Arriving in Canada
Customs officers are at the border to ensure that people entering Canada respect Canadian laws. They are authorized to interview persons seeking entry to Canada to determine admissibility. Their goal is to facilitate the entry of legitimate travellers as quickly as possible. When you enter Canada, a customs officer may ask to see your passport and a valid visa, if one is necessary. If you are a citizen of the United States, you do not need a passport to enter Canada. However, you should carry proof of your citizenship, such as a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, as well as a photo ID. If you are a permanent resident of the U.S, you should bring your Permanent Resident Card (i.e., green card) with you.
Personal Baggage and Entitlements
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, tape recorders and even personal computers. It also includes vehicles, vessels and aircrafts. First and foremost, as required by law, all goods must be declared at the time of your initial contact with Customs. Customs does conduct import/export examinations. For the most part, these are routine in nature, and serve to verify declarations. 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 cannot be used by a resident of Canada or on behalf of a business based in Canada. Although rare, the customs officer may ask you to leave a security deposit for your goods, which will be refunded to you after you show that the goods were exported from Canada. If this happens, Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit, is issued when you arrive. When you leave Canada, you have to present your goods and the E29B permit to Canada Customs. You will be given a receipt copy of the form and the security deposit will be refunded to you by mail.
Currency and Monetary
All physical importations and exportations of currency and monetary instruments equal to or greater than CAN$10,000 must be reported to Canadian Customs.
Controlled, Restricted, and Prohibited Goods
Custom officers help other government departments control the importation of goods such as firearms, ammunition, fireworks, meat and dairy products, animals, plants and plant products, firewood, fresh fruits and vegetables, and certain food and drug products. Mace or pepper spray when designed to be used for the purpose of injuring, immobilizing or otherwise incapacitating any person are considered prohibited weapons and are therefore, prohibited from entry into Canada. Aerosol or similar dispensers that contain substances capable of repelling or subduing animals are not considered a weapon if the label of the container indicates specifically that it is for use against animals.
NEW WHTI - Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
After December 31, 2006, the United States' Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) will require all travellers to present a passport or other appropriate secure document(s) when entering or re-entering the United States or Canada by air or sea. This is a change from prior travel requirements. The goal is to strengthen border security and facilitate entry into the United States or Canada for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors.
What is a Secure Document
Secure documents contain special security features and follow specific manufacturing and issuing processes. To safeguard against counterfeiting, these documents meet certain standards to help ensure they are not improperly acquired, issued, altered or used by impostors.
WHTI Effective Date
The WHTI will be implemented in two phases to provide as much advance notice as possible to the affected public:
• After December 31, 2006, Canadians must have a passport to enter the United States by air or sea (excluding ferry crossings).
• Unless the U.S. Congress amends the legislation, after December 31, 2007, Canadians must have a passport or other approved secure travel document to enter the United States by all modes of travel including land and ferry.
Affect on Canadians and Americans
Yes. The WHTI will apply to all travellers entering or re-entering the U.S., including citizens of Canada, the U.S., Bermuda, the Caribbean and Central and South American countries.
Are other Documents Considered
Yes. Government of Canada officials are working closely with their U.S. counterparts to investigate possible acceptable alternate documents.
Please Note: All information may change without further notice.