Travel into Canada and back
The rally update in the BMW Owner's News, April 2006, page 94, may have had an error on only needing a picture ID. That may be true if you were born in the US but if you're a naturalized citizen you should bring proof of citizenship, for example a US passport. A problem can occur when returning to the US if you were born overseas or in Canada. My wife and I along with another couple went to Canada on the spur of the moment; we had a great time. However we got a lecture at the border crossing since my wife was born overseas and my friend's wife was born in Canada. It became apparent very fast that the border guard had the authority to hold our wives at the boarder until we were able to obtain their citizenship information. Fortunately we live in New Hampshire so it would've only been about an eight hour round trip for us! Please note that the guard was not giving us a hard time but just explaining the facts - recommend anyone planning to travel into Canada bring proof of citizenship or at least check the Government travel web site to get the latest information.
Tips for travelers to Canada
This is the US State Dept web site and info page on traveling to Canada.
Crossing the border should be a breeze and sometimes it still is.
I thought OP's words were about a hassle from US Customs returning from Canada???
I crossed to the US recently at a very small crossing in Manitoba.No one was actually manning the post.I stopped for about 10 minutes,received no attention,then moved around the building(turns out I had crossed the border) and stopped again.The US guy came barrelling out at that, almost drawing his weapon.I calmed him down and finished crossing smoothly.
Passports and or birth certificates are helpful,and ,if not presently required,inevitably,soon will be.They don't cost that much and they are usually good for at least 5 years.
Call your congressman if you want the former longest undefended border(Canada/US in case you didn't know) to remain so.When I cross at a bigger crossing like the Peace Arch(which has this really moving arch and an inscription that reads "Children of a Common Mother",and it takes 2 hours of idling my V8 engine ,in gear,on the brake,while US customs grills everyone about fruit,thus causing the global warming that is killing the planet ,I go,"Hey what about racial profiling?There are 10 people in this 2 mile long line up that remotely look like they might be Arabs!!Please racially profile and pass the obviously friendly through!"
"Pass friend" should be the second words out of a border crossing dude's mouth,right after hello.
:usa Where is that darn Canadian flag smiley?Hiding in Toronto???
I would think the US has a bigger problem with its border with Mexico than with Canada(5000 illegals per day????),but that's just me.