This publication provides an overview of the laws, restrictions, entitlements and obligations that apply to people who enter Canada as visitors, seasonal residents or temporary residents. For the purpose of this publication, temporary residents are defined as individuals who enter Canada to work for nomore than 36 months or to study.
The information was accurate when it was published; however, legislative provisions and requirements can change at any time. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) makes every effort to provide timely updates to this publication and its Web site.
If you have information about suspicious cross-border activity, please call the CBSA Border Watch toll-free line at 1-888-502-9060.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) operates at some 1,200 service points across Canada and 39 locations abroad. It employs approximately 13,000 public servants who handle over 12 million commercial releases and more than 95 million travellers each year.
The CBSA's role is to manage the nation's border by administering and enforcing over 90 domestic laws that govern trade and travel, as well as international agreements and conventions.
The CBSA delivers innovative border management through a network of dedicated professionals who work strategically with domestic and international partners to ensure that Canada remains secure and responsive to new and emerging threats. The CBSA also intercepts, detains and removes those persons who pose a threat to Canada or who have been determined to be inadmissible.
Border services officers are at Canada's entry points to help you when you arrive in Canada. The CBSA is committed to providing efficient, courteous service. At designated bilingual offices, the officers will serve you in the official language of your choice. If you require more detailed information that is not provided in this publication, please call the Border Information Service (BIS) at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information".
You will find this publication helpful if you are:
It provides information on the goods you can import when you come for a visit; it describes the special benefit that applies if you own a residence in Canada for seasonal use or lease one for a minimum period of 36 months; and/or if you are planning to work in Canada for less than 36 months or to study.
For a printed summary of the information in this document, you may consult one of the following publications:
These publications are available at all the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) offices, on the CBSA Web site (Guides & Brochures) or by calling the Border Information Service (BIS) at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information".
When you enter Canada, a border services officer may ask to see your passport and a valid visa (if you are arriving from a country from which one is required). If you are a United States citizen (U.S.), you do not need a passport to enter Canada; however, you should carry proof of your citizenship such as a birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization or a Certificate of Indian Status, as well as a photo ID. If you are a permanent resident of the U.S., you must bring your permanent resident card with you.
All travellers, including U.S. citizens, are encouraged to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Web site at www.cbp.gov for information on the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and its traveller requirements to enter or return to the United States.
Border services officers are on alert for children who need protection. Children under the age of 18 seeking to enter Canada are classified as minors and are subject to the entry requirements set out under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
A more detailed examination will be conducted for minors entering Canada without proper identification or those travelling in the company of adults other than their parents or legal guardian(s). This additional scrutiny helps ensure the safety of the children.
Minor children travelling alone must have proof of citizenship. We also strongly recommend that the children carry a letter from both parents (if applicable) that authorizes the person meeting them to take care of them while they are in Canada. The letter should include the length of the stay and the address and telephone numbers of the parents.
If you are travelling with minors, you must carry proper identification for each child such as a birth certificate, passport, citizenship card, permanent resident card or Certificate of Indian Status. If you are not the parent or guardian of the children, you should also have written permission from the parent/guardian authorizing the trip. The letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or guardian can be reached.
Divorced or separated parents should carry custody or legal separation documents and/or a letter of authorization to facilitate their entry into Canada.
If you are travelling with a group of vehicles, make sure you arrive at the border in the same vehicle as your children, to avoid any confusion.
If you are suffering from a communicable disease upon your arrival to Canada, or if you have been in close contact with someone with a communicable disease, you are obligated to inform a border services officer or a quarantine officer, who can determine if you require further assessment. If you become ill after your arrival in Canada, consult a Canadian doctor and inform the doctor where you were and what, if any, treatment or medical care you've received (e.g. medications, blood transfusions, injections, dental care or surgery).
As a visitor, you can bring certain goods into Canada for your own use as "personal baggage". Personal baggage includes clothing, camping and sports equipment, cameras and personal computers. It also includes vehicles, private boats and aircraft.
You must declare all goods when you arrive at the first CBSA port of entry. Border services officers do conduct examinations of goods being imported or exported to verify declarations. If you declare goods when you arrive and take them back with you when you leave, you will not have to pay any duty or taxes. These goods cannot be:
The border services officer may ask you to leave a security deposit for your goods, which will be refunded to you when you export the goods from Canada. Should this occur, the officer will issue a Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit, retain a copy and give you one for your records. When you leave Canada, present your goods and your copy of Form E29B to the officer who will give you a receipt copy of the form and your security deposit will be refunded by mail.
You can import gifts for friends into Canada duty- and tax-free as long as each gift is valued at CAN$60 or less. If the gift is worth more than CAN$60, you will have to pay duty and taxes on the excess amount. You cannot claim alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or business-related material as gifts.
You can find information on streamlined border processes by going to the International Events section of the A-Z Index of the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca. These streamlined border processes facilitate the entry and exit of people and goods temporarily entering Canada to participate in conventions, international sporting competitions, political summits, research expeditions, meetings, trade shows and incentive travel.
If you are an American resident, you can transport goods through Canada to the United States. To simplify the clearance process, carry three copies of the list of goods you are transporting. The list should include the description and value of the goods, as well as the serial numbers (if applicable). You should pack consumable goods such as alcohol, tobacco and food in containers that the border services officers can close and seal when you arrive.
If you are a non-resident of Canada and you acquire or lease a residence in Canada for seasonal use for at least 36 months, you have a one-time entitlement to furnish the residence with certain goods, duty- and tax-free. This does not apply to a mobile or portable home, a time-share residence, a residence that you will share with a resident of Canada or a residence that you will rent or lease to others in your absence.
Before arriving in Canada, you should prepare two copies of a list (preferably typewritten) of all the goods you intend to bring into Canada as your personal effects. Include the value, make, model and serial number (when applicable).
Divide the list into two sections. In the first, list the goods you are bringing with you; in the second, list the goods that will follow at a later date. Goods that arrive later will only qualify for duty- and tax-free importation under your entitlement as a seasonal resident if they are on the original list.
When you arrive in Canada to occupy your seasonal residence, for the first time, you must give both copies of your list of goods to the border services officer, as well as provide proof of ownership or a long-term lease for your seasonal residence.
Based on the list of goods you submitted, the border services officer, at the first port of entry, will complete a Form B4, Personal Effects Accounting Document for you, assign a file number and give you a copy of the completed form, as a receipt. Keep this receipt as proof that you have permanently imported these goods. You can make the process easier by filling out Form B4, as completely as possible, in advance. Form B4 is available by selecting "Publications and forms" on the CBSA Web site.
For your personal effects to qualify for duty- and tax-free importation under your seasonal resident entitlement, you must have owned, possessed and used them before you arrive to occupy the seasonal residence for the first time.
If you sell or give your goods away within the first year of importing them into Canada, duty- and tax-free, you will have to pay any applicable duty and taxes immediately. If you divert the goods for commercial use, the same rule applies.
As part of your seasonal resident entitlement, you can include goods for your personal use only, such as removable furniture, appliances, household effects and tools you use to maintain your seasonal residence.
Items that are for commercial or business use, as well as those designed to be permanently affixed to a building (such as construction materials, electrical and plumbing fixtures, windows, doors and screens), do not qualify under your seasonal resident entitlement. These items are subject to the usual customs duty and taxes.
If you are a seasonal resident and your goods fall within the duty- and tax-free exemption under the seasonal resident provision, you do not have to pay any duty, the goods and services tax (GST), provincial sales tax or harmonized sales tax on those goods, regardless of your intended destination in Canada. However, if your goods fall outside the provision, you will have to pay duty (where applicable) and the GST on those goods.
When entering Canada to work for less than 36 months or to study, you can temporarily import your personal and household goods (such as furniture, tableware, silverware, appliances and motor vehicles) duty-and tax-free, as long as the following conditions are met:
Prior to their arrival in Canada, temporary residents are advised to prepare two copies of a list (preferably typewritten) of all items to be imported temporarily, indicating the approximate value, make, model and serial number, where applicable.
Since jewellery is difficult to describe accurately, it is best to use the wording from your insurance policy or jeweller's appraisal and to include photographs that have been dated and signed by the jeweller or a gemologist. This information makes it easier to identify the jewellery when you first enter Canada, and later if you return from a trip abroad with this jewellery.
When you arrive in Canada, you should give your list of goods that are accompanying you to the border services officer at the first point of arrival in Canada. The border services officer may ask you to leave a security deposit for your goods, which will be refunded to you when you export the goods from Canada. Should this occur, the officer will issue a Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit, retain a copy and give you one for your records.
On arrival, you are required to provide adequate identification and proof of your status in Canada (i.e., documentation issued by CBSA/CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada), such as your work permit or study permit). If you are entering Canada to work, you should provide a letter of introduction from your employer.
After the initial arrival to take up residence in Canada, temporary residents may not claim free importation of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or other consumable items under the temporary resident entitlement. Such commodities may, however, be imported under the personal exemption entitlements as described in the publication called Travelling Outside Canada available on the CBSA Web site or by calling the Border Information Service at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section "Additional information".
Temporary residents are reminded to pay attention to the date when the temporary admission permit for their goods is due to expire. A few days before it expires, visit your local CBSA office and arrange for a renewal. The border services officer will want to know if you still have in your possession all the non-consumable goods you brought with you to Canada and whether you have changed your address and telephone number.
Should you change your immigration status with CIC after arriving in Canada, or decide to work for a period longer than 36 months, it is important that you notify the CBSA immediately since this may affect your residential status.
Once you have completed your work or studies in Canada and you are about to return to your permanent place of residence, advise the nearest CBSA office when and how your personal effects will be exported from Canada. The border services officer will tell you what steps you should take. Be sure to leave a forwarding address. Any refunds you are entitled to will be mailed to the address you provide.
As a visitor or a temporary resident, you may import, free of duty and taxes, the following amounts of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, as long as these items are in your possession when you arrive in Canada.
Alcoholic beverages are products that exceed 0.5% alcohol by volume. If you meet the minimum age requirements of the province or territory where you enter Canada, you can include limited quantities of alcoholic beverages in your personal entitlement. Minimum ages for the importation of alcoholic beverages, as prescribed by provincial or territorial authorities, are as follows: 18 years for Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec; and 19 years for the remaining provinces and territories.
You are allowed to import only one of the following amounts of alcoholic beverages free of duty and taxes:
The CBSA classifies "cooler" products according to the alcoholic beverage they contain. For example, beer coolers are considered to be beer and wine coolers are considered to be wine. Beverages not exceeding 0.5% alcohol by volume are not considered to be alcoholic beverages.
The quantities of alcohol you can bring in must be within the limit set by the province or territory where you enter Canada. If the value of the goods is more than the free allowance, you will have to pay duty and taxes, as well as provincial/territorial assessment on the excess amount. In Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, you cannot bring more than the free allowance. For more information, check with the appropriate provincial or territorial liquor control authority before your arrival to Canada.
You are allowed to bring all of the following amounts of tobacco into Canada free of duty and taxes:
In addition, the Excise Act, 2001 also limits the quantity of tobacco products that can be imported (or possessed) by an individual for personal use if the tobacco product is not packaged and stamped "CANADA DUTY PAID ● DROIT ACQUITTÉ." The limit is currently five units of tobacco products. One unit of tobacco products consists of one of the following:
If you are importing or exporting monetary instruments equal to or greater than CAN$10,000 (or the equivalent in a foreign currency), you must report the amount to the CBSA when you arrive or before you leave Canada. This applies to either cash or other monetary instruments. For more information, please refer to the publication called Crossing the border with $10,000 or more? that is available on the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca under "Publications and forms."
The importation of certain goods is restricted in Canada. The following are examples of some of these goods. Make sure you have the information you require before attempting to import these items. You can obtain further information by consulting the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca or by calling the BIS at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information".
You must declare all weapons and firearms at the CBSA port of entry when you enter Canada. If not, you could face prosecution and the goods may be seized.
For more detailed information on importing a firearm into Canada, see the publication called Importing a Firearm or Weapon Into Canada or call the BIS at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information".
For information about applying for a Canadian firearms licence or a firearms registration certificate, or to obtain an Application for an Authorization to Transport Restricted Firearms and Prohibited Firearms (Form CAFC 679) in advance, please contact:
Canadian Firearms Program
Ottawa ON K1A 0R2
Telephone: 1-800-731-4000 (toll-free in Canada and the United States)
506-624-5380 (from all other countries)
Web site: www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca
You are required to have written authorization and permits to bring explosives, fireworks and certain types of ammunition into Canada. For more information contact:
Explosives Regulatory Division
Natural Resources Canada
1431 Merivale Road
Ottawa ON K1A 0G1
Web site: www.nrcan.gc.ca
U.S. residents are allowed to operate aircraft, marine, amateur, citizens' band (CB), General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS) radios as well as cellular and PCS (personal communications service) mobile radio telephones in Canada without explicit permission from Industry Canada. If you are not a U.S. resident, you will need permission from Industry Canada to use this equipment. For more information, contact Industry Canada by e-mail at email@example.com or visit their Web site at www.ic.gc.ca.
If you import vehicles, farm equipment or other capital equipment to use in construction, contracting or manufacturing, or other goods to use or to be used in a trade, you have to pay the goods and services tax (GST) and any applicable duty on these items.
To monitor the effects of imports on Canadian manufacturers, there are import controls on items such as clothing, handbags and textiles. These controls are outlined in the Export and Import Permits Act. Depending on the value, quantity or type of goods you intend to import, you may need an import permit even if you qualify for a personal exemption. For more information, call the BIS at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information" or contact:
Export and Import Controls Bureau
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0G2
Web site: www.international.gc.ca
The Hazardous Products Act prohibits the importation of consumer products that could pose a danger to the public, e.g. baby walkers, jequirity beans (often found in art or beadwork). Visitors, seasonal residents and other temporary residents should be aware of consumer products that have safety requirements in Canada. Many of these safety requirements are stricter than requirements for other countries. For more information about prohibited and restricted products, contact Health Canada:
Telephone: 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free in Canada)
1-613-952-1014 (from all other countries)
Web site: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/cps
All food, plants, animals, and related products must be declared. Food can carry disease, such as E. coli. Plants and plant products can carry invasive alien species, such as the Asian Long-Horned Beetle. Animals and animal products can carry diseases, such as avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease. Furthermore, certain species of plants and animals are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and their trade is carefully controlled. Because of these risks, the Government of Canada regulates the import of certain food, plants, animals and related products to and from Canada.
Based on emerging threats, the import requirements for food, plants, animals and related products are subject to change on a daily basis. To determine the most up-to-date import requirements for these items, refer to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) at www.inspection.gc.ca. AIRS is an automated reference tool that will lead you through a series of questions about the food, plant, animal or related product you wish to import to determine the applicable regulations, policies and import requirements.
CITES import requirements do not appear in AIRS. If you have questions about importing a CITES species, visit www.ec.gc.ca/nature or call the Canadian Wildlife Service at 1-800-668-6767.
In addition to the import requirements established by the CFIA and CITES, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has set limits on the quantity and/or dollar value of certain food products you can bring into Canada duty-free or that can be included in your personal exemption. Unless you have an import permit from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada for quantities over and above the established limits, you will have to pay duty ranging from 150 percent to 300 percent of the value of the goods.
For more information, refer to the food, plant and animal section of the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca or call the BIS at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section "Additional information".
You cannot import prohibited goods such as obscene material, hate propaganda and child pornography into Canada.
You cannot import used or second-hand mattresses into Canada unless you have a certificate verifying that the mattresses have been cleaned and fumigated in the country of export. A letter, or any other document that clearly demonstrates that this requirement has been met, is acceptable if it is signed by a person qualified in cleaning and fumigation.
In Canada, health products may be regulated differently than they are in other countries. For example, what is available without a prescription in one country may require a prescription in Canada. Canada, like many other countries, has restrictions on the quantities and types of health products that can be brought into the country. For more information regarding health products and their importation into Canada please consult Health Canada at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.
Certain antiquities or cultural objects, considered to have historical significance to their country of origin, cannot be brought into Canada without the appropriate export permits. Before you import such items, you should contact:
Movable Cultural Property
15 Eddy Street, 3rd floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0M5
Web site: www.pch.gc.ca
If you arrive in Canada by general aviation aircraft (carrying no more than 15 people including crew) or by private boat, you must report to the CBSA using a telephone reporting centre (TRC) prior to your arrival, and you must land at a designated port of entry. In an emergency situation, such as under severe weather conditions, you may have to land your boat or aircraft at a place that is not designated. In this case, you have to report your circumstances to the nearest CBSA office or to the RCMP. For more information, refer to the publication called Coming to Canada by Small Aircraft or Recreational Boat that is available on the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca under "Publications and forms".
If you arrive by private or corporate aircraft, the pilot must call the TRC at 1-888-226-7277 at least two hours, but no more than 48 hours, before arriving in Canada. If your flight originates outside North America, call one of the following numbers. Long-distance charges will apply. We recommend you choose the area closest to your point of arrival.
|Hamilton, ON||905-679-2073||905-679-6877||Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada|
|Victoria, BC||250-363-0222||250-363-0759||All provinces and territories west of the Manitoba-Ontario border|
Hours of service vary by airport and are subject to change. For the current listing of airports of entry, visit the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca or call the BIS at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information".
If you arrive in Canada aboard a private boat, you must proceed directly to the nearest designated telephone reporting marine site. Upon arrival in Canada, the master of the boat must report to the CBSA by calling 1-888-226-7277. The master of the boat will provide details of the voyage, the passengers and their declaration. No one except the master may leave the boat until authorized to do so by the CBSA. As proof of presentation, masters will be provided with a report number for their records. Masters must provide this number to a border services officer upon request. You do not have to report to the CBSA when you leave by private boat unless you are exporting goods that need to be documented. To get a list of the designated telephone reporting marine sites, call 1-888-226-7277 before you arrive in Canada.
Trusted traveller programs are designed to streamline the border clearance process for pre-approved, low-risk travellers. The NEXUS program is a joint initiative of the CBSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that is designed to expedite the border clearance process for entry into both Canada and the United States.
The NEXUS program is available at all eight major Canadian airports, 16 land border locations and at approximately 450 marine reporting sites.
The CANPASS series of programs are Canada-only programs that allow for expedited passage into Canada in both the air and marine mode. These programs include:
If you wish to participate in NEXUS or CANPASS, you must complete and submit an application, undergo a security check and meet certain admissibility criteria. For more information, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, please visit www.cbsa.gc.ca/canpass or www.nexus.gc.ca or call the BIS at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information."
During your stay in Canada, as a visitor or a temporary resident (not seasonal resident), you can temporarily import passenger and recreational vehicles, such as snowmobiles, boats and trailers, as well as outboard motors, for your personal use.
You cannot leave temporarily imported goods in Canada between visits unless they have been properly reported to the CBSA and you were issued a Form E99, CBSA Report. You must display this form on your vehicle, boat or trailer or have it easily available to prove that you imported the goods legally. Remember to watch the expiry date. If you leave goods in Canada beyond the expiry date, and they are not in accordance with CBSA regulations, they may become subject to seizure and forfeiture.
You may occasionally find yourself going through a more detailed inspection. In some cases, this simply means that you may have to complete a form. In other cases, the border services officer will need to identify the goods you are bringing into the country or examine your luggage.
Border services officers are legally entitled to examine your luggage as part of their responsibility to protect Canada's safety, economy and environment. You are responsible for opening, unpacking and repacking your luggage. We appreciate your cooperation.
In addition to the activities mentioned above, border services officers may arrest an individual for an offence under the Criminal Code (e.g. impaired driving, outstanding arrest warrants, stolen property and abductions/ kidnappings) and for infractions under other acts of Parliament (e.g. the Customs Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act). If you are arrested, you may be compelled to attend court in Canada. You should note that anyone arrested in Canada is protected by, and will be treated in accordance with, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
For more information within Canada, call the Border Information Service at 1-800-461-9999. From outside Canada, call 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064 (long distance charges will apply). Agents are available Monday to Friday (08:00-16:00 local time / except holidays). TTY is also available within Canada at 1-866-335-3237.
You may obtain further information by consulting the publications (Guides and Brochures) available on the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca.