US domestic travel with cdn driver's license?
January 14, 2011 3:29 AM   Subscribe

I know someone posted something similar about an expired passport, but I want to know if I can travel domestically within the US using only my Canadian driver's license. (I am here on an H-1B visa) Extended version:

I have domestic travel plans for February (approx 4 weeks from now). Passport renewal (it is currently valid but expires in April) takes approx 4 weeks by mail. (required for Canadians living in US as far as I know). I am planning on going to the UK in April and definitely need my passport then. Should I send it now and risk not having it for February? Or should I wait until I get back from Feb and keep fingers very tightly crossed it will be sent back by April (6 weeks later). I work and only have these days off (the planned travel ones in Feb and April) so cannot go to DMV, cross Canadian border, or do any other mon-fri/time-consuming sort of things.
Short question: Can I travel within US on H1-B using only valid Canadian driver's license? (if passport is still in mail to or from renewal place?). (TSA site indicates a strong maybe...looking for 'real-life' feedback).
posted by bquarters to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I assume that the domestic travel next month is by air? From the TSA:
Acceptable IDs include:

U.S. passport

U.S. passport card
A foreign government-issued passport

Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card

Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)

Non-US/Canadian citizens are not required to carry their passports if they have documents issued by the U.S. government such as Permanent Resident Cards. Those who do not should be carrying their passports while visiting the U.S.
Since you're a Canadian citizen (I assume), that last bit doesn't apply to you. I would call that a "yes" rather than a "strong maybe".
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:30 AM on January 14, 2011

Is it possible for you to just go to the DMV and get a US driver's license? In some states at least, your H1-B visa is valid for that. (Though it might have to expire the same time your H1-B expires.)
posted by Andrhia at 5:32 AM on January 14, 2011

(Oh, sorry, I see you have no more days off. But... some DMVs have weekend hours, too...)
posted by Andrhia at 5:33 AM on January 14, 2011

I just flew domestically in the US with my Canadian driver's license. I don't like bringing my passport with me when I travel because I feel it's more likely to be lost or stolen. But honestly, in this case I just forgot to pack it. I also don't carry my visa documents with me within the US but a) I'm white and b) not in a border state. I figure I can send someone to my house to mail me my passport if worse comes to worst.

It's too bad you can't get back to Canada to get a passport renewal. Last time when I need one in a hurry to get back to my job (both when my passport expired and after it was stolen) it took me a couple hours at the passport office to get a new one.
posted by hydrobatidae at 9:59 AM on January 14, 2011

Definitely try to get your passport renewed. I just got mine, and it arrived within 2 weeks. They told me it would take 3.
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 10:37 AM on January 14, 2011

Ok, thanks so much you guys! I just wanted to hear that someone had actually done it and that also my passport was unlikely to take forever/get lost in the mail!! I'm paranoid so that's why I interpret 'yesses' as strong maybes!! Could also relate to my social life too..hmm.:) Thanks again, I will still (!) probably print out the TSA requirements (just in case I need to validate my argument at the border!) Anyway, I appreciate the help!
posted by bquarters at 1:38 PM on January 14, 2011

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