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Crossing US/Canadian Land Border with Illinois Drivers License


Original Post
Todd Cornilsen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 35

Has anyone have first or second-hand information on if an Illinois Driver's License (newly issued) will get you across and back the Sault Ste Marie border crossing? I have been to websites of the Illinois Secretary of State, Canada, and US Border Patrol. Nothing is current. I'm of the belief that additional ID is still needed, but just want to see if anyone has crossed with what I described.

rocknice2 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 3,018

You need a passport!
It's use to be that a driver's licence was enough but some time after 9/11 the requirements changed.

Hank Caylor · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Dec 2003 · Points: 615

Hope you or nobody on your trip has ever had a DUI bro. The snowbacks are fucking assholes about that. They guard their southern border like it's all gold encrusted flapjacks up there..

no, never had DUI myself, just heard the nightmare stories from more than a few WAY more well known climbers that had their "dreamboat Canadian vacations" fully inhinged.

edit, Mexico doesn't want a passport, drivers license is fine, and those agents are royal turds.

Yury · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 0

Is this a biometric driver license or a traditional one?
Biometric license can be used instead of passport (at least in Sarnia).

Find a web site of this crossing, find their phone number and call them.

QITNL · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 35

You need a passport, yeah. I wouldn't take any chances there. Not in these times.

The deal with DUI's and other infractions, I wouldn't blame Canada so quickly. Border rules are always reciprocal.

I have a Canadian friend who can no longer visit the US due to some silly, ancient misdemeanor. Full stop - no appeal. I have a US friend, his girlfriend is in Banff. He got into some real trumped up trouble here, total BS - he had to go out of his way to placate the Canadian authorities, prior to hitting the border.

I can't remember who escalated that first - probably the US, but it hardly matters - those on the other side of the line always respond in kind.

Safe journeys.

Scott Phil · · NC · Joined May 2010 · Points: 196

I've crossed the border multiple times over the years (Quebec, New Brunswick, and BC). For me, getting into Canada has always been very straight forward. The issue is getting back into the U.S. That is why you need your passport.

andrew thomas · · Orcas island · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 105

My Enhanced Drivers Licence gets me over the border and back but I think only a few states offer them.. not sure if Illinois is one of them

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 266

I'm voting for the next Prime Minister of Canada who is gunna build a wall to protect our southern boarder! We don't want the USAs felons, murderers, and rapists! The USA is a fantastic country, but it is not sending us their best!

/joke /hopenottoosoon

OP: You'll need a passport or EID. Drivers licenses have not been valid entry documents for many many years.

jon jugenheimer · · Madison, WI · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 2,139

I pass from Duluth to Tbay in the Winter. Passport man! Its now the law.

mat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 5
chrisccc wrote:I'm voting for the next Prime Minister of Canada who is gunna build a wall to protect our southern boarder! We don't want the USAs felons, murderers, and rapists! The USA is a fantastic country, but it is not sending us their best! /joke /hopenottoosoon OP: You'll need a passport or EID. Drivers licenses have not been valid entry documents for many many years.
Would you settle for a privacy hedge?

Concerned, But Not Wanting To Offend, Canada Quietly Plants Privacy Hedge Along Entire U.S. Border.
Joshua Dee · · San Diego, CA · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 30

When I was between passports a year or two ago I brought my license and a copy of my birth certificate. No issues. I'm assuming things are different since January?

rocknice2 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 3,018
Joshua D wrote:When I was between passports a year or two ago I brought my license and a copy of my birth certificate. No issues. I'm assuming things are different since January?
An 'out of date' passport is actually a valid ID for land crossings and ONLY LAND crossings. Despite what they tell you. They bitch a little, might even send you inside but you will get through.
Yury · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 0

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice - there is.

Just call a particular crossing and ask.
Different crossings may have "slightly" different de-facto rules.

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425
Hank Caylor wrote:Hope you or nobody on your trip has ever had a DUI bro. The snowbacks are fucking assholes about that. They guard their southern border like it's all gold encrusted flapjacks up there.. no, never had DUI myself, just heard the nightmare stories from more than a few WAY more well known climbers that had their "dreamboat Canadian vacations" fully inhinged.
Yep it's a felony in the Great White North. They can turn you around, make you pay some crazy fee at the border that's several hundred dollars, or you can apply for some crazy rehabilitation entry.

They take it very seriously for a country that drinks like fishes.
David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 6
Scott McMahon wrote: Yep it's a felony in the Great White North. They can turn you around, make you pay some crazy fee at the border that's several hundred dollars, or you can apply for some crazy rehabilitation entry. They take it very seriously for a country that drinks like fishes.
  • sigh*

No it's not a "felony" in the "Great White North". In fact, nothing's a felony here. We don't actually use the term "felony" (or, for that matter, "misdemeanor") in our laws or jurisprudence. The closest equivalents are "indictable offense" for felony, and "summary offense" for misdemeanor.

After 9/11 the US border people started insisting on passports (or equivalent, not just a driver's license) for crossing the border. After they did so, the Canadian border also started insisting on these, because if someone was let into Canada with insufficient ID to return to the US, they'd be stuck in Canada, and that was not considered a desirable result. This is, in fact, where much border-rules mutualism comes from -- if one side enforces less-stringent ID requirements than the other, people won't have sufficient ID to get home again.
Lee Green · · Edmonton, Alberta · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 50

I'm a US citizen and Canadian permanent resident (soon to be dual citizen), homes in both countries, travel back and forth regularly. If you're a US citizen, you can cross in and back at land or water crossings with any of:

enhanced drivers' license (Illinois licenses are not currently accepted by TSA, so you might get into Canada but not home)

government issued photo ID (e.g., regular drivers' license) plus proof of citizenship (birth certificate, voter registration certificate); though you might get hassled a bit depending on the border agent, it's legal

tribal ID (if Native American)

passport card

regular passport

NEXUS card

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

Its been my experience that the canadians are pretty nice to you when you enter canada and the US border patrol are total dicks when you try to come home.. I don't imagin with trump in charge makes them any nicer. i would feel pretty nervous not haveing a passport to get back in the USA

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
Nick Goldsmith wrote:Its been my experience that the canadians are pretty nice to you when you enter canada and the US border patrol are total dicks when you try to come home.. I don't imagin with trump in charge makes them any nicer. i would feel pretty nervous not haveing a passport to get back in the USA
Huh, I've found the opposite. The Canadian border guards have 20 questions while the US guard asked how was the skiing? or do they air the Super Bowl up here? Those guys are a lot better than the ones on the southern border :(
Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 266

+1

I've found that the American guards are typically much friendlier than the Canadian ones. 15 years ago it was flipped. (At least in the Vancouver/Seattle crossing.)

I'm a Canadian with an American green card too, so it always feels like a backwards experience.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
Bill Kirby wrote: Huh, I've found the opposite. The Canadian border guards have 20 questions while the US guard asked how was the skiing? or do they air the Super Bowl up here? Those guys are a lot better than the ones on the southern border :(
Same here, US guards are friendly and easy going, whereas Canadian guards are much more uptight and always have a million questions about everything.
Idaho Bob · · McCall, ID · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 58

I live in BC seasonally so travel across the border frequently. Don't try to return to the US without a US passport or passport card. While the border personal on both sides are generally very professional there is the occasional dickhead from the Department of Homeland Insecurity and, if everything is not in perfect order crossing can be a trying experience. If they don't want to accept an enhanced drivers license, they will refuse it.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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