If you’re heading to Canada from southeast Michigan or other U.S. areas bordering Canada, there are several passport and government ID options available to family travelers. Beginning in June 2009, Americans who are traveling by land or sea to Canada are required to have a passport or other documentation to prove their identity and citizenship when entering the United States, according to thee Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).
According to the Michigan Secretary of State website:
U.S. citizens age 16 or older must present one of the WHTI-approved documents listed below.
U.S. citizens under the age of 16 must present their birth certificate (original or a photocopy) or other proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card.
U.S. citizens ages 16-18 traveling under adult supervision with a school or religious group, social organization or sports team need to present their birth certificate (original or photocopy) or other proof of citizenship.
Valid travel documentation includes:
A valid U.S. passport.
A U.S. passport card.
An enhanced driver’s license. Several U.S. states that border Canada, such as Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington, as well as many Canadian provinces, now offer EDLs, which are specifically designed for use in travel across borders.
Trusted Traveler Program cards, such as NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST/Expres enrollment cards. These cards are issued to pre-approved, low-risk travelers, and can be used for land or sea travel.
As Michiganders who occasionally travel to Canada, my husband and I opted for enhanced state IDs for our children (we already each have a passport). These allow for re-entry into the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean without the need to show additional identity or citizenship documents at the border, such as birth certificates or Social Security cards. We went to the local Secretary of State office and presented their Social Security cards, as well as proof of identity, U.S. citizenship, and residency for them both. $60 and two typically unflattering photos later, our mission was complete and, about two weeks later, the IDs arrived in the mail.
The enhanced state ID card is valid for up to four years.