Hidden Bay Lodge & Camps, Sioux Lookout Ontario Canada
1 800 HIDDEN BAY (year round)  |  (807) 737 1349 (summer) 

Crossing the border into the the US

If you are 16 years old or older, you will require ONE of the following when entering the US by car, boat or airplane.

- A Passport
- A NEXUS card
- A Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card
- Or an enhanced drivers license / enhanced identification card (in states / provinces when they are available).

Officially, children (15 years old and under) only require proof of citizenship (ie. birth certificate). Although we are told at the INL Falls Crossing, they will allow children over 15 back into the US with a birth certificate and Photo ID.

Crossing the border into Canada

To enter into Canada over a land port of entry, at present, you only require one piece of government issued photo ID (ie. drivers license) AND original birth certificate as proof of citizenship (NOTE: not a photo copy).

A passport, though not required, is still the best as it can be used  photo ID and proof of citizenship all in one.

Children (15 years old and under) only require proof of citizenship (ie. birth certificate). See below for more information about crossing the border with children.

Here are links of required documents when crossing the border:

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative




UPDATE:  Here is information about the new cheaper US Passport Card:

http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html  (I would still recommend a real passport.  Never know if you have to fly home on short notice.)

Traveling with Children 18 years old and under

If only one parent is traveling with a child, that parent should have a letter from the other parent authorizing to cross over the border with the child.  Same goes if a child is traveling friends and both parents are at home.

A simple piece of paper to help keep one out of trouble. I would guess the officials are worried about abductions or so.

Here is a link regarding children:


DUI /DWI convictions and the border

Ah Yes. The ol' sticky DUI problem.  More people get turned back at the border on this issue than any other. This is information I gathered from a Canadian immigration officer at the Canadian Border crossing at Fort Frances Ontario / International Falls MN.

Here in Canada, they regard a DUI / DWI as a serious criminal offense.  They do not have misdemeanors in Canada.  A DUI / DWI is considered a small offense.  If you have a major offense, like theft over $5000 or something like that, It's a whole other situation then.

I'm told that Canada and the USA have a bilateral agreement to share information and the border officer has access to the FBI records so they can check an individuals criminal record.

If the offense is older than 10 years (from the end of term of the offense eg. end of probation / community service / jail time / loss of your drivers license) being any small offense eg. DWI, (NOT a major offense) on the individuals record, you may be deemed rehabilitated and there should not be a problem to cross the border. 

But this is at the discretion of the border officer to admit the person into Canada. Proof of a short stay in Canada can be an asset but not necessary. eg. your fishing trip confirmation letter. ALSO If you can show some proof or documentation that the offense and "punishment" finished over 10 years ago, that would also help. eg. court documentation.

Now, if someone was ONLY CHARGED with a small offense within  less than 10 years, BUT was not convicted and the charge was dismissed or pardoned.  This information may not show on the border officers computer system.  They may only see just the charge and NOT the pardon and will consider the charge still pending and may not let you into the country.  In this case,  proof of dismissal or pardon of the charge will be very helpful to gain entry into the country. Apparently this happens quite often with dismissals or pardons from Wisconsin.

If a person has been charged and convicted of
no more that two (2) small charges (eg. DWI's) greater than 5 years ago (from the end of term of the offense eg. end of probation / community service / jail time / loss of your drivers license) and less than 10 years ago (from the end of term of the offense) you can apply for Criminal Rehabilitation costing $200 CAD to enter Canada

Here is a link to a Criminal Rehabilitation information:

From here you can download or request a Rehabilitation Guide, application form, fee/credit card payment form, Document Checklist and use of a representative form.  It is very important to ensure that you submit your required documents and fee along with your application form.  I was told a lot of people forget and it will delay the process.

I have been told that the
easiest and fastest way to apply and process this application is through the Citizenship and Immigration Canada office in Thunder Bay Ontario. 

You will need to download a copy of this Special Rehabilitation Kit to apply through the Thunder Bay office.  You will also need to complete this standard Application for Criminal Rehabilitation Form

Please follow all instructions in the kit to the "T" to avoid any delays.

Immigration Canada Localized Call Centre Tel:  1 888 242 2100

Website: www.cic.gc.ca

You can also apply for Criminal Rehabilitation through a Canadian Consulate in the USA but this may take a lot longer than the office in Thunder Bay, as Thunder Bay is a smaller office and have more time for such things.  Here is a link to find a consulate nearest to you:


If a person has a
more serious major offense conviction (eg Theft over $5000 etc.) regardless how long ago they happened, they will most likely be considered inadmissible and cannot enter the country; However, you can apply for a "Temporary Residence Permit" through a Canadian Consulate which will allow you to enter the country.  After a review, a person may receive this permit which can take up to 6 months to 1 years to approve at a cost of $1000CAD.  See link above to locate a consulate near you. to request and apply for this permit.

You can also apply for a "Temporary Residence Permit" if you have
one small offense (eg. DWI) that has happened less than 5 years ago at a cost of $200.  See link above to locate a consulate near you. to request and apply for this permit.

Keep in mind that it is ALWAYS the Customs and Immigration Officer at the border that will have the final say.  Hopefully they are in a good mood that day.  Since most of our guests enter Canada at the International Falls / Fort Frances crossing, I would believe that they have a great deal of experience dealing with the issue.

For full information, here is a link to Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site about Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility.  It includes links to the application, how to apply, after applying, status of application, fee calculator and many other things:

Bringing your firearms into Canada

Handguns are not allowed into Canada, PERIOD!


Note:  All the above data posted above is for informational purposes only and may not correct. 
Hidden Bay Lodge accepts no responsibility if any data changes or is incorrect.
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