Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Attention Canadian travellers: Don't use your CCC as a travel document!

"The Certificate of Canadian Citizenship is not a travel document"

I probably recite these words in my sleep. I've lost count of the number of times I have seen this warning in the updates to the Travel Reports published by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT). This week, DFAIT has been updating the wording to this note of caution in dozens of the travel reports. Here's what the standard warning message now says:

"A Certificate of Canadian Citizenship is not a travel document. A Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians for the purpose of international travel. Canadian citizens returning to Canada who present other documents, such as a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, birth certificate, provincial driver’s license, or foreign passport, instead of a Canadian passport, may face delays or be denied boarding by transport companies."

In fact, if you read the website for the CCC (Proof of citizenship), you'll see the warning: "A citizenship certificate is proof of citizenship. It is not a travel document. Any Canadian citizen wanting to travel outside Canada should obtain a Canadian passport."

And yes, that includes for entry to the United States. While researching an article on US/Canada entry requirements, I came across several posts on discussion boards where people have tried to use the CCC as a travel document to enter the U.S. The result? Let's just say border officials weren't too impressed, and the travellers were left confused and frustrated.

Bottom line? Get a passport. Don't try to use your CCC as a travel document.

Or else...


Alana said...

Interesting Post. I wonder about children under 12? As long as the parents have passports, will a child's CCC be accepted?

Both my children were born outside of Canada and have used CCC to get back into the country without any problems but what about going to the US?

Elizabeth said...

As far as I can tell, the CCC can be used for land and sea entry to the U.S. until 2009 (date yet to be determined). Adults still need a government-issued photo I.D. as well. (see for more information).

For air travel and all other countries, Consular Affairs notes that "All children require a valid Canadian passport and supporting identification, such as a birth certificate or citizenship card." (see ).

When in doubt, give the embassy a call or drop them an email for the latest information.