Are you crossing the Canada–U.S. border as a Status Indian?

Find out about crossing the Canada−U.S. border as a Status Indian and which status cards can be used.

The Government of Canada is working in partnership with First Nations communities to attend to long-standing Canada−U.S. border-crossing issues. To find out more about what is being done, visit Canada implements measures to address Canada−U.S. border crossing issues for First Nations.

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Can you use a status card to cross the border?

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) has been advised that U.S. border officials will accept any version of the Secure Certificate of Indian Status and any version of the Certificate of Indian Status, if still valid, to cross the Canada–U.S. border at both land and marine ports of entry.

The Government of Canada cautions that the acceptance of those status cards is entirely at the discretion of the U.S. government.

If your status card is no longer valid, you may have difficulty crossing the Canada–U.S. border. To find out which cards are currently valid, visit Is your status card still valid.

As of February 1, 2019, all new and renewed Secure Certificates of Indian Status are issued with a machine-readable zone to facilitate Canada–U.S. border crossing for First Nations.

Can you use a status card to cross the border by air?

The Secure Certificate of Indian Status and the Certificate of Indian Status are not official travel documents and cannot be used to cross the Canada−U.S. border by air. Only a passport holds that designation in Canada.

Entering the United States by air requires a valid passport or a document that complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For urgent passport services in Canada, visit Get urgent, express, weekend and statutory holiday emergency passport service in Canada.

What should you know about living and working in the United States as a Status Indian?

When entering the United States to live or work, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may request that you provide documentation to establish the percentage of Indian blood required under U.S. law. This documentation must come from either your First Nation or from INAC.

To find out more about obtaining permanent residence in the United States based on Indian ancestry, visit Green Card for an American Indian Born in Canada.

To request a letter of band membership, contact your First Nation or band.

To request a letter of ancestry from INAC, contact INAC Public Enquiries.

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