Canada entry requirements

If you are traveling to Canada, you must comply with Canadian entry regulations. Here are all the necessary steps and rules for your entry into Canada.

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Travel documents for Canada entry

At the Canadian border, the final decision about your entry into Canada is solely up to the border personnel of the CBSA. The officers will ask you to present some documents in addition to a brief questioning.

Passport for Canada travel

To enter Canada, you will need a passport that is still valid for at least the duration of your trip. Canadian immigration regulations state that it must be a machine-readable passport document with one data page.

Visa for Canada travel

You will need an eTA or visa to enter Canada unless you are a Canadian citizen, Canadian permanent resident, US permanent resident (Green Card holder), or US citizen. Citizens of eTA Canada countries entering by land or sea only need to present their valid passports.

Supporting documents for the Canada visa

As a business traveler with a Canada eTA, you must be able to present an invitation or letter of assignment that includes the contact information of the company or organization involved.

You may also be required to provide additional documents to support the legitimacy of your entry if you are entering the country for other non-tourist purposes (e.g., as a caregiver or company founder).

Canada entry with children

When traveling with children, always carry proof of parenthood, copies of birth certificates, and (if applicable) adoption papers, custody orders, powers of attorney, and/or consent forms from all legal guardians.

Border agents are always on the lookout for missing children. Therefore, especially as a single adult, you will likely be subject to thorough inspections when traveling with children. To avoid delays, you should have your consent form notarized.

Requirements for Canada entry

To enter Canada, you must meet certain requirements, some of which you must prove when applying for your eTA or visa, as well as at the border counter. These include:

  • You are truly entering for the reason for which your eTA or visa was issued.
  • You do not pose a threat to the country or the Canadian people.
  • You are currently not subject to an entry ban.
  • You have sufficient ties to your home country and have no intention of illegally immigrating to Canada.

Permission for your entry into Canada is the responsibility of local border officials, who will make a personal assessment of your suitability for entry upon your arrival.

Travel security and customs in Canada

Before crossing the border into Canada, you will need to take care of declarations for the Canadian Customs. Submitting your health information to the ArriveCan system is voluntary since October 2022.

Declaration Card

The Declaration Card to fill out will be given to you during your journey or in the arrivals area at the border. On the card, you indicate what goods you are bringing into Canada.

Items that must be declared when entering Canada include:

  • Weapons (including blades or pepper spray)
  • Commercial goods such as product samples, tools, or equipment
  • Meat, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, plants, flowers, wood, animals, insects, and products made from them

Please always follow the import regulations for Canada when bringing products with you.

Vaccinations for Canada travel

There are no mandatory vaccinations for entry into Canada. However, as the situation is very dynamic, please check the applicable vaccination, testing, quarantine, and sanitation requirements on a daily basis before entering the country.

Insurances for Canada trip

There are no insurances required for entering Canada. Nevertheless, we recommend that you have travel health insurance, which will provide you with sufficient protection on site.

The procedure of entry to Canada

Entry into Canada normally takes place in the following order:

  • Check-in (online or at the airport)
  • Security checks and boarding
  • Filling out the Declaration Card (during the journey or shortly after landing)
  • Passport control by border officials (if necessary, submission of biometric data and questioning)
  • Customs control (if necessary baggage search)

Import regulations for Canada

When traveling to Canada, you must abide by the import regulations currently in effect. The import of means of payment, alcohol, weapons, plants, and food is strictly regulated.

Before your trip, find out which things you are allowed to take with you to Canada and in what quantities because Canadian import regulations can change at any time at short notice.

Means of payment

Amounts over 10,000 CAD (Canadian Dollar) are subject to declaration.

Food, plants, and animals

All types of animals, food, and plants must be declared on your Declaration Card before entering Canada.

For meat and dairy products, nuts, plants, fresh fruits, and live animals, you must obtain an import permit from the Centre of Administration for Permissions in advance. The quantities allowed for import into Canada are:

Entry to Canada: import permitted

Pastries and sweets (without meat)

Up to 20 kg per person
Cheese Up to 20 kg per person
Fish and seafood, individually declared (except pufferfish and Chinese mitten crab) 10 dead finfish - not gutted, 4 crustaceans with head and shell, 3 kg of mollusks
Dried fruits and vegetables (including herbs) Up to 20 kg per person
Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables (also herbs) Up to 20 kg per person
Infant food Up to 20 kg per person
Leather goods Only fully tanned hides and skins
Meat products Commercially cooked, sterile, and storable at room temperature: up to 20 kg per person in hermetically sealed packages with the country of origin
Shells and sand Small quantities and items made from them (free of all animal parts, soil, and plant residues)
Wood products (e.g., souvenirs) Must be free of bark and insects or pests

Prohibited articles, goods, and animals when entering Canada

Travelers may not import firearms or components thereof that are prohibited in Canada. This includes cartridge magazines and ammunition. Licensed firearms may only be brought into the country with a permit and firearms authorization.

As of September 28th, 2022, the entry of "commercial" dogs from countries with a high risk of rabies is prohibited until further notice. This includes dogs intended for purposes such as passing on, resale, adoption, fostering, breeding, showing, and research.

You are also prohibited from importing poultry products from countries where there have been cases of H5N1 (bird flu) when traveling to Canada.

Common mistakes when entering Canada

Many travelers fail to declare individual items they are carrying before crossing the border into Canada. Items that are often forgotten are:

  • Canned and homemade foods
  • Homemade crafts made of wood or shells
  • Earth
  • Fishbait
  • Medicinal plants
  • Fruits and vegetables

All of these products may contain invasive species and diseases, posing a threat to Canada's environment, economy, and health. Therefore, better over-declare than under-declare when entering Canada.