Monday, August 21, 2006

Border Crossings

Make life easy. Get a passport.

Now, officially, you don't need a passport until 2007, according to our local travel agency, if you're going to Canada or Mexico. But you do need photo ID and your original birth certificate.
It's not so much leaving the country as it is getting back in.

When we went to visit my folks in Canada at Christmas, we brought our photo ID's and copies of the kids' birth certificates. At that time, that was sufficient. I also have a Resident Alien card, since I'm still Canadian.

This time around though, soon after the foiled terrorist plots with the planes from Britain, the US is being even more diligent (rightly so) about checking identification. I didn't realize we needed the original birth certificates, not just for the kids, but for all of us. We wound up spending a night in Bellingham, WA so I could coordinate with our neighbors to get into our house, sort through my mess of a filing cabinet (at least all of us have an individual file), and then they FedExed our stuff to my folks. We didn't want to cross the border without knowing they had all the documents in hand first.

Once that was established, we were fine to go into Canada. 3 days later, we had our documents so we could head home a few days after that.

Just so you know this wasn't overkill, once we made it to the US border (after a 50-minute wait in a long line of cars), the officer asked to see each of the kids and checked all our ID's against our photos. He verified the names on the birth certificates, and he even ran my information on the computer as he did all that. Again, we will wait however long they need us to in order to keep the nation safe. I live here, and I appreciate the diligence.

I am in the process of getting my Canadian documents so I can renew my passport. I'll be getting the paperwork together for Lee & the kids this week as well.

It's a shame the media has been so disappointed - first, nothing got blown up for them (aw!) and then, no one is even getting mad about the "hassles" of travelling. I feel so sorry for them - NOT!


shoo said...

We had trouble crossing the border from Canada many years ago, I think before Valerie was born. We forgot our passports back in our hotel room, and didn't have our birth certificates. The officer asked my wife how many states there were in the US, and she answered 51! Fortunately, I guess everything checked out fine on the computer and they let us go with minimal hassle.

keeka said...

Hey you didn't tell me that! We had no hassles, but that was before the British thingy. And the 2007 date is for all children to have a passport. Adults should always have one. At least that is the official report when Carl looked it up on the internet. So next time we go the kids will have to have passports too! Not too much of a hassle. Post Office does that kind of thing.

Joe Williams said...

The Canadians gave us some grief for driving the kids up to Alaska (and back) a couple of years back, because we neglected to bring their passports. Were we trying to smuggle them in, or what? The US gave us no trouble getting back in without ID, either way.