Canada Border Services Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Fact Sheet

June 2012

Automated Border Clearance Program

Automated Border Clearance (ABC) is an innovative concept that uses self-service kiosk technology to partially automate the Primary Inspection Line processing of eligible travellers (Canadian citizens with a valid Canadian passport and Canadian permanent residents (PR) with a valid Canadian PR card) returning to Canada.

ABC offers a secure and viable alternative for the processing of eligible travellers by the CBSA. The benefits of ABC include reduced queue times, less congestion in the Primary inspection areas and increased passenger satisfaction with border processing procedures.

The ABC program is currently available at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to eligible travellers. This program will be expanded to other select international airports across Canada in future years.

Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents who have a valid Canadian passport or Canadian permanent resident card have the option of using an Automated Border Clearance kiosk to clear the border upon returning to Canada. While ABC improves processing capacity, it does not eliminate human interaction between travellers and officers. Eligible travellers who choose to use the kiosks will continue to be verified by a CBSA officer.

ABC does not compromise Canada’s national security or public safety. It streamlines a portion of the border clearance process by allowing eligible passengers to complete the technological and administrative components through the use of a kiosk. The self-serve kiosks are quick and easy to use, and involve no registration process or fee. One person can make a declaration for up to four people using one kiosk, provided they all live at the same address.

Using Automated Border Clearance kiosks

Image describing how to use Automated Border Clearance kiosks

The traveller must follow these steps: 

  • Complete a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Declaration Card (Form E311) prior to using the ABC kiosk.
  • Travellers do not have to be registered users or pay a fee to use an ABC kiosk.
  • Proceed to the ABC kiosks located in the Primary inspection area, activate the kiosk by touching the screen and then select the language of their choice at the Welcome Screen.
  • The kiosks can process up to four travellers listed on the same Declaration Card with the same residential address.
  • Insert each Canadian passport or Canadian permanent resident card one at a time into the kiosk document reader. Similar to the process at the Primary Inspection Line, the kiosk optically scans the Machine Readable Zone of the travel document and sends this data to be verified against the CBSA’s enforcement database checks.
  • After the travel document information has been captured, the traveller is prompted to insert their completed E311 card into the kiosk.
  • A digital scan will be taken of the E311 card and the kiosk software will digitally interpret the content of the E311.
  • If clarification to the traveller responses on the E311 card is required, the traveller is prompted to follow the onscreen instructions and answer additional questions to clarify some of the responses.
  • The kiosk also uses warning messages to advise travellers if the kiosk encounters a problem (e.g. travel document inserted incorrectly; incomplete declaration card). The traveller will follow onscreen instructions to proceed.
  • The kiosk will issue a printed receipt once the transaction is completed.
  • The traveller then proceeds to a designated border services officer (BSO) at the next checkpoint to present their travel document and kiosk receipt for verification of identity and document validation.
  • The traveller may be asked to proceed to another BSO who performs the triage duties. This BSO examines referral codes on the kiosk receipt and determines whether the traveller must undergo further processing (e.g. cashier, agricultural secondary referrals, etc.) and may override those that do not require further examination.

Helpful tips

Before using Automated Border Clearance, travellers should have the following items readily available:

  • a completed CBSA Declaration Card
  • a valid Canadian passport or Canadian permanent resident card
  • receipts for all purchases made abroad

For more information, visit or call the Border Information Service line at 1-800-461-9999.