Are you 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.

Status card validity during COVID-19 pandemic

For information on the extension of the validity date of status cards and Temporary Confirmation of Registration Documents, visit Indian status.

To find out how to apply for COVID-19-related benefits, visit Coronavirus and Indigenous communities.

Canada-U.S. border-crossing issues

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 Services Canada (ISC) has been informed 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 valid, to cross the Canada–U.S. border at both land and marine ports of entry.

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If your status card is no longer valid, you may have difficulty crossing the Canada–U.S. border.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

Machine-readable zone

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 persons registered under the Indian Act.

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 can't be used to cross the Canada−U.S. border by air.

Entering the United States 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 If you need a passport in less than 30 days.

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. This 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 Nation office.

To request a letter of ancestry from ISC, contact Public enquiries.

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