Crossing the Canada-U.S. border with a status card

Find out which status cards can be used to cross the Canada−U.S. border if you are registered under the Indian Act.

On this page

Canada-U.S. border-crossing issues

The Government of Canada is working in partnership with First Nations communities to address 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.

To find out more about border crossing, visit the Canada Border Services Agency’s website:

Machine-readable zone

As of February 1, 2019, all new and renewed secure status cards are issued with a machine-readable zone to facilitate Canada–U.S. border crossing for persons registered under the Indian Act.

By land or water

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) has been informed that U.S. border officials will accept any valid version of the secure status card and any valid version of the status card to cross the Canada–U.S. border at both land and marine ports of entry.

Acceptance of those status cards is 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If your status card is no longer valid, you may have difficulty crossing the Canada–U.S. border.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 valid.

By air


The secure status card and the status card aren’t official travel documents and can't be used to cross the Canada−U.S. border by air.

To enter the United States by air, you must have a valid passport or a document that complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For urgent passport services in Canada, visit Canadian passports.

What you should know about living and working in the United States as a registered person

As a person registered under the Indian Act entering the United States to live or work, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may ask you to provide documentation to prove the percentage of Indian blood required under U.S. law. That documentation must come from either your First Nation or from ISC.

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

To request a letter of First Nation membership, contact your First Nations office.

To request a letter of ancestry from ISC, visit Get help researching your ancestry.

Related links

Did you find what you were looking for?

What was wrong?

You will not receive a reply. Don't include personal information (telephone, email, SIN, financial, medical, or work details).
Maximum 300 characters

Thank you for your feedback

Date modified: