Can you travel to Canada by road with an expired US passport?

  • Is it possible to leave and re-enter the US through the land border with Canada with an expired (US) passport? My passport expired in December and I didn't realize that until now. In addition to the expired passport, I have my naturalization certificate and Tennessee issued drivers license to prove citizenship and residency. Re-entry will be by road from Canada.

    UPDATE: I made some calls and was told that I needed a passport -- I was told to contact the regional passport agency in New Orleans (about 6 hours by road for me) get an appointment and show up in person with proof of imminent travel outside the country. After searching on the web, I located a few agencies who claimed that they could help with this for a charge of around $199. I picked the one that had good reviews and they helped take care of the problem. On Monday they walked me through different documents they needed, asked me to go to a "Passport Verification" agent in a post office to get everything verified and sealed in an envelope, had to FedEx the package to them. On Tuesday they got it, processed the passport and shipped it back to me. I got it Wednesday. In all it cost me $170 (Govt Passport Fee) + $25 (Verification fee at the post office) + $199 (Agency charge) + $90 (Shipping). Glad i got this taken care of. Thanks to everyone who helped with responses.

    When do you need to travel? You might have time to renew your passport before your trip.

    Do you have a US enhanced driver's license?

    No enhanced drivers license since TN does not offer it. Plan to travel this Saturday. Canada does not require a passport for US citizens but was more concerned about returning back.

    If you want a definitive answer you could call the US embassy and ask for advice. They might be able to get you a temporary passport by then. In any case, I hope that after your trip, you'll post an answer and let us know what happened.

    @NateEldredge Not might. They will get you a travel document to reenter. This is done all the time and friends of mine used it in Madrid's airport 3 months ago.

    Wait.. You're in the US at the moment, not Canada?

    @Sun: Rather than adding your answer as an update, you should really post it as an answer. It's encouraged to answer your own questions here!

    You might want to edit the question - it sounds like what you want to do is *exit and then re-enter* with an expired passport, which is rather different to what you originally asked!

    @Gagravarr sorry for not being clear in my question -- i assumed that saying "re-enter" implied that i exited first. I missed mentioning i was in the US at the time of asking the question.

  • Doc

    Doc Correct answer

    8 years ago

    As a US citizen you can not be denied entry to the US. It is possible that you will be subject to additional scrutiny when entering, and additional checks to confirm that your passport is legitimate, but otherwise you will be fine.

    If you were entering the US by air then the answer would likely be different. Although technically you are still able to enter using an expired passport, it's very possible the airline would refuse to allow you to fly. As you are entering by car this will obviously not be a problem.

    Update: The Across the Border blog contains a quote from a named spokesman at US CBP that states :

    "Federal officers will not deny entry to any valid US citizen. Travelers may experience delays while CBP officers possibly refer them to secondary inspection so that their identity and admissibility can be positively determined."

    Do you have a source for this answer? I tried to find an official statement to this effect but could not.

    The US Constitution. If not the original, then the 14th Amendment.

    Thanks for the answer! its a relief to get this confirmed.

    Neither the constitution nor the 14th amendment has any specific language about citizens entering the country, as far as I can tell. I agree that in principle, US citizens generally have the right to enter the US, but I don't see that it would necessarily abridge this right if the border guards insisted that you first go to an embassy and get your passport renewed.

    @hagubear: It is probably true for most countries, that they cannot deny their own citizens entry. The issue is however that it is not unreasonable to require a proof of citizenship, even from own citizens - either in form of a valid passport or by presenting some other form of identification card.

    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo I will respectfully disagree somewhat to this. A lot fo countries will probably doubt you even if you have the correct information who you really are even with your expired passport information and scrutinising you. Profiling...I should not say the more :P

    @hagubear: I respectfully do not understand your comment. Can you try to use some punctuation?

    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo What I was saying is that they have the discretion not to allow you to enter even when you have an expired passport and correct details. They will ask you for a reference in the country who can confirm the identity and bring necessary documents along with them to prove that you are whom you say you are. You have got to remember that you are technically not supposed to be travelling on an expired passport. Unless you prove that you had a mitigating circumstance e.g. death in the family and you are here for the funeral, you could be doubted (discretion of the Immigr. Off)

    @hagubear: Where did I write something else?

    This is a misleading answer. Tol-Einar jambo's answer is the correct one.

    @Doc: It is worth to note that the quote you're linking to is more than four years old. After 9/11, the U.S. border regime has been strengthened several times and I would not bet on that statement still being valid.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM