re: passports for NANOG-39, Toronto

You may have heard that the US and Canada are going to start requiring
passports for air travel between them beginning "soon". That date is
currently set as 8 Jan 2007, which is before February NANOG. MERIT
has noted this on the web site, but a cursory check of my list
archives didn't turn up mention of it (sorry if I overlooked it; the
last couple of weeks have been hectic), so I figured I'd include the

FYI, this date only applies to air or sea (which I imagine is the bulk
of people going). However, for land crossings:

"The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires
that, by January 1, 2008, travelers to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda,
Panama, Mexico and Canada have a passport or other secure, accepted
document to enter or re-enter the United States."


The travel initiative requirements will be rolled out in phases. The
proposed implementation timeline is as follows:

December 31, 2006 - Passport required for all air and sea travel to or
from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and

December 31, 2007 - Passport required for all land border crossings, as
well as air and sea travel.

404 - Page Not Found

December 31, 2007 - Passport required for all land border crossings, as
well as air and sea travel.

If someone wants to go but does not have a passport for
whatever reason, i.e. last minute travel plans, then it
is possible to fly to Buffalo NY and make a land crossing
from there, i.e. bus or rental car. If you do want to take
a rental car across the border, you have to notify your
rental company so they can issue a non-resident insurance
card for you. As long as you have a US driver's licence this
is fairly routine. Cross the bridge to Canada and take
the QEW all the way to Toronto.

You could do the same fly-drive via Detroit but there is
a lot more driving.

--Michael Dillon

P.S. Now that you have your shiny new passports, don't
just stop at Canada. There's a whole world out there.

Indeed. Rough estimates, excluding time taken to cross the border and assuming good weather:

   BUF to Toronto: 2 hours
   DTW to Toronto: 5 hours
   CLE to Toronto: 6 hours
   LGA to Toronto: 9 hours
   BOS to Toronto: 9 hours
   ORD to Toronto: 10 hours
   IAD to Toronto: 10 hours


FWIW I live near the WA/BC (US/CDN) border and cross it often (at least twice a month) for both work and social activities, and have been using an expired US passport for the past two years with no issues. The Canadians never even ask for it. The US border folks occasionally hassle me a tiny bit, but never about the expired passport (go figure). The ONLY time the expired passport was an issue was on a flight, with my entire family from Seattle to Denver(!) where the TSA boarding pass & ID checker in airport security nearly didn't let me through. Again, go figure.

Yes, I need to renew, but as my world-travelling days for work are behind me I haven't been motivated to do so.


Don't neglect the border crossing delay. Driving home from Montreal after
the IETF, we had to wait close to two hours because of congestion at U.S.
Immigration. (Of course, that was the way home -- folks going into Canada
had virtually no wait, as best we could see...)

    --Steven M. Bellovin,

Don't neglect the border crossing delay.

I just drove back from Toronto this morning, with about a 20 minute
delay into the US. It's hard to predict, some times it takes 30
seconds, on really bad times like the end of a holiday weekend it can
take two hours.

Flying into Buffalo is an entirely reasonable alternative to flying
into Toronto. Airtran, Jetblue and Southwest all serve Buffalo, so if
you're flying from other parts of the US, it's often considerably
cheaper than YYZ. Renting a car and driving into Canada is routine,
just tell the clerk so he gives you a Canadian insurance card. From
the airport head west on NY 33 to the Thruway/I-90, then east (which
is really north) on I-90 to I-290.

There are two bridges you might take. The fastest is usually the
Lewiston/Queenston bridge; at the end of I-290 take I-190 north all
the way to the end to the bridge. After the bridge just stay on the
highway which will take you to the QEW to Toronto.

The other is the Rainbow bridge in Niagara Falls; take I-190 north,
you will pay a toll and go over a bridge onto Grand Island, then
another bridge to leave Grand Island, then immediately get off on the
Robert Moses Parkway to the falls, and the bridge is right there. If
you've never been to Niagara Falls before, stop and look at the falls
either from the US or Canadian side for a few minutes because it
really is one of the great wonders of the world. After appreciating
the scenery, take highway 420 to the QEW.

The Peace bridge in Buffalo is way out of the way, not useful for this

Culinary hint: Buffalo's greatest edible contribution to the world is
a roast beef sandwich called Beef on Weck, and the best place to get
one is Charlie the Butcher, about five minutes from the airport. Go
west on NY 33 from the airport, turn right on Cayuga St just after the
airport, go north about six blocks and it's on the left at the corner
of Wehle St. The place is not much to look at, but the governor and
Hillary both liked it enough to send them signed photos.