Entering Canada - Customs Information & Border Crossings
Travellers to Canada must provide valid documents when entering Canada. Depending on your nationality, a passport and/or visa may be required. Single parents travelling with children require additional documents.
- Where are the border crossings and what are their hours of operation?
Border crossing locations, offices and hours of operation.
- How do I contact Canadian Border Services?
The phone number for Border Information Service (BIS) is 1-800-461-9999.
- What documentation do U.S. citizens require when entering Canada?
Americans DO NOT need a passport to enter Canada but under the US' Western Hemispher travel initiative (WHTI), you do need one to re-enter America.
US visitors should carry photo ID and proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization or a Certificate of Indian Status. Permanent residents of the U.S should carry your permanent resident card (i.e. green card).
- Do I need a visa?
U.S. citizens do not need a visa. However some international travellers may require a visa before entering Canada. These documents can be purchased in your home country at a Canadian embassy or consulate office. Visa requirements may be necessary from your home country.
- What documentation do I need when travelling with children?
When travelling with an adult, each child must have his or her own identification documenation (a Birth Certificate for American citizens, a passport for citizens of other countries). Divorced parents with custody rights or non-custodial parents should carry legal documents showing their status and a notarized letter authorizing the child to travel with that parent. Unaccompanied children should carry a letter of permission from their parents or legal guardian. These measures are in place to help reduce child abduction.
- Entering Canada on a private boat
Non-commercial sailors and other mariners follow a different customs procedure. When sailing or boating into Canada, mariners must still check in with Canada Customs.
- Different driving laws in Canada
Driving in Canada is quite similar to driving in the US but there are a few minor differences.
- Tourists with a Criminal Record
Anyone with a criminal record (including a conviction for drunk driving) may be barred from entering Canada. A waiver of exclusion may be granted to allow entry and must be in place weeks before coming to Canada.
- For more information on WHTI, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- For more information on entering Canada, visit the Canada Border Services Agency.
Get more insider tips on Canadian Adventures at Scenic Travel Canada.