Canada Border Services Agency
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Visitors to Canada

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Table of Contents


The information provided was accurate when it was published; however, legislative provisions and requirements can change at any time. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) makes every effort to provide timely updates to this publication and its Web site.

If you have information about suspicious cross-border activity, please call the CBSA Border Watch toll-free line at 1-888-502-9060.

You will find this publication helpful if you are a non-resident Canadian visiting Canada or a foreign national visiting Canada and your stay will not exceed one year.

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Identification documents required

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 from which one is required). If you are a U.S. citizen, you do not need a passport to enter Canada; however, you should carry proof of your citizenship such as a birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization or a certificate of Indian Status, as well as a photo ID. If you are a permanent resident of the U.S., you must bring your permanent resident card with you. For more information, consult the publication called Visitors to Canada and Other Temporary Residents on the CBSA Web site.

All travellers, including U.S. citizens, are encouraged to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Web site at www.cbp.gov for information on the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and its traveller requirements to enter or return to the United States.

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Bringing children into Canada

If you are travelling with minors (children under the age of 18), you must carry proper Identification for each child such as a birth certificate, passport, citizenship card, permanent resident card or certificate of Indian Status. If you are not the parent or guardian of the children, you should also have written permission from the parent/guardian authorizing the trip. The letter should include the addresses and telephone numbers where the parents/guardians can be reached.

Minor children travelling alone must have proof of citizenship. We also strongly recommend that the children carry a letter from both parents (if applicable) that authorizes the person meeting them to take care of them while they are in Canada. The letter should include the length of the stay and the addresses and telephone numbers of the parents.

Divorced or separated parents should carry custody or legal separation documents and/or a letter of authorization to facilitate entry into Canada.

If you are travelling with a group of vehicles, make sure you arrive at the border in the same vehicle as your children to avoid any confusion.

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Public health

If you are suffering from a communicable disease upon your arrival in Canada, or if you have been in close contact with someone with a communicable disease, you are obligated to inform a border services officer or a quarantine officer, who can determine if you require further assessment. If you become ill after your arrival in Canada, consult a Canadian doctor and inform the doctor where you were and what, if any, treatment or medical care you received (e.g. medications, blood transfusions, injections, dental care or surgery).

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What you can bring with you

As a visitor, you can bring certain goods into Canada for your own use as personal baggage. Personal baggage includes clothing, camping and sports equipment, cameras, personal computers, and toiletries. It also includes vehicles, private boats and aircraft.

You must declare all goods when you arrive at the first CBSA port of entry. Border services officers conduct examinations of goods being imported or exported to verify declarations. If you declare goods when you arrive and take them back with you when you leave, you will not have to pay any duty or taxes. These goods cannot be:

  • used by a resident of Canada or on behalf of a business based in Canada;
  • given as a gift to a Canadian resident; or
  • disposed of or left in Canada.

The border service officer may ask you to leave a security deposit for your goods, which will be refunded to you when you export the goods from Canada. Should this occur, the officer will issue a Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit. The officer will retain a copy and give you one for your records. When you leave Canada, present your goods and your copy of Form E29B to the officer who will give you a receipt copy of the form. Your security deposit will be refunded by mail.

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Alcohol and Tobacco

As a visitor to Canada, you may import, free of duty and taxes, the following amounts of alcoholic beverages* and tobacco products, as long as these items are in your possession with you when you arrive in Canada.

Alcoholic beverage limits

  • 1.5 litres of wine; or
  • a total of 1.14 litres of alcoholic beverages; or
  • up to a maximum of 8.5 litres of beer or ale.

*Alcoholic beverages are products that exceed 0.5% alcohol by volume. Minimum ages for the importation of alcoholic beverages, as prescribed by provincial or territorial authorities, are 18 years for the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec and 19 years for the remaining provinces and territories.

You may import additional quantities of alcohol above your personal exemption, as long as they are within the limits set by the province or territory by which you enter Canada.

Tobacco product limits

  • 200 cigarettes;
  • 50 cigars;
  • 200 grams of manufactured tobacco; and
  • 200 tobacco sticks.

You are allowed to bring in all of the above mentioned amounts of tobacco into Canada, free of duty and taxes within your personal exemption.

In addition, the Excise Act 2001 limits the amount of tobacco products that can be imported (or possessed) by an individual for personal use if the product is not packaged and stamped “CANADA DUTY PAID ● DROIT ACQUITTÉ.” The limit is currently five units of tobacco products. One unit consists of one of the following: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 200 grams of manufactured tobacco or 200 tobacco sticks.

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Currency and monetary instruments

If you are importing or exporting monetary instruments equal to or greater than CAN$10,000 (or the equivalent in a foreign currency), you must report this to the CBSA when you arrive in Canada or before you leave. This applies to either cash or other monetary instruments. For more information, please refer to the publication called Crossing the border with $10,000 or more?

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Restrictions/prohibited goods

Before importing restricted or prohibited items, consult the publication called Visitors to Canada and Other Temporary Residents to ensure that the items which you plan to import are admissible to Canada.

Examples are firearms and weapons, explosives, fireworks and ammunition, goods subject to import controls (such as, clothing, handbags and textiles), food, plant, and animal products, consumer products (such as, baby walkers and jequirity beans) endangered species, used or second-hand matresses, obscene material, child pornography, hate propaganda, health products (prescription drugs) and certain antiquities.

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CBSA programs for registered trusted travellers

CANPASS and NEXUS programs streamline the border clearance process for pre-approved, low-risk travellers into Canada and the United States. For more information, please consult the publication called Visitors to Canada and Other Temporary Residents.

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In-transit travel through Canada

If you are an American resident, you can transport goods through Canada to the United States. To simplify the clearance process, carry three copies of the list of goods that you are transporting. The list should include the description and value of the goods, as well as the serial number (if applicable). You should pack consumable goods, such as alcohol, tobacco and food, into containers that border services officers can seal when you arrive.

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International events in Canada

You can find information on streamlined border processes by going to the International Events section of the A-Z Index of the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca. These streamlined border processes facilitate the entry and exit of people and goods temporarily entering Canada to participate in conventions, international sporting competitions, political summits, research expeditions, meetings, trade shows and incentive travel.

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Additional information

For more information within Canada, call the Border Information Service at 1-800-461-9999. From outside Canada, call 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064 (long distance charges will apply). Agents are available Monday to Friday (08:00-16:00 local time/except holidays). TTY is also available within Canada at 1-866-335-3237.

You may obtain further information by consulting the publications (Guides and Brochures) available on the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca.