Canada Border Services Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

CANPASS Air

Frequently Asked Questions


General

  1. What are the benefits to using CANPASS Air?
  2. How does the CANPASS Air program work?
  3. What is the difference between CANPASS Air and NEXUS Air?

Application Process

  1. Who can apply for CANPASS Air?
  2. Is there a fee?
  3. How do you apply for CANPASS Air?
  4. What documents are required to apply for CANPASS Air?
  5. Where are the CANPASS Air enrolment centres located? What are the hours of operation?
  6. How long does it take to process an application?

Declaring Goods

  1. How do CANPASS Air members declare goods they are bringing into Canada?
  2. How will CANPASS Air members pay duties and taxes if their purchases exceed the personal exemption?
  3. Are CANPASS Air members required to use the Traveller Declaration Card?
  4. What happens if a traveller fails to report goods or comply with requirements while using the CANPASS Air self-service kiosk?

Security

  1. What personal information does the CBSA collect and what is it used for?
  2. What measures will the Government of Canada take to ensure that travellers enrolled in CANPASS Air do not pose a security risk to Canada?
  3. What is involved in a risk assessment?

Biometric Technology

  1. What is iris recognition biometric technology?
  2. What is the process of iris recognition?
  3. Why did the CBSA choose iris recognition biometric technology for the CANPASS Air program?

Implementation Schedule

  1. Where is CANPASS Air available?
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General

1. What are the benefits to using CANPASS Air?

CANPASS Air members enjoy many benefits, including:

  • a self-service option to clear customs and immigration;
  • a self-serve kiosk to declare goods;
  • avoiding line-ups at primary inspection lines at some of Canada's busiest airports;
  • reducing the anxiety associated with customs and immigration clearance; and
  • enrolling their children under the age of 18, free of charge.

2. How does the CANPASS Air program work?

When entering Canada at participating airports, CANPASS Air members use the self-serve kiosk, which is equipped with a digital camera. This camera confirms identity and program membership by photographing the member's iris and comparing the digital photograph with the one on file.

When members arrive at the kiosk, they will see a "Welcome to Canada" screen with a choice of language. After choosing their preferred language, members follow the prompts on the screen to provide their iris biometric to begin the clearance process.

Recorded instructions direct the member to look into the digital camera to provide the iris biometric. Within seconds, a biometric match is determined and the screen prompts the member to complete customs declaration questions. Members can also pay duties and taxes at this self-service kiosk. Members are issued receipts, which they give, to the CBSA officer with the E311, when leaving the customs area.

CANPASS Air members remain subject to checks at any time when entering Canada, and must always complete the Customs Declaration Card (E311).

3. What is the difference between CANPASS Air and NEXUS Air?

CANPASS Air is a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) program. Members can clear the border faster when they arrive in Canada.

NEXUS is a partnership program between the CBSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Members can clear the border faster when travelling to the United States and Canada.

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Application process

1. Who can apply for CANPASS Air?

Citizens and permanent residents of Canada or the United States who have resided in either country, or a combination of both countries, for the last three consecutive years can apply.

To qualify for CANPASS Air you must:

  • provide true and accurate information on the application;
  • have no criminal record or have been granted a pardon or rehabilitation for a criminal offence;
  • not have had any customs seizures within the past five years; and
  • not be in violation of customs or immigration legislation.

For U.S. citizens and permanent residents: alcohol-related driving offences, such as driving while intoxicated, driving while ability-impaired, and driving under the influence of alcohol, are criminal offences in Canada. Contact a Canadian embassy or consulate in the United States to discuss immigration admissibility and legislative requirements.

You will be notified in writing if you do not meet the eligibility criteria.

2. Is there a fee?

Yes. There is an annual, non-refundable processing fee of CAN$50. Payments can be made by certified cheque, money order, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express). The fee is waived for those under the age of 18.

3. How do you apply for CANPASS Air?

Complete the application form; print, sign and mail it with the payment and photocopies of the necessary documents to the nearest Customs processing centre or visit the CANPASS Air enrolment centre nearest you.

To enrol for CANPASS Air at Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Edmonton international airports, send your completed application to:

Customs Processing Centre
28 176th Street
Surrey, BC V3S 9R9
CANADA

To enrol for CANPASS Air at Halifax, Macdonald-Cartier, Montréal-Trudeau, and Pearson international airports, send your completed application to:

Customs Processing Centre
1st Floor, 400 Place d'Youville
Montréal, QC H2Y 2C2
CANADA

4. What documents are required to apply for CANPASS Air?

Applicants must provide acceptable proof of citizenship or permanent resident status in Canada or the United States. Please send photocopies of the documents with the completed application form. These photocopies will not be returned.

If you are a Canadian or U.S. citizen, please provide one of the following:

  • birth certificate and photo identification;
  • valid passport;
  • citizenship certificate or card;
  • certificate of naturalization;
  • certificate of retention of Canadian citizenship;
  • certificate of Indian status in Canada; or
  • certificate of registration of birth abroad.

If you are a permanent resident of Canada or a resident alien of the U.S., please provide one of the following:

  • valid U.S. registered alien card; or
  • valid Canadian permanent resident card.

Individuals under the age of 18 require written consent from their parent or legal guardian to apply for CANPASS Air. Children under the age of one are not eligible for CANPASS Air.

5. Where are the CANPASS Air enrolment centres located? What are the hours of operation?

Currently, there are seven CANPASS Air enrolment centres:

City Enrolment Centre Hours of Services
Winnipeg Winnipeg International Airport
International arrival area,
Lower level,
North end of the terminal
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m
Calgary Calgary International Airport
Main Terminal
Across from U.S. Departures
2nd Floor Departures level
Monday to Wednesday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Thursday
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday or any evening, open by appointment only.

Appointments available seven days a week.
Halifax Halifax International Airport
International arrival area
1st floor
Appointments available seven days a week 8 a.m. to noon
After hours appointments available on request

Ottawa

Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport
1000 Airport Parkway Private
Level 2 (south)
Suite 2641

Please call or email to schedule an appointment

Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Toronto Pearson International Airport
Terminal 1 at Level 2
South bridge
Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
International arrival area
Room T1470
Open to the public by appointment only
Vancouver Vancouver International Airport
International terminal
Level 3, U.S. Departures
Seven days a week 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Edmonton Edmonton International Airport
Departure Level
South Terminal
Open to the public by appointment only
Appointments available seven days a week

6. How long does it take to process an application?

If your application is completed correctly, it will be processed in approximately four to six weeks. Applications that are incomplete, or do not include all the necessary documents and the processing fee, will not be processed. The CBSA will send a letter asking you to submit the missing information.

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Declaring goods

1. How do CANPASS Air members declare goods they are bringing into Canada?

Anyone entering Canada, including CANPASS Air members, must complete a Customs Declaration Card (E311). All travellers, must also report all imports and exports of currency equal to or greater than CAN$10,000.

2. How will CANPASS Air members pay duties and taxes if their purchases exceed the personal exemption?

Members who exceed their personal exemption will be prompted to insert their Traveller Declaration Card in the kiosk or proceed to the customs cashier. The Traveller Declaration Card, available to Canadian citizens and residents only, will automatically charge the applicable amount to the member's pre-authorized credit card.

3. Are CANPASS Air members required to use the Traveller Declaration Card?

No. CANPASS Air members who chose not to use the Traveller Declaration Card will be referred to the cashier to pay any duties and taxes owing.

4. What happens if a member fails to report goods or to comply with requirements while using the CANPASS Air self-service kiosk?

If a member violates the program's requirements, CBSA officers will take appropriate enforcement action, which may include suspending or cancelling membership privileges.

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Security

1. What personal information does the CBSA collect and what is it used for?

Once an applicant has completed and signed the application form, the CBSA is authorized to collect personal information such as name, date of birth, address, citizenship, proof of citizenship, and residency information.

The information will be used for background security checks and is not shared with a third party.

All information is stored in a secure central database, which, in turn, is protected by various methods, including firewalls. Access to client information by employees is also controlled and monitored.

The information is not disclosed to anyone except CBSA officers who need the information to respond to a request. The information is not used to create individual profiles, or disclosed to any party inside or outside the federal government unless authorized by law. All personal information provided is protected under the federal Privacy Act.

2. What measures will the Government of Canada take to ensure that travellers enrolled in CANPASS Air do not pose a security risk to Canada?

Participation in the program is restricted to pre-approved travellers. Applicants undergo a detailed security clearance check and an interview with a CBSA officer before being enrolled in the CANPASS Air program. Every time CANPASS Air members enter Canada, their membership information is verified against customs and immigration databases to ensure compliance with the program's regulations.

3. What is involved in a risk assessment?

The risk assessment involves a rigorous background check of all applicants. During the risk assessment, applicants are checked against a number of law enforcement, customs and immigration databases to ensure that they are eligible for the program. Each member's eligibility is re-assessed annually.

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Biometrics technology

1. What is iris recognition biometric technology?

Iris recognition biometric technology examines the unique patterns of the iris, which do not change. The technology reads 266 different characteristics, as compared to fingerprint technology, which reads approximately 90. This technology is considered to be the safest, fastest, most accurate, highly secure, and non-invasive identification technology in the world.

2. What is the process of iris recognition?

Iris recognition begins with taking black-and-white digital photographs of each iris. The iris pattern is processed and encoded into a record that is stored in the CBSA secure database. At the airport kiosk, neither glasses nor contact lenses need to be removed. The identification time averages about two seconds. CANPASS Air systems use ordinary digital cameras without bright lights or lasers.

3. Why did the CBSA choose iris recognition biometric technology for CANPASS Air?

Compared to other biometric technologies available, including fingerprint identification, facial and voice recognition, iris recognition technology is the fastest, secure, accurate, reliable, and most appropriate tool for the CANPASS Air program requirements. Iris recognition provides maximum security with a non-intrusive biometric that is easy to use. Through research and consultation, it was determined that iris recognition technology is the only option that fulfils all the requirements of the CANPASS Air program.

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Implementation Schedule

1. Where is CANPASS Air available?

CANPASS Air is currently available at:

  • Winnipeg International Airport
  • Calgary International Airport;
  • Halifax International Airport;
  • Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, Ottawa;
  • Pearson International Airport, Toronto;
  • Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport;
  • Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Montréal;
  • Vancouver International Airport; and
  • Edmonton International Airport.