Canada Border Services Agency
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Admissibility

Canada has specific requirements for who can and cannot enter Canada and the type of identification they require.

The CBSA is vigilant in determining the admissibility of individuals by verifying identification and checking for violations of Canadian law.

Required Identification

Canadians Returning Home

Make sure you carry proper identification for yourself and any children travelling with you to assist in confirming your legal right to enter Canada.

The Government of Canada recommends that Canadian citizens travel with a valid Canadian passport because it is the only reliable and universally accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians for the purpose of international travel.

International transportation companies such as airlines may require travellers to present a passport. Therefore, Canadian citizens may face delays or may not be allowed to board the plane or other conveyance if they present other documents such as those noted below.

  • Enhanced Driver's License (EDL)/Enhanced Identification Card (EIC)
  • NEXUS card (used where the program is available)
  • Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card used in FAST lanes
  • Canadian citizenship card
  • Certificate of Indian Status
  • Birth certificate in combination with either a driver's licence or a government-issued photo identification

Non-Canadians

  • Tips and tools

    Requirements to Enter Canada
    Tell us why you would like to come to Canada and we will provide you with the requirements to enter Canada that apply to your personal situation.

When you enter Canada, a CBSA officer may ask to see your passport and a valid visa, if one is necessary. If you are a citizen of the United States, you do not need a passport to enter Canada. However, you should carry proof of your citizenship, such as a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, as well as photo identification. If you are a permanent resident of Canada or the U.S, you should bring your Permanent Resident Card with you.

Travelling with Children

Parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents. It is also recommended that they have a consent letter from the other custodial parent to take the child on a trip out of the country. The parents' full name, address and telephone number should be included in the consent letter.

When travelling with a group of vehicles, parents or guardians should arrive at the border in the same vehicle as the children.

Adults who are not parents or guardians should have written permission from the parents or guardians to supervise the children. The consent letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or guardian can be reached.

CBSA officers watch for missing children, and may ask detailed questions about the children who are travelling with you.

Why some people cannot enter or remain in Canada

People can be denied a visa, refused admission or removed from Canada for a number of reasons.

Security
They have engaged in, or there are reasonable grounds to believe they will engage in, spying, subversion or terrorism, or they belong to organizations that have engaged in, or will engage in, these activities.
Human or international rights violations
They have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. They are or were senior members or officials of a government that has committed acts of terrorism, major human rights violations, genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Serious criminality
They have, or there are reasonable grounds to believe they have, committed a crime punishable by a maximum of 10 years of incarceration.
Other criminality
They have, or there are reasonable grounds to believe they have, committed an indictable crime. They commit an offence such as possessing or importing narcotics, while seeking entry to Canada.
Organized crime
They belong to an organization that is believed to take part in organized criminal activity or to engage in transnational crimes such as people smuggling, trafficking in people or money laundering.
Health
They may be a danger to public health or cause excessive demands on Canada's health or social services.
Financial
They are unable or unwilling to support themselves and their dependants.
Misrepresentation
They provide officers with false information or withhold information that is directly relevant to a decision under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
Non-compliance
They contravene the requirements of IRPA. Some examples include the following:
  • not having a valid passport or visa;
  • entering as visitors and remaining longer than authorized;
  • trying to re-enter without the written permission of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, after being deported;
  • working or attending school without the appropriate permit; and
  • breaching conditions imposed when they were first admitted to Canada.

Inadmissible family members
They are the family members of someone who is inadmissible.

In addition, permanent residents are in breach of IRPA if they fail to meet the residency obligations set out in the Act. Permanent residents who are inadmissible for this reason may be issued removal orders.

What you can do

Depending on the crime, how long ago it was and how you have behaved since, you may still be allowed to come to Canada, if you:

  • convince an immigration officer that you meet the legal terms to be deemed rehabilitated, or
  • applied for rehabilitation and were approved, or
  • were granted a record suspension, or
  • have a temporary resident permit.

For more information visit the Citizenship and Immigration Web site on how to Overcome criminal convictions.