Even if you do get him a passport, you should still have proof in writing from your spouse (great idea from cobie33 about getting it notarized). My 17 year old nephew went with us one year and had a passport. Neither his mother or father was with us. Basically, his grandfather was his guardian on this trip. We never even gave it a thought about having a note from his parents. We were allowed to continue, but the authorities were very close to denying us entry.
I go to Canada every spring and I'm wondering how different it will be this year coming back through US Customs now that cannabis is legal in Canada...
Right now Lineman's son is thinking of asking for a new bow and fishing rod in exchange for not telling the people at the border that Daddy told him not to say anything, but he has a big bag of white powder stuffed in his underwear. I hope the kid isn't reading this.
I took my 3 boys to Toronto (by plane) one year while I was going through a divorce. The young lady who was grilling me asked where their mother was. Despite what I was wanted to tell her, I said, "at home". She asked if we were married, so I told her "yes, for the time being". Then she said well where is a letter with her permission? I had studied the applicable laws pretty closely and knew it was not required (I had their birth certificates with me). So I told her so, she argued with me until I asked her to call over a supervisor. The supervisor finally relented, admitting I was technically correct. She said "it would be easier with a letter" So I told her the truth, this encounter was still a lot more pleasant than it would have been dealing with their mother, who would think she could exert some control over the situation by delaying or refusing to sign a letter. "I'd still rather deal with you guys than her".
Glad my boys didn't make any wisecracks or jokes, but it was probably because I told them THEY'D get themselves in trouble, instead of getting me jammed up. Nobody wants the guy with fat fingers doing a body cavity search!
So, yeah, Bring a letter, if you can!
No passport required for children under the age of 14. Not technically required for adults either, but we prefer it and if you don’t have it we will give you a lecture;) birth cert and driver’s license at a minimum.
Letter from mom does not have to be notarized, but doesn’t hurt either. PM if you have more questions.
This year I'll likely be heading up there with a buddy. We'll have his two daughters, 5 and 2, and my daughter that is 2 years old. I expect that two guys (and no moms) in their 30's crossing with 3 young girls will not go as smoothly as we are used to, but I'm not worried about it.
I've probably driven across the border 50 times in the last 18 years. The trick is to pull up, roll all windows down, and shut your vehicle off so they can hear you. Look them in the eye and answer their questions "yes" or "no". Know what you have with you for alcohol, tobacco, and bait. A few years I made a goal of trying to make a border patrol agent smile. I never succeeded and it led to some not-so-smooth crossings so I gave it up.
Personally, I'd go with a passport card, especially if you plan on more than one trip up there in the next few years.
Another option to consider for proof of citizenship (land border crossing) is a nexus card. It’s free for kids under 14. The beauty of a nexus card is that it doubles as a global entry card.
One of my favorite commercials.... (link)
Hits a little close to home on one front, at least, too!
About 5 years ago, my wife and myself, along with 2 other couples were going through the border checkpoint on our way home from a fishing trip. We handed the agents our IDs and passports and answered a few questions, waiting to be waved through. Three agents came out of the side door at the same time the agent at the gate told my wife to turn the vehicle off, and put the keys up on the dash, then told all of us to put our hands where they could see them. They then proceeded to have us step out of the vehicle and go inside the building. Turns out, one of the guys in our party had the same name as a person on their “most wanted” list! (pretty common name, BTW). After about 15 minutes they let us go back to our van and explained the situation to us. It was a little unnerving to say the least! They were very nice about things, though. I still blame my wife. She had a Vikings jersey on at the time! ;-)
Yeah man, I hate it when that happens. Names like "Robert Smith" are never good when crossing the border! It's usually an "Armed and Dangerous" type list, hence the hands on the steering wheel and cuffs coming out.
Had a 75 year old gentleman one time with a common name like that. Poor guy looked like he was about to have a heart attack when I told him to keep his hands where I could see them. We exercised a little discretion on that one an kept the cuffs in their holster.
More recently we had a guy in-transit to Alaska get sent back around from CBSA due to having a pistol. He didn't understand that he still had to stop and talk to us as well, and just drove on through the primary lane! (Port Runner) Thankfully the new officer was quick thinking and turned on the external port runner alarm. (This thing will blow out your eardrums.) We all ran outside and yelled for him to stop, which by this time the blaring siren had done. (Now keep in mind we don't know this guy is just a flustered, harmless older gentleman coming back to drop off a gun, with a simple lack of understanding about needing to stop at the booth) We surround the car and as the cover officer is giving him instructions. The guy says "I got a gun" simultaneously reaching towards the passenger seat! As you can imagine that was the last thing he needed to say or that we wanted to hear, A few seconds later we extracted him from his truck, got his hands behind his back, and began escorting him into our building. (Now this guy is around 6' 3", 270, around 55-60 yrs old, beard down to his chest, and wearing an iron cross bandana.) We hadn't taken him 25 feet and he almost collapses on us he is so scared. He begins shaking like a leaf on a tree and by the time we get him into our secure secondary room, he has to brace himself on the counter! He then begins crying like a 4 year old getting scolded! I try to calm him down and we get the guy some water as we try to get his story and understand why he blew through the booth. As it starts to come together I realize it was just an honest mistake and this poor guy is about to die of fright. I do my best to calm him down, but 20 minutes later he is still shaking, so bad in fact that I had to uncap his water bottle for him. I finally get the whole story from the guy and then try to explain why we take a possible port runner so seriously. I tell him it was compounded by his "I have guns" comment with a simultaneous reach. The guy looked like an outlaw motorcycle gang member, but was about as gentle and meek as my yellow lab! We finally got him calmed down, and on his feet. He said he completely understood why we yanked him out of his car, and it all ends well. After he leaves one of my officers says "I think we just took 5 years from that guy's life" and I replied "I don't think he had 5 years left to give!" LOL...... I honestly felt really bad for the guy, but you have to pay attention when you cross the border! I'm sure he's been telling that story ever since!
None of them seem to be on the same page with each other. This has been a very common occurrence for me when entering Canada.