If your trip involves a trip across the US/Canadian border, you can help ensure a safe and speedy passage by reviewing the following requirements, guidelines and tips.
Requirements and Guidelines
When Making Reservations
When making a reservation for services crossing the US/Canadian border, you must provide various pieces of information, including your date of birth, gender, country of citizenship, and detailed information regarding the form of ID that you will carry with you on your trip. Further conditions apply.
Providing inaccurate or incomplete information will subject you to extensive inspection and questioning at the border. Please make sure that you supply us with complete and accurate information.
The information you provide when you make your reservation will be entered into your reservation record and supplied to Customs and Immigration officers to facilitate your clearance. Neither Amtrak nor VIA Rail Canada will use this information for any other purpose.
In General: Amtrak services that cross the US/Canada border are subject to inspection by Canadian and American law enforcement officials. If your trip involves an international border crossing, you must carry with you both:
- Proof of citizenship, and
- Proof of identity
The form of identification you carry with you on your trip should be the same piece of ID that you selected and provided details about when you made your reservation.
Please note you must carry the original, valid identification document. Copies, expired or otherwise invalid documents will not suffice. Each passenger must have his or her own ID.
US and Canadian Citizens: We strongly recommend that US and Canadian citizens carry a passport. Passengers without a passport, must have a certified copy of a birth certificate and current, valid government-issued photo identification.
Citizens of Other Countries: Citizens of all other countries must carry a valid passport. In addition, many passengers must obtain and carry a visa.
Passengers Under 18 (Not Traveling with Both Parents): Passengers under 18 years old (if not traveling with both parents) must carry a notarized letter from any parent or legal guardian not present which gives permission for the child to cross the border. This letter must include the address and telephone number of the parent or parentsn not present. If one parent is deceased, a copy of that parent's death certificate will minimize questions and delay.
Amtrak policy does not allow children 14 and under to travel unaccompanied into Canada, regardless of ID or notarized letter.
Information for Foreign Visitors Entering the United States (The US-VISIT Program)
US-VISIT is an enhanced border inspection program implemented by the US Department of Homeland Security. Please note that the US-VISIT requirements do not replace visa requirements for entering the United States.
The US-VISIT Process
Foreign visitors who are carrying a foreign passport and/or those visitors who are required to complete a form I-94 will be enrolled in the US-VISIT program at Amtrak border crossings. (Please note that most Canadian Citizens and, initially, Mexican Citizens who use their border crossing cards or "laser visas", are excepted from the program.)
For first-time visitors to the US, a Customs and Border Protection Officer uses an inkless, digital fingerscanner to perform a ten-finger fingerscan. Subsequent entries and exits by the same person at air, sea and land border ports will require two-finger scans for verification.
US Customs and Border Protection Officers will take a digital picture of the visitor, review travel documents and ask questions about the visitor's stay in the United States. This process should take less than five minutes per passenger.
Border agents will collect a fee of $6.00 from each visitor. Foreign visitors must come to the border prepared to pay this fee. The fee is payable in US currency, a US postal money order, a personal check drawn on a US bank, a Canadian money order issued in US funds, or a US dollar travelers cheque only.
No Guaranty of Entry
Permission to enter the US or Canada is granted solely at the discretion of Customs and Immigration officers. Accordingly, possession of required documentation and providing Amtrak with required information in no way guarantees entry into the United States or Canada.
Neither Amtrak nor VIA Rail Canada nor any other carrier is in any way liable in the event that you are denied entry or delayed on your trip. Please note that trains or buses will not be delayed at the border on your behalf if you are detained.
Delays Are Possible
Please be aware that you may experience delays at border crossings. Such delays are usually due to US and/or Canadian customs and immigration procedures, and are beyond Amtrak's control.
Need More Information?
For further information, please contact the appropriate US or Canadian government offices prior to travel, as listed below:
- On the Internet: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca
- By Telephone: 1-800-O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232)
- In Person (in the USA): Canadian Embassy (Washington, DC) or the nearest Canadian consulate (Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Seattle)
- In Person (in Canada): The nearest Citizenship and Immigration Canada or Revenue Canada office.
United States Resources
- On the Internet: http://www.travel.state.gov (select links to Citizenship and Immigration, Customs, or Passport)
- By Telephone: 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636)
- In Person (in the USA): The nearest office of the US Passport Agency, the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration, or the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
- In Person (in Canada): United States Embassy (Ottawa), or the nearest United States Consulate (Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver).