How often do people ask me if it’s OK to cross the border into the U.S. with a drivers license (enhanced or not), or a birth certificate, or a provincial health card? Too often, and it’s irritating—because it shows a lack of responsibility.
When you leave the country, you automatically become a visitor in someone else’s country and that gives you the responsibility of being able to prove who you are. The onus is not on them to prove who you are, but it’s on you. And, like it or not, the United States is a foreign country to Canadians. That doesn’t mean you’re not welcome, you are, but there are certain rules and customs you’re expected to accept.
Crossing borders is becoming more complex as danger in the world intensifies. Consequently, border agents have a tough job and people who travel without proper identification are only making it tougher. A properly kept passport not only makes border crossing more efficient, it proves you are considerate enough to pay the money to play by the rules.
If you’re not willing to do that, you’re either cheap or inconsiderate.
A passport costs about $100 and it lasts for five years. That’s $20 a year. That’s far less than the price of the baseball or hockey ticket you’re paying for.
In Asia, Europe, South America, Africa, people wouldn’t dream of planning a trip without having passport in hand. It’s part of their DNA. It’s a source of pride to have one. You don’t have a passport, or in some cases two or three, and you don’t exist.
For too long Canadians have been pampered by being allowed to cross the border and travel throughout the U.S. without so much as a photo ID. Well those days are over.
When you cross the border into another country, you are a guest. Act like it and pick up on your own responsibilities.