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We have passport cards. Read that we need to renew to passport book ($131/each). Our cruise ends at Vancouver, Canada from a start in Fairbanks. Looking to rent a car and explore Victoria, Vancouver, & Seattle. If we are crossing to U.S. by car and will get a flight from Seattle to home (Texas), will not the passport cards be all we need? Having a difficult time finding this info online. Anybody share info on this and maybe a contact email for customs or border immigration?

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We have passport cards. Read that we need to renew to passport book ($131/each). Our cruise ends at Vancouver, Canada from a start in Fairbanks. Looking to rent a car and explore Victoria, Vancouver, & Seattle. If we are crossing to U.S. by car and will get a flight from Seattle to home (Texas), will not the passport cards be all we need? Having a difficult time finding this info online. Anybody share info on this and maybe a contact email for customs or border immigration?

 

 

 

I will not use the cards. I have one, only use it as my ID. You should be ok in canada but never use it for caribbean. I keep it in the safe and use id card for everything else. If for any reason it gets stolen the card will get you thru.

 

 

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Can you rent a car in Canada and return it in US?
Yes you can. At least when I looked up the pricing and filled out the forms online. $164/day. But here is the biggy! Our airfare drops dramatically and we can get a non stop flight Seattle to Houston - not so from Vancouver to Houston. So that will cover a one day car rental and we'll get to explore Victoria, Vancouver & Seattle a bit. Some nice Bed&Breakfast in a very historic area.

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I will not use the cards. I have one, only use it as my ID. You should be ok in canada but never use it for caribbean. I keep it in the safe and use id card for everything else. If for any reason it gets stolen the card will get you thru.

 

 

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We had to have the passport cards on disembarkation from Belize back to Galveston at customs.

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I will not use the cards. I have one, only use it as my ID. You should be ok in canada but never use it for caribbean. I keep it in the safe and use id card for everything else. If for any reason it gets stolen the card will get you thru.

 

 

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Why won’t you use it in the Caribbean? We travel to USVI and I was thinking of getting of them for the times when we charter a boat to go to BVI. I also figured it would be useful on cruises.

 

 

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We have passport cards. Read that we need to renew to passport book ($131/each). Our cruise ends at Vancouver, Canada from a start in Fairbanks. Looking to rent a car and explore Victoria, Vancouver, & Seattle. If we are crossing to U.S. by car and will get a flight from Seattle to home (Texas), will not the passport cards be all we need? Having a difficult time finding this info online. Anybody share info on this and maybe a contact email for customs or border immigration?

 

 

Check out the information here...

 

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/card.html

 

 

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There's literally just one thing that the passport book does which the card does not - let you fly internationally. As long as you come back to Seattle by sea or land from Victoria or Vancouver respectively, you're good to go. You can also do a Skagway into Canada railroad or bus trip no problem.

 

I'd look at renting a car in Vancouver, taking it by ferry to the Island, and dropping it in Victoria before boarding the Clipper as a foot-only passenger. Still want to drive around Seattle area, rent another car. While it's quite possible to legally drop cars in the US which were rented in Canada, and you can even avoid drop fees in big cities like Seattle with a bit of shopping around, taking a car on the ferries from Victoria back to the US isn't cheap (and you can't go right to Seattle - the vehicle ferry only goes to Port Angeles). Plus, car rental in the US is cheaper than in Canada in general.

 

Cars on BC ferries cost a similar amount (about $65, but in CAD not USD) but the advantage to your own wheels is you can get to the terminals without a VERY pricey cab ride or a VERY uncomfortable bus ride (buses do not have luggage space - technically you are supposed to keep all your bags on or under your knees, as blocking another seat, the aisle, or wheelchair/bike space incurs being kicked off and/or a hefty fine...). You NEED a car on the Island, unless you literally just want to see Victoria (and there are some really, realise nice parts that are nowhere near Vic - it's a pretty durn big island!)

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Most major car vendors allow one-way rentals between the US and Canada.

 

First, check with your cruiseline to see what their documentation requirements are.

Also, if you have any activities planned with a vendor in Skagway that take you across the border, be sure to find out what their documentation requirements are.

 

The State Dept has info on the passport card. It appears to be for land travel only, for entry into the US. Look at #4 under the FAQ.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/faqs.html#card

 

I'm not a US citizen so I don't have firsthand knowledge. (can't imagine not having a valid passport)

 

The Canada Border Services web site is another resource you need to explore, or call for clarification.

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/ivc-rnc-eng.html

 

BTW, Victoria is not a quick and easy jaunt from Vancouver. It takes about 40 minutes to drive from downtown to the ferry terminal, the ferry takes 90 minutes to reach Sidney, then it's another 30 minute drive from Sidney to Victoria. And taking the car on a ferry is quite expensive.

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I had not even considered the cost to do the ferry crossing. Trip would be rent in Vancouver, ferry to Victoria, do Butchart Gardens, poke around Victoria, Maybe stay overnight there, back over ferry, drive to Seattle, drop at air port or closeby, then fly out. I'll check ferry prices b4 we plan this end cruise excursion. Might get expensive but we'll most likely only be there one time.

Also, thanks for the customs links. Sent them a message.

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With the new info that you plan to do this in such a short time, my recommendation changes - abandon all thoughts of car rental (for sightseeing - it can still be an efficient way to get to SEA from Vancouver, flexibly and cheaply). Even with your own car, Vancouver island alone is worth at the very least an overnight stay; our first trip to Vancouver as tourists was five full days in the city and it wasn't enough; Seattle may suck compared to Vancouver but it's still one of the finest cities to visit on the continent and also worthy of several days. Trying to squeeze in all three with just one night is a horrible concept - you'll have time to see maybe one 'big thing' in each, and the rest of the time hustling around, driving, grabbing whatever food is nearby when you're hungry rather than enjoying a nice meal, and generally being to hassled to really appreciate any of the stuff you're doing because the clock is ticking.

 

Vancouver to Victoria by ferry is comparable to taking the Eurostar train from London to Brussels! The ferry ride is nice, some pretty views, but repeating it twice in one day is exceptionally poor value for your sightseeing time spend.

 

Given your issue with passport cards, flying domestic is your only option so of course you have to get to Seattle (although, it's just possible you may find a flight from BLI to be reasonably-priced enough to be worth an extra stop?) - since you cannot avoid a somewhat lengthy drive to your departure airport, it's all the more important to focus your even more limited time. Remember you have a border to cross - this can involve anything from mere moments of delay if you drive up to an empty gate, to 3+ hours of wait time and then however long your grilling by CBP takes.

 

Vancouver is the best of the trio - I may be biased as a local, but literally any remotely independent report from any agency backs that up over and over. Ordinarily I'd focus on doing as much as you can here including an overnight. If it's truly a one-time deal but Butchart is on your bucket list, fly there - floatplanes and choppers are ~45 mins each way including check-in time. Like most things in life speed, cost, and high-quality can appear in pairs but almost never the full set - you have to throw money at the problem in order to maximize efficiency of this trip.

 

With your flight requirements and a random border element that could potentially double your drive to SEA though, I'd actually be inclined to say you should focus on Seattle. Get yourself a rental at the pier, self-disembark in the first group, and drive straight for the border. Queues already build southbound by 8am, and the earliest you could hope for is realistically more like 8:30am, but it's generally still < 30min delay before 9 unless it's a long weekend. Schedule another vaycay outside peak cruise season when you can expect cheaper accommodation locally, and spend a week based around Vancouver & Victoria another time.

Edited by martincath

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I had not even considered the cost to do the ferry crossing. Trip would be rent in Vancouver, ferry to Victoria, do Butchart Gardens, poke around Victoria, Maybe stay overnight there, back over ferry, drive to Seattle, drop at air port or closeby, then fly out. I'll check ferry prices b4 we plan this end cruise excursion. Might get expensive but we'll most likely only be there one time.

Also, thanks for the customs links. Sent them a message.

 

To avoid backtracking coming back from Victoria and the lines at the Peace Arch border crossing, you can take a ferry from Sidney (Vancouver Island) BC to Anacortes WA. You may still get a jerk US Customs agent, but the lines are shorter. "why are you carrying 70 lbs of kitty litter if you claim not to have a cat with you?"

 

AND the ferries are not just drive up and drive on, there's a significant lead time that you need to be at the terminal and check in. AND in the summer you should purchase your tickets in advance to ensure your vehicle has a slot on the car deck.

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You are way underestimating time, Victoria is not a day trip in my opinion. Needs at least a couple nights. You need to recognize the ferry costs- they are significant, and you have to make reservations with a car- extra charge. As mentioned, in season, it isn't "drive up". I'd also suggest doing more than just Victoria. Plenty to see and do. If you're stuck with only one day, then fly to Victoria.

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Where I live, the wait might be <30 minutes unless on a busy holiday weekend. And no charge to make the crossing - run by the highway dept. - taxes pay for the service. Things sure seem different in Canada. Heck, I'm even finding it difficult to rent the car - either not available or sold out. When making the call to the rental services (Hertz and others), after ~15 minutes on the phone, find out car has to come back to pick up location. Maybe just get off ship ASAP, then get to Seattle (out of Canada) ASAP. Still looking at options - pricing, time required, etc.

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We have passport cards. Read that we need to renew to passport book ($131/each). Our cruise ends at Vancouver, Canada from a start in Fairbanks. Looking to rent a car and explore Victoria, Vancouver, & Seattle. If we are crossing to U.S. by car and will get a flight from Seattle to home (Texas), will not the passport cards be all we need? Having a difficult time finding this info online. Anybody share info on this and maybe a contact email for customs or border immigration?
Well, have not heard back from customs but all I've read on their web pages indicate driving back to U.S. we will only need the cards not book. Now if I can just find a rent car that I can pick up in Vancouver and drop at Seattle Tacoma Airport!!

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I will not use the cards. I have one, only use it as my ID. You should be ok in canada but never use it for caribbean. I keep it in the safe and use id card for everything else. If for any reason it gets stolen the card will get you thru.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

All we have are passport cards and have taken many Caribbean cruises. We use the passport cards for all of them.

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I would be very uncomfortable traveling with just the passport card. If there was an emergency you would not be able to fly with just the card. I have both the card and book. I would use ithe card on a day excursion or if I lost my passport book, as it contains my information.

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I would be very uncomfortable traveling with just the passport card. If there was an emergency you would not be able to fly with just the card. I have both the card and book. I would use ithe card on a day excursion or if I lost my passport book, as it contains my information.
We do not ever plan to fly over any international border to enter that country. Fly Houston to Fairbanks, then cruise on ship into Vancouver. We have no need for the book and even in an emergency, we will be just miles from the border so a land crossing would work. We are wanting to avoid spending the $260 for a book we will never use. That's why we are exploring the options to take the car, train or bus to Seattle. That will also save us some cash. Also a nonstop from Seattle to Houston can be had for as little as $99. It's simply a win-win for us - having no need ever for a passport book.

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Well, have not heard back from customs but all I've read on their web pages indicate driving back to U.S. we will only need the cards not book. Now if I can just find a rent car that I can pick up in Vancouver and drop at Seattle Tacoma Airport!!

Literally every major car rental does this. Stop wasting time on the phone - fire up a site like Costco (if you're a member) or Kayak, punch in Vancouver and Seattle and your dates, and see who's doing the best refundable rate from among all the major rental companies. If this is far in the future there may be a hefty drop fee, but those disappear as your date approaches and the companies have a more solid idea of how many one-way cars are needed in each direction - ideally they'll balance out so all the cars end up back in their home countries at the end of the season, but different firms may end up with unbalanced fleets so pricing will vary sometimes significantly.

 

 

If you wait until REALLY close to departure you can find incredibly cheap, even sometimes free rentals of cars that need relocated... the only difficulty is if you need a more niche vehicle like a sports car, passenger van, minivan - if you're a couple and any old car size will do you should easily get it down to <$100.

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Well, have not heard back from customs but all I've read on their web pages indicate driving back to U.S. we will only need the cards not book. Now if I can just find a rent car that I can pick up in Vancouver and drop at Seattle Tacoma Airport!!

 

 

 

I would also check with your cruise line. We are on Royal in Alaska, and having a valid passport was mandatory to board.

 

 

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Here is my take on this issue. Does it hurt you to carry the passport...?

NO....

then take it with you just in case. It can ALWAYS get you out of trouble.

The problem with the passport card is that you CAN use it, LIMITED.

HOWEVER, if for any reason, or emergency, you need to go any other country or island to in or out of cruise, you CAN NOT use the card. Be smart and bring the passport.

⬇️

⬇️

⬇️

⬇️

 

 

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Per the US Government: The U.S. Passport Card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry and is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book. The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air.

 

 

It cannot be used for international air travel (I.E. from Vancouver to Seattle by air). It can be used to go from the ship to Canada.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Passport_Card

also https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/999/~/information-about-u.s.-passport-cards

 

 

I've sent several email request out and am still waiting for answers. Thanks all.

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Depends on who you ask. I wouldn’t want to risk it and would just get the booklet version and know I’m safe than find out I’m not. Plus I’m flying into Vancouver anyway so need that regardless.

 

 

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