Non-Residents Entering Canada Information
When entering Canada from the United States, U.S. citizens must show either a U.S. passport or other proof of U.S. citizenship - such as an original or certified birth certificate together with photo identification. U.S. citizens entering Canada from a third country must have a valid passport. A visa is not required for U.S. citizens for a stay up to 180 days. U.S. citizens returning to the United States need to present aWestern Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) approved document.
As of June 2011, Canadian Customs is still accepting birth certificates with driver's licenses to cross the border from the United States into Canada. They have also informed us that you will be able to reenter the U.S. without a passport because they cannot deny a United States citizen reentry into the United States. But it is best to have at least applied for a passport.
Do you have a criminal record including a DUI? You need to contact the Canada Border Crossing Services. To do this, click the button below to be taken to their website.
Traveling with Children
Due to international concern over child abduction, children traveling with one parent, grandparents or other guardians should carry proof of custody or letters from the non-accompanying parent/s authorizing travel. (This is in addition to proof of the child's citizenship.) Travelers without such documentation may experience delays when seeking admission to another country. Any person under the age of 18 and traveling alone should carry a letter from his/her parent or guardian authorizing the trip. Travelers without such documentation may experience delays at the Port of Entry. For more travel information, please see our Links to Additional Travel Information page.
A conviction by any court (including a drunk driving conviction of ten years or less) may mean that a visitor to Canada is found to be inadmissible when that person attempts to cross the border. In such a case, the visitor may be required to obtain Rehabilitation before being allowed into Canada. Rehabilitation removes the ground of criminal inadmissibility, and means that you live a stable lifestyle, and that you are unlikely to be involved in further criminal activity.
Before approaching the Canadian border, you should double check that you are not criminally inadmissible. You may be considered criminally in admissible by the Canadian federal government if your record shows a past criminal offense committed in a foreign country. If you are criminally inadmissible, don't worry! You can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which is a service provided by the Canadian government that will allow you to enter Canada for a specific reason and for a specified amount of time. To be eligible for a TRP, your sentence must have been completed less than 5 years prior, or more than 5 years prior with no application or approval of criminal rehabilitation. There is a $200.00 processing fee for this government service, and you must demonstrate a significant reason for entering Canada in your application. You can apply for a TRP at a Canadian visa office or a port of entry. To learn more about criminal inadmissibility or obtaining a TRP, visit the TRP website.
As a visitor, you can bring certain goods into Canada for your own use as "personal baggage" during your stay. If you declare these goods when you arrive, and take them back with you when you leave, you will not have to pay any duties or taxes. These goods may not be used by a resident of Canada or on behalf of a business based in Canada.
Personal baggage includes things like clothing, camping equipment, sports equipment, personal computers and cameras. It also includes vehicles, vessels, and aircraft. Items for business use in Canada are admissible as personal baggage. You may be required to fill out a Customs Declaration Card.
The Customs inspector may request a security deposit on your goods and may issue Form E29B, the Temporary Admission Permit, as a Customs control of the goods. Present the goods to Customs when you leave Canada and your deposit will be refunded.
You can import gifts for relatives and friends in Canada duty-free and tax-free, as long as each gift is valued at CA$60 or less. You cannot claim alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, or advertising matter as gifts. If the gift is worth more than CA$60, you will have to pay duties and taxes on the excess amount. If you meet the minimum age requirements of the province or territory you are entering, your personal baggage can also include up to 1.5 litres of wine, or 1.14 litres of liquor, or 24 x 355 ml cans or bottles (8.5 litres) of beer or ale. The minimum age requirement is 19 years of age.
Your personal baggage can also include, duty-free, up to 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 200 grams of manufactured tobacco, and 200 tobacco sticks. The minimum age requirement is 19 years of age. Obscene materials, hate propaganda, most weapons and firearms and goods harmful to the environment are prohibited from entering Canada.
Fishermen can bring frozen minnows and worms in commercial bedding (no soil) for ice fishing. In regards to food, you may bring up to 10 pounds of potatoes per person as long as they are grown in the U.S. and are commercially bagged. The only other food restriction would be meat. You can bring approximately 20 pounds per person. They judge it in relation to how much you could eat per day for the length of your stay.
Radar detectors are illegal in Canada. The Ontario Provincial Police can tell when you have them turned on and will fine you as well as confiscate your device. It's best to leave them home when coming to Canada. For additional customs information, visit the Canada Border Services Agency website.
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