Travel Reminders for Visiting Canada

Visiting friends or relatives in Canada this summer? A visit to Canada begins with a stop at a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) port of entry. Proper planning can help ensure you have a worry-free cross-border trip. Here are a few tips to get you on your way.


Carry appropriate identification

Except for citizens of the United States, all travellers entering Canada are required to have a valid passport and/or travel document. Visitors from some countries will need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). To find out if you need a visa, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site.

Citizens of the United States should carry proof of their citizenship. A passport is ideal, however, a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, or naturalization certificate, when presented with valid photo identification such as a drivers licence will also be accepted. Permanent residents of the U.S. should bring their green card.


Carry identification for all children travelling with you, regardless of their age

Canada Border Services Agency Officers watch for missing children and may ask detailed questions about the children who are travelling with you. All adults travelling with children should carry identification for the children travelling with them regardless of their age.

* If you have legal custody of the child/children or if you share custody, have copies of relevant legal documents, such as custody rights.
* If you are not the custodial parent or not the parent or legal guardian of the child/children, you should carry a letter of permission or authorization for you to have custody when entering Canada.

A letter would also facilitate entry for any one parent travelling with their child/children. This permission should contain contact telephone numbers for the other parent or legal guardian.

If you are travelling as part of a group of vehicles, be sure that you are in the same vehicle as your child/children when you arrive at the border.

Obtain more information on border proofing children.


Bring vaccination certificates for pets

Dogs and cats from the U.S. that are at least three months old need signed and dated certificates from a veterinarian verifying that they have been vaccinated against rabies within the last three years. The certificate must clearly identify the animal. If your dogs or cats are less than three months old, you do not need a certificate of rabies vaccination - however, the animals must be in good health when they arrive. Assistance dogs that are certified as guide, hearing or other service dog are not subject to any restrictions for importation where the person importing the dog is the user of the dog and accompanies the dog to Canada.

What can I bring with me?

Generally speaking, you are allowed to bring personal goods for your trip into Canada. This may include camping and fishing supplies, but you cannot bring firewood or various kinds of live bait, and you should ensure that equipment, vehicles and boats are free of pests. Please refer to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Web site on plant and animal pests, and the Environment Canada - Invasive Alien Species Web site.


Alcohol and Tobacco

As long as you meet the age requirements set by the province or territory you are visiting, you can bring with you, free of duty and taxes, no more than:

* 53 ounces (1.5 litres) of wine; or
* 40 ounces (1.14 litres) of liquor; or
* A total of 40 ounces (1.14 litres) of wine and liquor; or
* 24 x 355 ml (12 oz.) containers of beer.

Please note that we classify alcoholic "Coolers" according to the type of alcohol they contain and their alcohol content.

You can bring in more than the free allowance of alcohol except in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. However, the quantities have to be within the limit set by the province or territory where you will enter Canada. If the value of the goods is more than the free allowance, you will have to pay both CBSA and provincial or territorial assessments. For more information, check with the appropriate provincial or territorial liquor control authority, before coming to Canada. You may bring in additional quantities, but you will have to pay full duty and taxes on the excess amount.

You can bring in, free of duty, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or cigarillos, 200 tobacco sticks, and 200 grams (7 oz.) of manufactured tobacco.

You may bring in additional quantities, but you will have to pay full duty and taxes on the excess amount.


Gifts

You may also bring bona fide gifts worth up to CAN$60 each for your friends or relatives in Canada without paying duty, as long as these do not consist of alcoholic beverages or tobacco products.

If the gifts are products made of endangered species of animals or plants controlled under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), they must be declared to the CBSA. Export permits from the country of origin may be required for some of these goods. Please check the Environment Canada CITES website.

Please do not wrap gifts until after you have cleared the border, since an examination may be required.


Crossing the Border with $10,000 or more?

All importations and exportations of currency and monetary instruments equal to or greater than CAN$10,000 (or its equivalent in a foreign currency), whether in cash or other instruments, must be reported to the CBSA at the time of your arrival in Canada, or prior to your departure from Canada. For more information, read the pamphlet Crossing the border with $10,000 or more?



Weapons

Before you attempt to import a firearm, we recommend that you contact a chief firearms officer at the Canada Firearms Centre for information.

* Email: cfc-cafc@cfc-cafc.gc.ca
* Web site: http://www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca

The following requirements apply to the importation of firearms:

* You must be at least 18 years of age.
* You can import non-restricted and restricted firearms, provided all requirements are met.
* You cannot import prohibited firearms, weapons or devices, including silencers and replica firearms.

You must declare all weapons at the CBSA port of entry or they will be seized.

You cannot bring weapons such as mace or pepper spray into Canada under any circumstances.

For more detailed information about importing a firearm or weapon into Canada, read a copy of the pamphlet Importing a Firearm or Weapon Into Canada from a Canadian embassy, consulate, or mission.


Don't forget

You may qualify for a rebate of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) or the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) you pay for an organized tour package in Canada. For more information on rebates, please visit Tax Refund for Visitors to Canada.

When you arrive at the CBSA port of entry, if you are not sure if you should declare an item, declare it first and then discuss it with the officer. For more information on visiting Canada, please read our publication, Information for Visitors to Canada and Seasonal Residents.





Picture Courtesy of Canada Border Services Agency