New Cross Border Regulations for Entering Canada or the USA

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Vacation or Staycation?

Travelling within North America has become more difficult for some people. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a US law that requires that everyone must show proof of identity and proof of citizenship when entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the countries of the Caribbean by land or sea. In North American travel, this means that US and Canadian citizens, must present a valid passport or other approved secure document when entering the US or Canada.

As of June 1, 2009 Canadians and US citizens will require a valid passport, a Nexus card, a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card or an enhanced driver's licence/enhanced identification card to enter the USA or Canada by land or water. These documentations have been required for air travel since June 23, 2007.(Passport Canada)

While presenting a valid passport for land travel is a new idea to many Canadians and American citizens, many immigrants to both countries have been presenting these documentations to customs officials for as long as they can remember. This requirement therefore is not a deterrence for them to travel between countries. The new regulation for land travel will delay travel time for many citizens of both countries as they clamour to obtain a valid passport in the shortest time. This will impact cross-border travel because some people will choose not to make a trip abroad because of they may see getting a passport as a hassle.

Impact of WHTI on Canadian Tourism: According to the Industry Canada website, the WHTI will result in an estimated cumulative loss of 14.1 million inbound trips from the United States between 2005 and 2010. This represents a shortfall in Canadian tourism receipts of nearly $3.6 billion. In February 2009, overnight trips from the USA fell 7%. Plane and automobile trips fell by 8.8% and 4.5% respectively. Trips by other modes experienced the most significant drop of 19.3%. (Canadian Tourism Commission)

Impact of WHTI on US Tourism: Canadian travel to the U.S. is also expected to be significantly affected by the WHTI. The Industry Canada analysis suggests that nearly 7.4 million trips to the U.S. will not occur between 2005 and 2010 because of the WHTI. In February 2009, overall outbound trips by Canadians decreased by 4.1% over the same month last year.(Canadian Tourism Commission).

Many families are planning to take a staycation because they are struggling financially now coupled with more border regulations, this is bound to further decrease the number of people who will travel between the US and Canada for summer 2009.

According to Wikepedia a staycation (or stay-cation, or stacation) is a term for a period of time in which an individual or family stays at home and relaxes at home or takes day trips from their home to area attractions. Staycations have achieved high popularity in current hard economic times in which unemployment levels and high gas prices. Some staycation ideas include, backyard pool, visits to local parks and museums and local festivals.

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Comments 15 comments

SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 7 years ago from North America

Dynamic and on top of current events! Great hub Dynamic - I just saw the new law posted on Yahoo and you've added statistics to boot - nice job! Thank you. I had no idea of the figures for inter-country travel. It's a far cry from what was said in the book "Between Friends", given by Canada to the U.S. for their 200th anniversary in 1976! In the Foreword: "Our International Boundary, and the men and women who view it from opposite sides, have a vitally important lesson to teach other members of the community of nations...well expressed on a plaque [at the border] stating: "a lesson of peace to all nations"

As a resident alien in one and citizen in another, even I had to secure a whole new birth certificate from Quebec before renewing my passport. They said too many were taking advantage of baptism as proof of citizenship. About a year ago in the U.S. they were saying if you want a passport you'd best hop to it because the waiting list was 8 months long.

I gather it won't change your travel plans any?

DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Sem Pro, or should I say fellow Canuk, thanks for your kind comments. Indeed, inter-country travel between Canada & the US is major deal, especially for the border states & provinces.

We had some advance warning from both governments about this new requirement for land and sea travel since 2007, but still many people will be affected by the change tomorrow, June 1st. For those who do not live in a border state/province, it may not impact them much, as air travel may be the mode of travel from one country to the next.

The wait time for a passport here in Canada has increased from 20 business days as they try to clear the backlog of application.

I hope that you had all your documentations worked out without much delay.

For me, I 've had a Canadian Passport since I became eligible for one. Indeed my road trip is still on from Toronto to Atlanta.

Thanks for dropping by...

GiftedGrandma profile image

GiftedGrandma 7 years ago from USA

My stepson had to apply for renewal last for a sailing trip with his step dad this summer 2009!

DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Hi GiftedGrandma, thanks for stopping by. I hope that your stepson's application was expidited. I hope that they have a fantastic trip on the waterways.

SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 7 years ago from North America

To Atlanta? That's where I've been for the last few years. Was just in Toronto a couple weeks ago. It was wonderful! Everyone was even friendlier than usual downtown - as though we were all sharing the celebration of spring together :) Fellow Canuk indeed. I lived in TO for 11+ years.

DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Wow!, then you know all the great must sees in ATL. TO is very receptive to tourists, not that you are, but you bring tourist dollars. Our tourist industry is suffering due to decrease of US visitors. Plus, as you might remember, after a long winter, we are estatic to welcome the warmer weather. Even though, I must say the warmer weather is taking a long time getting here this spring...

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Thank you informing me about this change in the law. The statistics were interesting, too. Sometimes a few bad apples spoil the freedom of everybody else. It's a shame.

DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

James, right on. The world as we know it has changed since 911. This is one more piece of legistlation to "make the world safer" . I can't say that it is not warranted because we have heard and seen how a few "bad apples" can impact all of us.

I just hope that there won't be long line up at the borders.

Thanks for stopping by...

Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel Carter 7 years ago from Western US

Having once been married to a Canadian and going through customs for 20 years without any trouble, this is a big shift. However, all in all, once the dust settles and fallout stablizes, I think things will even out a bit again for travel between the US and Canada. I surely hope so. Love going to see beautiful Canada even though I no longer have family ties there. Wonderful place!

DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Daniel, thanks for stopping by. I believe that most people have been prepared for this change and so there does not seems to be much challenge in getting into & leaving Canada. I haven't seen the latest stats about travel between both countries for the last three months, but if the number s are low, there are so many challenges that could be driving those numbers, more related to the economy.

You are definitely welcome to visit this beautiful country. My family and I visited the USA in early July and we had no challenges, not with line up at the border or anything else. It was lovely.

Thanks for your comment...

Dwayne Bengtson 7 years ago

how does one find out if he can enter canada without going to the border. i have no DWIs but do pay child support can a person still enter?

DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Hi Dwayne, thanks for stopping by. If you enter Canada by road or rail, you will pass through on of the borders. If you travel by air, then you will encounter the security mesaures at the airports. I`m not sure about the waterways, but I`m sure that there are security checks that you must adhere to.

If you are unsure about your eligibility to cross the border, you can check out this website:

Good luck.

jeyaramd profile image

jeyaramd 5 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

Thank you for informing us about these new regulations. The enhanced license is a great advantage. Its easier that carrying the passport. However, I still feel more comfortable taking my passport with me. There is less confusion. And the last thing, God forbid, is to have the border officials have you turn back. Don't think it happens too often. And, on a side note, I think you might also benefit from reading my article on crossing the US border. Useful tips. Great hub.

DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

jeyaramd, thanks for your visit and your comment. You are right for people who cross the border frequently, it is definitely quicker to use the enhanced licence, but one is always concer about proper id and the passport is unquestionable. This is even more pertinent in light of even more recent considerations about cross border regulations.

I'll def check out your post.

Riadh 23 months ago

What is the acceleration of a car moinvg with a constant acceleration if in 5s it covers two pints at a distance of 50m? The speed of the car after passing the second point is 20m/s?What is the acceleration of a car moinvg with a constant acceleration if in 5s it covers two points at a distance of 50m? The speed of the car after passing the second point is 20m/s?Can you solve it for me

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