Arriving by Air

Arriving by Air? The border is going digital.

At select airports, travellers now use a kiosk to confirm their identity and complete an on-screen declaration. Those looking to save more time can create their declaration in advance using a mobile app. Learn more about Primary Inspection Kiosks and the eDeclaration mobile app.

The CBSA is Canada's border services agency. We help ensure your smooth arrival, and protect the integrity of Canada's customs, immigration and agriculture laws.

Whether you're returning home or visiting, you'll follow the same straightforward process to enter Canada.

There are four simple steps to follow.

Step 1: Pre-arrival - Complete a Declaration Card

You'll receive the Declaration Card while you're on board, and must complete it prior to arrival.

The Declaration Card tells us what we need to know about you, your travels and what you're bringing into the country. Instructions on how to complete the card are attached for your assistance.

Please note that everyone arriving in Canada must complete a Declaration Card. You can list up to four people living at the same residence on one card.

Once the Declaration Card is completed, detach and discard the instructions. Please do not fold the card, as this allows us to serve you quicker. 

Be sure to keep the Declaration Card handy along with your identification and other travel documents. You will be asked to show this card several times once you get off the plane.

If you're traveling with children, please have their documentation ready as well.

Connecting to another flight?

If you are connecting OR travelling on to another destination, follow the signs. Depending on the airport at which you arrive, your path may vary and you may have to have your baggage checked and screened before re-boarding.

Step 2 – Arrival: First CBSA Checkpoint

Upon arrival, follow the signs to the first check point – referred to as Primary Inspection – where a border services officer will examine your Declaration Card, identification and other travel documents.

When you are directed to a booth, you may be asked a series of questions to determine your Immigration status, the nature of any goods you are bringing with you, your duty-free allowance and personal exemption entitlements.

If you have anything to declare, including purchases and food products of any kind, make sure to inform the officer.

Goods not properly declared that are restricted or prohibited in Canada can, under the law, be subject to seizure.

Are you a newcomer or coming to Canada to study or work?

If you are a newcomer to Canada, coming to study or work in Canada, further documentation may be required.  The officer will help guide you through this process and can assist with language services if required.

NEXUS logo Do you travel frequently?
Our trusted traveller programs can help.

If you're a Trusted Traveler member, you can skip Step 2 and go directly to the automated kiosks for faster processing.

Step 3 – Baggage and Second CBSA Checkpoint

Now that you've cleared Primary Inspection, proceed to the baggage claim area. If required, you can pay duty and taxes at most major airports while waiting for your luggage.

Once you have picked up your luggage, proceed to the next CBSA checkpoint, where you'll show the officer your Declaration Card and your receipt if you paid duty and taxes.

The officer may direct you to our secondary inspection area. You can expect to be asked for detailed information about your travels and may be asked to present your luggage and goods for examination.

This is a normal part of the travel process; your cooperation is appreciated and helps us ensure the safety of Canada, its economy and its residents by verifying your declaration.

The CBSA is committed to providing you with respectful, courteous and fair services. If you have any questions, you can ask to speak with a CBSA Superintendent at any time.

Step 4 – Exit the CBSA's Area

Once you've cleared the CBSA's checkpoints, follow the exit signs and proceed with your arrival in Canada. 

Client Service Improvement

The CBSA's employees are professionals who are trained to carry out their responsibilities in a fair, respectful and courteous manner, while doing their utmost to protect our border.

Your feedback is important to us. It has a direct influence on the development and review of CBSA policies and programs. We welcome your comments about any of our programs or the service you received.

We encourage you to provide feedback by speaking with a manager or Superintendent where you received the service, or by using our online feedback form, which can be found on the Comments, Complaints, and Compliments page of our Web site.

You can also submit your comment, complaint or compliment by writing to us at:

Canada Border Services Agency – Recourse Directorate
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0L8

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