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Author Topic: Simple Passport Question-  (Read 948 times)

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Offline FaustusTopic starter

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Simple Passport Question-
« on: February 13, 2012, 09:30:08 PM »
Okay, this is very simple, and I'm only asking because websites weren't very clear. . .

My little brother is a member of the Boy Scouts of America. Yay for him! Anyway, one of their scheduled trips will take him into Manitoba, Canada. Disregarding my innate jealousy as a in-the-process-for-getting-citizenship-Junior-Canadian, I know that passports are required for crossing between our borders. Sucks, but it's there.

According to my parents, his Scout Troop leaders gave a different impression, stating that this would not be required.

Now, my brother is far from responsible with his things. His ADHD certainly doesn't assist in that, as his attention spand is shorter than that of a gnat, and he is very prone to forget things (as is normal for children!), so there is obvious concern about spending somewhere in the $100 range on a passport, then losing it while in the particular destination.

My question is as thus : If a minor under the age of twelve is traveling via bus across the US - Canadian border with a Boy Scout Troop, are they required to travel with a full passport? Does this change if they travel by air? (I ask that because I'm uncertain what method they will be going.)

Offline Falanor

Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 09:36:16 PM »
This is the best I could find to help you on the matter.  http://gocanada.about.com/od/canadatravelplanner/qt/kids_passport.htm

Offline Observing Trifles

Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 09:37:31 PM »
In my experience, the border agents are often very lenient in this regard. I may not be 100% correct about this, but I think that a child under the age of sixteen can get away with crossing the US-Canadian border without a passport. However, he may need a birth certificate to show proof of US citizenship on the way back into the US.

Keep in mind that this applies only to land or sea crossings. To my understanding, everyone traveling by air to and from Canada would require a passport book.

You might also consider a passport card as opposed to a passport book. If he's traveling by bus, a passport card is an acceptable and slightly more affordable substitute for a passport book.

Offline FaustusTopic starter

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Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2012, 09:44:04 PM »
This is the best I could find to help you on the matter.  http://gocanada.about.com/od/canadatravelplanner/qt/kids_passport.htm
Bookmarking, just incase!

In my experience, the border agents are often very lenient in this regard. I may not be 100% correct about this, but I think that a child under the age of sixteen can get away with crossing the US-Canadian border without a passport. However, he may need a birth certificate to show proof of US citizenship on the way back into the US.

Keep in mind that this applies only to land or sea crossings. To my understanding, everyone traveling by air to and from Canada would require a passport book.

You might also consider a passport card as opposed to a passport book. If he's traveling by bus, a passport card is an acceptable and slightly more affordable substitute for a passport book.
That was pretty much my understanding on the subject too. Thus far, I've encouraged my parents towards the passport card side, simply because it is significantly more affordable, and if my brother loses it my parents aren't out a top-dollar sum of money.

As of this moment, I'm about 90% sure they're taking a bus up, which is moderately ridiculous considering we live in North Carolina, and they want to drive all that way, but to each their own on that one. . .

I'll be doing actual calling on this subject, but I wanted to see if what I had theorized was correct.  :-)

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 09:48:47 PM »
If the scouts are required to have a passport or birth certificate one of the adult chaperones should be put in charge of them.  That is standard for underage individuals on a group trip.

Offline alxnjsh

Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 09:56:20 PM »
Living on the border and having just vacationed in Manitoba, my advice is at a minimum get the card. Getting into Canada is easy. Getting back into the US is not.

Offline FaustusTopic starter

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Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 10:06:15 PM »
If the scouts are required to have a passport or birth certificate one of the adult chaperones should be put in charge of them.  That is standard for underage individuals on a group trip.
See, I think the same on that one, however the scout leader is. . . less than desirable and even more absentminded with objects than the children. It doesn't help that they are on more prescription pills than I can count.  :-\

Living on the border and having just vacationed in Manitoba, my advice is at a minimum get the card. Getting into Canada is easy. Getting back into the US is not.
Indeed. I love how nice and gentle the Canadian side is versus the American. I've always had hassles with them myself getting back in. I had less scrutiny going into the United Kingdom than I did re-entering the United States. Obviously, the girl dressed like a Hippie is a terrorist. Okay. . .

But yeah, card totally if it can be skirted on that. I, personally, want everyone in my family to have a passport, but it isn't financially an option just yet.

Offline Dawg

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Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2012, 10:38:53 PM »
I have taken scouts on several trip's into Canada and back, and Passports are required now (we used to be able to get by with under 16 getting away with a Birth Certificate).  In my area individuals can get a special drivers license that allows them to freely cross back and forth and I work with a couple of people that actually live in Canada and do just that, so the Passport Card sounds like a valid option.

As far as the adult being in charge, the way I work my trips is each adult driver gets a packet that holds all of the documents for their passengers so it can all be handed to the agent at one time while going through.  If they are taking a bus that may be different.  One other thing I require (and they may have and you just haven't noted) is a permission slip from the Parent/Guardian as I have been held up at the border before for taking under age children across the border without their parent's.  You would think a group of scout's  on a trip in uniform would not get that question but we did.

I have come back on some of these trips and with all the scouts in uniform and was just waved through after a cursory couple of questions, so that would depend on the agent at the border.

My advice would be go for the card and make sure you are reachable on the planned day of his return just in case their was an issue (as in your fear of lost identification).

Good luck and I hope he enjoys the trip.

Offline Elina

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Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2012, 07:26:11 AM »
See, I think the same on that one, however the scout leader is. . . less than desirable and even more absentminded with objects than the children. It doesn't help that they are on more prescription pills than I can count.  :-\
o.O  And your parents are entrusting their child into this person's care?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2012, 08:12:07 AM »
One thing that you might invest in is a shoulder wallet.  It's designed to be worn under a jacket, and loops around the shoulder.  (http://www.d2dimports.co.uk/ekmps/shops/d2dimports/images/black-shoulder-holster-wallet-115-p.jpg)  In addition to documents, it's also a good place to keep money or credit cards (not that a Scout should have a credit card), so that pickpockets can't easily reach it.  Check any travel store for them.

Offline alxnjsh

Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2012, 08:33:22 AM »
One other thing I thought of last night as I was dozing off is "copies." Make several copies of the card and keep them in different places just in case it gets lost :) I hope they enjoy their trip!

Offline Cecilia

Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2012, 02:49:22 PM »
We cross the border with some regularity.  Getting the card is all he really needs if he's not planning other international travel anytime soon.  Otherwise, a full passport is a nice thing to have in hand.  Copies--both at home or with someone not on the trip and in the suitcase can be very helpful.  If he loses it and the copy he is carrying, he can call home to get the information faxed back to the border patrol in an emergency.  The border agents where we are can be variable in how they respond, but if you have snarky people, they snark back and make it harder to get back in so having proper documentation makes it easier.  And, never...ever...make jokes about anything with the border agents.  They have NO sense of humor. 

Offline Elina

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Re: Simple Passport Question-
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2012, 05:44:16 PM »
Copies are a great idea.  Your mom should put the original (or certified copy of his birth certificate in you aren't getting a passport book or card) in a ziplock baggie and put it in the outside zipper compartment of his suitcase.  Tape it in there so there's almost no chance of him goofing off and losing it.  The copy should be sufficient for a 12-year old kid coming back from Canada, but just in case it isn't, you'll have the original in a relatively safe place.  Maybe give the copy to the troop leader.