Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Aboriginal status cards still accepted at border

VANCOUVER - First Nations citizens will still be able to use their current status cards as approved identification at the U.S. border, despite today’s deadline requiring Canadians to present a passport or other approved identification.

While no official date has been released, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs expects to have new, approved status cards ready by September or October that will meet US requirements for entry into the country.

In the meantime, however, First Nations citizens will be allowed across “business as usual,” said Mike Milne, press officer for US Customs and Border Protection.

“Members of Canadian [nations] can continue presenting their Indian and Northern Affairs cards,” he said. “Current documentation continues to be good across the border. On both sides of the border we’re working with the nations to develop cards that meet the new security requirements, that can be read easily by our new frequency identification readers and that will enhance not only our border security, it will also help people get through faster.”

US Customs and Border Protection is also working with American tribes to create new enhanced tribal identification. For the time being, current identification is also accepted.

BC Indian and Northern Affairs said that despite the official leniency, some border officers are expecting to see the new cards due to prototypes that had been released earlier in the year. They are directing First Nations crossing the border to Canadian Border Services to avoid any problems.

The new cards are similar to enhanced drivers licenses. They will include a security strip on the back, digitalized photo and signature, and more information about the card holder, according to Indian and Northern Affairs. The cards will also be hard plastic instead of the previous paper laminate.

Christine McLaren reports for The Tyee.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus