Travellers

Travel Documents

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

Residents returning to Canada

Identification for Canada/United States travel

You should carry a valid Canadian passport for all visits abroad, including visits to the United States (U.S.). A passport may be required by your airline or alternative transportation authority, as it is the only universally-accepted identification document, and it proves that you have a right to return to Canada.

Canadian citizens who are members of the NEXUS program may present their membership card to the CBSA as proof of identification and as a document that denotes citizenship when entering Canada by air (when coming from the U.S.), land, or marine modes.

Canadian citizens who are members of the FAST program may use their cards as proof of identity and as a document that denotes citizenship when arriving by land or marine modes only.

Permanent residents of Canada who are members of the NEXUS or FAST programs must travel with a passport and proof of permanent residence, and may be asked to present these documents to the officer upon arrival at the border.

If you plan to travel to or transit through the U.S., we encourage you to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information concerning the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and the requirements to enter or return to the U.S.

Identification for international travel

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 aircraft or other mode of transportation, if they present other documents such as those noted in the previous section.

Visitors to Canada

Identification requirements for U. S. citizens and permanent residents

If you are a U.S. citizen, ensure you carry proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, 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.

Whether you’re entering by air, land or water, we recommend you carry a valid passport for all travel abroad, including visits to Canada from the U.S. A passport may be required by your airline or alternative transportation authority, as it is the only universally-accepted identification document.

Citizens of the U.S. who are members of the NEXUS program may present their membership card to the CBSA as proof of identification and as a document that denotes citizenship, when arriving by air, land, or marine modes.

Canadian citizens who are members of the FAST program may use their cards as proof of identity when arriving by land and marine modes only.

Permanent residents of the U.S. who are members of the NEXUS or FAST programs must travel with a passport and proof of permanent residence, and may be asked to present these documents to the officer upon arrival at the border.

All visitors arriving from or transiting through the U.S. are encouraged to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information concerning the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and the requirements to enter or return to the U.S.

Identification requirements for international visitors

The Government of Canada requires that all travellers carry a valid passport because it is the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document for the purpose of international travel.

International transportation companies such as airlines may require travellers to present a passport. Therefore, travellers may face delays or may not be allowed to board the aircraft or other mode of transportation, if they present other documents.

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 for which one is required). Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website to find out what travel documents you need to come to Canada. We remind all travellers you must carry proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization or a Certificate of Indian Status along with photo identification.

Starting March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa. Read about the changes and how they may affect you.

If you travel before March 15, 2016, you do not need an eTA but you can still apply for one. For now, make sure you travel with acceptable travel documents and identification, such as a valid passport.

Travel with minors

Border services officers watch for missing children, and may ask detailed questions about any minors travelling with you.

We recommend that parents who share custody of their children carry copies of their legal custody documents, such as custody rights. If you share custody and the other parent is not travelling with you, or if you are travelling with minors for whom you are not the parent or legal guardian, we recommend you carry a consent letter to provide authorization for you to take them on a trip and enter Canada.

A consent letter must include the custodial parents' or legal guardians' full name, address and telephone number. Some travellers choose to have the consent letter notarized, to further support its authenticity, especially if they are undertaking a significant trip and want to avoid any delay.

When travelling with a group of vehicles, parents or guardians should arrive at the border in the same vehicle as their children or any minors they are accompanying.

Travel.gc.ca provides information about travelling with children.

Travel with pets

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) establishes import requirements for all animals and animal products entering Canada.

The CFIA provides information about importing domestic pets on its Web site.

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