passport and, in many cases, a visa are required. A passenger age 15 or younger who does not have one of the above documents may present a copy of his or her birth certificate instead.

For further information and to determine what is required for your particular situation (including permanent residents and others not mentioned above), contact the appropriate U.S. or Canadian government agencies prior to travel.

Passengers under age 18 not traveling with both parents require a letter from any parent not present giving permission to cross the border. If one parent is deceased, bringing a copy of the death certificate will minimize questioning and delay at the border. Children under 18 may not cross the U.S./Canadian border unaccompanied. Exception: A child 16 or 17 may cross the border unaccompanied if he or she is returning to the country of which he or she is a citizen. Example: A 17 year old child who is a citizen of Canada may return to Montreal unaccompanied.

Amtrak and VIA® Rail Canada will require your date of birth, your country of citizenship, and your identification information. This will be entered into your reservation record and provided to border authorities. If you do not provide this information, we are unable to accept payment or issue your ticket.

Admission into either country is solely at the discretion of border authorities, and possession of required documentation and the provision of required information in no way guarantees entry. Neither Amtrak nor VIA Rail Canada nor any other carrier is in any way liable if you are denied entry or removed from the train or bus.

For more information about crossing the border, contact your local Customs or Immigration Office prior to boarding the train or visit: (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) (Canada Revenue Agency – Canada Customs) (Citizenship and Immigration Canada)

If you have additional questions regarding crossing the border on Amtrak, please call us and speak with a Rail Vacation Specialist.


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