Visitors to Canada

Have proper identification

You must carry proper identification for yourself and any children travelling with you to help confirm your legal right or authorization to enter Canada when you arrive.

All visitors arriving from or transiting through the United States should visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information concerning the requirements to enter, transit through, or return to the United States.

Identification requirements for U.S. citizens and permanent residents

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must carry proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, or a Certificate of Indian Status along with photo identification. If you are a U.S. permanent resident, ensure you carry proof of your status such as a U.S. Permanent Resident Card.

For members of a Trusted Traveller program

U.S. citizens

U.S. citizens who are members of the NEXUS program can use their membership card as proof of identification and citizenship when entering Canada by land, air or water. This applies when you are using either conventional or NEXUS-only lanes. U.S. citizens who are members of FAST may use their membership card when entering Canada by land or water only. When travelling by air, FAST cards will only be accepted as proof of identification when you are travelling to Canada from the U.S.

U.S. permanent residents

NEXUS and FAST members who are permanent residents of the U.S. must still travel with a passport and proof of permanent residence. You may be asked to present these documents to the Border Services Officer (BSO) when you arrive at the border.

No matter your mode of travel, we recommend you carry a valid passport for all travel abroad, including visits to Canada from the United States. A passport may be required by your airline or other transportation authority, since it is the only universally-accepted, identification document.

Identification requirements for international visitors

All international travellers must carry acceptable identification and a valid visa (if necessary) when entering Canada. A passport is recommended because it is the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document for the purpose of international travel.

Electronic Travel Authorization

Visa-exempt foreign nationals need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. Exceptions include U.S. citizens, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (USLPR) and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for an eTA.

Foreign nationals from select visa-required countries may also travel to or through Canada by air using an eTA, if eligible.

Be prepared: Apply for an eTA before you book your flight to Canada. Most applicants get approved within minutes. However, some applications can take several days to process so don’t wait until the last minute. Get help if you have questions before, during or after you apply.

Fake websites

Travellers who apply for an eTA are advised to be cautious in all dealings with companies that claim to offer help in getting an eTA. These companies are not operating on behalf of the Government of Canada. Many have established websites that charge a fee to provide information and submit eTA applications.

This Government of Canada website is the official place to apply for an eTA.

Travelling with minors

BSOs watch for missing persons, and may ask detailed questions about any minors travelling with you.

Visit the Children and travel page for more information about travelling abroad with minors.

What you can bring with you

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. This also includes your mode of transportation, including vehicles, private boats and aircraft.

You must declare all goods when you arrive at the first CBSA port of entry. Our BSOs check goods you are bringing in or taking out of Canada to verify what you have declared. 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 BSO may ask you to leave a security deposit for your goods. Your deposit will be refunded when you leave Canada with the goods. If this happens, you will be issued a Temporary Admission Permit. We will keep a copy and give you one for your records. When you leave Canada, bring your goods and your copy of the Temporary Admission Permit, to the BSO. You will get a receipt and your security deposit will be refunded by mail.

Making your declaration

Every traveller entering Canada must report to a border services officer and answer all their questions truthfully. Travellers must also report goods they are bringing with them, including food, plant and animal products.

To ensure a smooth border crossing, have all required identification and travel documents in hand. Be ready to make a full and accurate declaration, including the amount of goods in Canadian dollars you are bringing with you.

If you arrive by land, follow the signs to the first checkpoint. A border services officer will check your identification and other travel documents and you will answer their questions.

If you arrive by private boat, go directly to a designated marine telephone reporting site and call the Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC) at 1-888-226-7277 to get clearance. For more information, visit the Private boaters page.

If you arrive at one of Canada's main airports, you can complete your customs and immigration declaration your before arrival with Advance Declaration.

At the airport kiosk or eGate, you will scan your travel document and verify your identity. The device will print your declaration and you will bring it to a border services officer.

If you arrive at a smaller Canadian airport, without a kiosk or eGate, you must fill out a paper E-311 CBSA Declaration Card prior to arrival and present it to a border services officer.

Use Advance Declaration and save time!

Submit your customs and immigration information with Advance Declaration up to 72 hours before you arrive in Canada using your smart phone or your computer. When you use Advance Declaration, you can access express lanes in the arrivals hall. Data shows that it’s up to 50% faster at the airport kiosk or eGate.

Referrals for secondary services and inspections

At any point during your interactions with our BSOs at a port of entry, you may be referred to our secondary services and inspections area.

We understand that travellers may feel anxious when crossing the border. Referrals to secondary inspection are a normal part of the cross-border travel process that any visitor to Canada may experience.

Why you may be referred to secondary inspection

You may be referred to secondary inspection for a variety of reasons, for example:

All travellers are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Referrals are not made on any discriminatory basis, such as race, nationality, religion, age or gender.

What to expect from secondary inspections

If you are referred for Secondary Services or Inspection, an officer may:

While most travellers we inspect comply with Canadian laws and regulations, we do encounter individuals who are intent on breaking the law and who attempt to avoid detection. That is why the officer may not always answer specific questions about a Secondary Inspection.

Travelling with alcohol and tobacco

Alcoholic beverages

You are allowed to bring into Canada only one of the following amounts of alcohol and alcoholic beverages free of duty and taxes:

Alcoholic beverages are products that exceed 0.5% alcohol by volume. Certain alcoholic and wine products that do not exceed 0.5% by volume are not considered alcoholic beverages.

Product Metric Imperial Estimates
Wine Up to1.5 litres of wine Up to 53 fluid ounces Two 750 ml bottles of wine
Alcoholic beverages Up to 1.14 litres Up to 40 fluid ounces One large standard bottle of liquor
Beer or ale Up to 8.5 litres Up to 287 fluid ounces Approximately 24 cans or bottles (355 ml each) of beer or ale.

You must meet the minimum age of the province or territory where you enter Canada. Minimum ages are established by provincial or territorial authorities: 18 years for Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec and 19 years for the remaining provinces and territories.

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.

The quantities of alcoholic beverages you can import must be within the limit set by provincial and territorial liquor control authorities that apply where you will enter Canada. If the amount of alcohol you want to import exceeds your personal exemption, you will be required to pay the duty and taxes as well as any provincial or territorial levies that apply. Contact the appropriate provincial or territorial liquor control authority for more information before you return to Canada.

You must be of legal age in the province of importation. While you are allowed to import more alcoholic beverages than the amounts listed above, you will be responsible for paying duty and taxes on the additional alcoholic beverages you are bringing into Canada.

For more information on bringing alcoholic beverages to Canada, consult the Alcohol and tobacco limits page.

Tobacco products

As a visitor or a temporary resident, you may bring into Canada, free of duty and taxes, all of the following amounts of tobacco products, as long as these items are in your possession when you arrive in Canada:

You can speed up your clearance by having your tobacco products available for inspection when you arrive.

Whether they are stamped or unstamped, if you bring in tobacco products that exceed your personal exemption, you will be required to pay the regular duty and taxes as well as any provincial or territorial levies that apply on the excess amount.

Note: You must be 18 years of age to bring tobacco products into Canada under your personal exemption.

Stamped Tobacco Products – Personal exemption amounts

If you wish to import cigarettes, manufactured tobacco and tobacco sticks duty free as part of your personal exemption, the packages must be stamped "duty paid Canada droit acquitté". You will find tobacco products sold at duty-free stores marked this way.

Product Amount
Cigarettes 200 cigarettes
Cigars 50 cigars
Tobacco 200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco
Tobacco sticks 200 tobacco sticks
Unstamped Tobacco Products – Special duties rate

A special duty rate applies to cigarettes, manufactured tobacco and tobacco sticks that are not stamped "duty paid Canada droit acquitté".

For example, if you claim a carton of 200 cigarettes as part of your personal exemption and it is not stamped "duty paid Canada droit acquitté", you will be assessed at a special duty rate.

Unstamped Tobacco Products – Import limits

In addition to your personal exemption amounts, there are limits on the quantity of tobacco products that may be imported if it is not packaged and not stamped "duty paid Canada droit acquitté". The limit is currently five units of tobacco products. One unit of tobacco products consists of one of the following:

Product Amount
Cigarettes 200 cigarettes
Cigars 50 cigars
Tobacco 200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco
Tobacco sticks 200 tobacco sticks

For short visits, these quantities may be limited to amounts that are appropriate in respect of the nature, purpose, and duration of the visit.

For more information on bringing alcoholic beverages to Canada, consult the Alcohol and tobacco limits page.

Restricted/prohibited goods

Certain goods are restricted or prohibited in Canada. To avoid the possibility of penalties, including seizure or prosecution, make sure you have the information you need before attempting to bring items into Canada.

The following are some examples of restricted or prohibited goods:

For more information consult the Restricted and Prohibited Goods page.

Travelling with CAN$10,000 or more

If you have currency or monetary instruments equal to or greater than CAN$10,000 (or the equivalent in a foreign currency) in your possession when arriving in or departing from Canada, you must report to the CBSA. Monetary instruments include items such as stocks, bonds, bank drafts, cheques, and travellers' cheques.

This regulation applies to currency and monetary instruments you have on your person, in your baggage and/or in your vehicle.

When you arrive in Canada with CAN$10,000 or more in your possession, you must report it on the CBSA Declaration Card (if one was provided to you), or in the verbal declaration made to a BSO.

When you leave Canada by air with CAN$10,000 or more in your possession, you must report to the CBSA office within the airport, before clearing security or, if leaving by land or boat, report your intent to export to the CBSA at one of our offices.

For more information, including instructions on how to report your intent to import or export currency in person, by mail, or by courier, you can consult Travelling with CAN$10,000 or more.

Travelling with gifts

If you are travelling with gifts, do not wrap them before crossing the border. If a gift is wrapped, a BSO may need to un-wrap the gift to examine the goods you are bringing into Canada.

Can I enter Canada?

Resources for visitors

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