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.
For all modes of entry, we recommend you carry a valid passport for all travel abroad, including visits to Canada from the United States. A passport may be required by your airline or alternative transportation authority, as it is the only universally-accepted identification document.
Citizens and permanent residents of the United States who are members of the NEXUS or FAST programs may present their membership cards to the CBSA as proof of identity and as documents that denote citizenship, when arriving by land or marine modes only.
All visitors arriving from or transiting through the United States are encouraged to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Web site for information concerning the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and the requirements to enter or return to the United States.
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). 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.
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 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.