Travel Tips

5 min read

Niagara Falls Visit: Is a Passport Your Ticket In?

Ever stood on the edge of wonder? Niagara Falls is calling—but does crossing its misty borders require a passport? Let's unravel the travel mystery that could make or break your adventure!

Tobi Miles
June 6, 2022

Niagara Falls is commonly referred to as the seventh wonder of the world, and it makes sense. The unforgettable visual of the running water against the backdrop of a blue sky is mesmerizing. So, do you need a passport to go to Niagara Falls?

You need a passport to go to Niagara Falls in Canada if you are a U.S. citizen. Canadian citizens must provide a valid ID and passport to enter the American side of Niagara Falls in New York. You have to show your vaccine card to enter Niagara Falls through Canada.

There is plenty to do on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls, but the Canadian side gives you a better view. Follow along as we explore what documents you need to go to Niagara Falls.

What Documents do U.S. Citizens Need to Travel to Niagara Falls?

U.S. citizens need a passport and government-issued ID to travel to Niagara Falls. All adult U.S. citizens need a passport to go to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls unless they are under 15 years old. You can get into Niagara Falls without a passport if you have an Enhanced Driver’s License.

However, there are only 5 states in the U.S. that can issue an Enhanced Driver’s License. Washington, Vermont, New York, Michigan, and Minnesota issue Enhanced Driver’s Licenses, but more states will follow soon. A standard driver’s license counts as a valid ID, but it will only get you into Canada if you have a passport.

U.S. citizens can also get into the Canadian side of Niagara Falls with a NEXUS card. The NEXUS program is a collaboration between the U.S. and Canada that expedites travel between both countries. This is especially helpful if you live in New York and plan to travel to Niagara Falls in Canada often.

Niagara Falls COVID Restrictions

The Canadian side of Niagara Falls requires you to present a COVID vaccine card. You also need a COVID vaccine card to go to the U.S. side of Niagara Falls. Travelers no longer need to present a negative COVID test to get to Niagara Falls on the U.S. or Canadian side.

The CDC and WHO both recommend that you practice COVID-19 safety protocols when you visit Niagara Falls. This includes wearing masks when you are around other people and washing your hands or using hand sanitizer. You are only considered fully vaccinated if you received the second vaccine within 14 days.

Canada is scheduled to end their COVID vaccine mandate for travelers on June 30th, 2022. However, that date is subject to change and they could institute another vaccine mandate in the future.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Niagara Falls

What Can You do at Niagara Falls Without a Passport?

You can only go to the United States side of Niagara Falls without a passport. This only applies to U.S. citizens visiting Niagara Falls in upstate New York. International travelers cannot visit the U.S. or Canadian side of Niagara Falls without a passport.

United States citizens aren’t allowed to walk, drive, or bike on the famous Rainbow Bridge without a passport. You can enjoy gorgeous views from the U.S. side of Niagara Falls, but you can’t see it all without entering Canada.

Luckily, you can still visit Niagara Falls State Park without a passport as it is located in New York. Visit Gorgeous waterfalls such as Bridal Veil Falls and American Falls are both visible from the United States side. U.S. citizens can see plenty of Niagara falls without a passport, but crossing the border gives you the full view.

Do You Need a Vaccine to go to Niagara Falls?

You need to be vaccinated against COVID to go to Niagara Falls in Canada. International travelers must also be vaccinated to go to the U.S. side of Niagara Falls in New York. The CDC and WHO recommend that you are vaccinated against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, shingles, and chickenpox amongst other ailments when you go to Canada.

However, you won’t be asked to provide proof of vaccination against such ailments at the U.S. or Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Travelers in Canada are at moderate risk of contracting rabies, but it doesn’t hurt to be vaccinated against it.

Airborne illnesses such as pneumonia and influenza are present in any country. Both can be serious if untreated, so it’s smart to get vaccinated for both before you travel to Niagara Falls on either side of the border.

Do You Need a Passport to go to Canada by Car?

You need a passport to go to Canada by car if you are an adult. Canadian border officials will also require a valid driver’s license or government-issued ID when you go to Canada by car. Children under the age of 16 years old don’t need a passport if they are U.S. citizens.

However, children under 16 years old still need a photo ID and or copy of their birth certificate. This is so that Canadian border officials can verify your relationship with the child. You need to bring a notarized travel consent form if you bring the child into Canada without the other parent present.

Make sure that your vehicle registration is up to date when you go to Canada by car. You will be denied entry to Canada if your vehicle registration doesn’t match your ID or is invalid. Border officials will also flag you and possibly search the vehicle if the vehicle is registered to someone else.

Related Read: 30 Best Audiobooks for Family Road Trips

Can You Walk on the Rainbow Bridge Without a Passport?

You cannot walk on the Rainbow Bridge without a passport if you are a U.S. citizen. The Rainbow Bridge is located outside of the limits of the U.S. side of Niagara Falls. It connects the U.S. and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls.

It takes roughly 5 minutes to walk across the Rainbow Bridge once your passport and ID are approved. The Rainbow Bridge is one of 3 international bridges that connect Canada and the United States. You must leave the United States to access Rainbow Bridge as it is considered to be part of Canada.

Can You go to Niagara Falls Without Going Into Canada?

You can go to Niagara Falls without going into Canada as part of it is located in upstate New York. Niagara State Park is a popular destination and there are several boat tours that you can take without going into Canada. You can also visit Old Fort Niagara without going into Canada as a U.S. citizen.

Cave of the Winds is arguably the most popular tourist attraction on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls. You don’t need to go to Canada to experience the power of the waterfalls if you visit the Cave of the Winds. It gives you an up-close and personal view of Bridal Veil Falls.

However, you must exercise caution at the Cave of the Winds as can easily get wet. It is recommended to go to Canada to get the full Niagara Falls experience, but it isn’t necessary.

Do You Need a Visa to go to Niagara Falls?

You can stay in Niagara Falls in Canada for up to 180 days without a visa as a United States citizen. It only costs $100 to get a visa to go to Canada as a U.S. citizen. Canadian visas are good for up to 10 years and allow you to visit Canada for 6 months at a time.

However, your visa won’t be valid if your U.S. passport is one month away from expiring. You can also apply for a Super Visa to go to Canada which is even more lenient. U.S. residents that have a Super Visa can stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time and it lasts for 10 years.

You will have your access revoked if you stay in Canada for over 6 months with a Single-Entry Visa. This can prevent you from applying for a Super Visa or Single-Entry Visa in the future.

Is Niagara Falls Considered International Travel?

Niagara Falls is considered international travel if you cross a border to visit either side. Even U.S. citizens traveling to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls need a passport and government-issued ID to visit. Residents of countries outside of the U.S. or Canada must have a passport to visit either side of Niagara Falls.

The Niagara River runs through both the U.S. and Canada, so it is considered international water. There is no leniency for U.S. citizens entering Niagara Falls in Canada even if they are Niagara Falls, New York residents. You are in a different country as soon as you cross the border into the U.S. or Canada, despite how close they are in proximity.

Can I Bring My Dog to Niagara Falls?

You can bring your dog to Niagara Falls in Canada if you keep it on a leash. The dog is only allowed to be in public areas such as the Niagara Parkway. Dog owners are encouraged to pick up after their dogs to keep the space beautiful and fun for the other tourists.

Canada will deny your dog entry to the country if you cannot prove that your dog is vaccinated against rabies. The only exception to this rule is if your dog is younger than 3 months old, otherwise, vaccines are required. Take your dog to a veterinarian to get documentation that it is vaccinated against rabies and has been dewormed.

The documentation must also describe the dog so that border officials can confirm it is yours. You can also bring your dog to Niagara State Park in upstate New York on the United States side. However, you can only bring your dog to the footpaths and green spaces that are designated for park-goers.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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