Despite the fact that cannabis (marijuana) will become legal and regulated in Canada in the near future, it will remain illegal to take cannabis across Canada’s national borders, whether you are entering or leaving Canada. For more information, consult cannabis (marijuana) legalization.
When general aviation aircraft enter Canada, they report to the CBSA by telephone. Travellers on private, company-owned, or charter aircraft carrying no more than 15 people (including the crew), must call the Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC) to get authorization from the CBSA to enter or return to Canada. General aviation aircraft must land at an approved airport of entry (AOE) during the CBSA's hours of business.
If the aircraft is carrying more than 15 people, the pilot has to contact the CBSA office at the proposed AOE in advance to arrange for customs clearance on arrival.
How does it work?
The pilot has to report the estimated time of arrival (ETA) by calling 1-888-226-7277 at least two hours, but no more than 48 hours, before flying into Canada. If the 1-888 service is not available, the pilot can use the normal business numbers for the TRC. However, long-distance charges may apply.
TRC for All of Canada
The pilot has to provide the TRC with the following information:
- aircraft license or registration number;
- destination in Canada;
- the full name, date of birth, and citizenship of all persons on board;
- purpose of the trip and length of stay in Canada for non-residents;
- length of absence from Canada for Canadian residents;
- a declaration for each person aboard; and
- any updates concerning the original ETA, passengers, or destination.
All travellers aboard must declare any personal goods they are importing, including firearms and weapons, and report all currency and/or monetary instruments totaling CAN$10,000 or more. If duties or taxes are payable, the CBSA officer will ask for the traveller's mailing address and VISA or MasterCard number and expiry date.
General aviation aircraft have to land at an approved AOE during normal hours of business for the CBSA unless they have made other arrangements directly with the local CBSA office. In this case, cost recovery charges will apply.
Immediately on landing in Canada, the pilot must make a final phone call to the TRC at 1-888-226-7277 to report the plane's arrival. The pilot and all travellers aboard cannot leave the aircraft until authorized to do so.
If the aircraft has to land at a place not designated for customs reporting due to weather conditions or other circumstances, the pilot must call either 1-888-226-7277 or the nearest CBSA office or Royal Canadian Mounted Police office. Depending on the circumstances, the flight may be cleared over the phone, the pilot may be requested to await the arrival of a CBSA officer at that site, or the pilot may be requested to fly to the nearest AOE at the first opportunity.
Special clearance procedures
On occasion, general aviation aircraft carry foreign heads of state, royalty, ministers, or foreign dignitaries who are entitled to courtesy clearance procedures. Courtesy clearances are authorized in advance of the flight by the Service Planning and Coordination Division at the CBSA Headquarters and are coordinated through the applicable airport. Where an individual scheduled for a courtesy clearance is arriving by general aviation plane, the Service Planning and Coordination Division will provide the details of the arrival to the TRC liaison officer at Headquarters. The TRC liaison officer will notify the TRC so they are aware that arrangements for the courtesy clearance have already been made. Courtesy clearances are not handled by the TRC. In the event the pilot calls the TRC, the TRC should inform the pilot that arrangements have already been made for clearance of the aircraft.
If you have questions about telephone reporting for general aviation passages, you can call our Border Information Service (BIS) toll free at 1-800-461-9999 from within Canada. If you are outside Canada, you can call 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064. Long-distance charges will apply.
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