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COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders
Return or travel to canada.
For all travellers entering Canada by air, land or marine mode:
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required
- Pre-board testing is not required
- COVID-19 pre-entry and arrival tests are not required
- Quarantine after you enter Canada is not required
- to save time at the border, you can use the ArriveCAN customs and immigration feature to complete your declaration in advance if you’re flying into a participating international airport
- Pre-boarding tests for cruise passengers are not required
- As always, travel documents are required
- Health checks to board planes and trains are not required
- It's strongly recommended that you wear a well-constructed and well-fitted mask or respirator while you travel
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 , you shouldn't travel to Canada.
If you feel sick or experience any symptoms of COVID-19 during your travel to Canada or upon arrival, you should:
- inform the flight attendant, cruise staff or a border services officer upon arrival. You may be referred to a Quarantine Officer for a health assessment and further direction.
- avoid taking public transportation
- check provincial or territorial requirements for what you need to do if you’re symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19
Travelling in and out of Canada
- International travel advice and advisories
- COVID-19 and international travel
- Proof of vaccination
- Find out if you need a visa
Wearing masks on planes and trains in Canada is not required.
- It's still strongly recommended that you wear a high quality and well-fitted mask or respirator while you travel
Situation in Canada
- COVID-19 guidance, vaccines, limiting the spread
- Summary data about travellers, testing and compliance
The Government of Canada will continue to monitor the situation. See the COVID-19 border measures backgrounder .
Visiting the U.S. - Documents required for Canadian Citizens / Residents / Landed Immigrant to enter the U.S. and how long they can stay
- Canadian passport
- Enhanced Driver's License/Enhanced Identification Card
- NEXUS, FAST/EXPRES
- SENTRI enrollment cards.
- Groups of Children: Canadian citizen children under age 19 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory and traveling with a school group, religious group, social/cultural organization, or sports team, may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card.
- The group should provide, on organizational letterhead: The name of the group and supervising adult, a list of the children on the trip, the primary home address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth, and name of at least one parent or legal guardian for each child.
- A written and signed statement of the supervising adult certifying that he or she has obtained parental or legal guardian consent for each participating child.
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Travel Advisory July 17, 2023
Canada - level 1: exercise normal precautions.
Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.
Exercise normal precautions in Canada.
Read the Country Information page for additional information on travel to Canada.
If you decide to travel to Canada:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
- Review the Country Security Report for Canada.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist .
- Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel. Exercise normal precautions in Canada.
View Alerts and Messages Archive
Valid at time of entry
One page required.
Not required for stays under 180 days
Embassies and Consulates
U.S. Embassy Ottawa
490 Sussex Drive Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1G8 Canada Telephone: +1 (613) 688-5335 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (613) 238-5335 Fax: +1 (613) 688-3082 Email: [email protected]
The Ottawa consular district includes the counties of Kingston, Lanark, Leeds, Prescott, Refrew, Russell, and Stormont in Eastern Ontario, and those parts of the Québec regions of Outaouais and Abitibi-Témiscamingue near Ottawa.
U.S. Consulate General Montreal
1134 Rue Ste- Catherine West Montréal, Quebec H3B 1H4 Canada Telephone: +1 (514) 398-9695 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (416) 645-9124 Fax: +1 (514) 398-9748 Email: [email protected]
The Montreal consular district includes Greater Montreal and the regions of Southern Quebec Province (Laurentides, Lanaudiere, Laval, Montreal, Montregie, Estrie, and the southern parts of Centre-du-Quebec), including Joliete, Drummondville, and Sherbrooke.
U.S. Consulate General Toronto
360 University Ave Toronto, Ontario M5G 1S4 Canada Telephone: +1 (416) 595-1700 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (416) 201-4056 Fax: +1 (416) 595-5466 Email: [email protected]
The consular district includes the province of Ontario except for the counties of Kingston, Lanark, Leeds, Prescott, Refrew, Russell, and Stormont, which are served by the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.
U.S. Consulate General Vancouver
1075 West Pender Street Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 2M6 Canada Telephone: +1 (604) 685-4311 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (604) 685-4311 Fax: +1 (604) 685-7175 Email: [email protected]
The consular district includes British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.
U.S. Consulate General Halifax
Purdy's Wharf Tower II 1969 Upper Water Street, Suite 904 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3R7 Canada Telephone: +1 (902) 429-2480 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (902) 429-2480, Press 1 Fax: +1 (902) 423-6861 Email: [email protected]
The Halifax consular district includes New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
U.S. Consulate Winnipeg
201 Portage Avenue, Suite 860 Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 3K6 Canada Telephone: +1 (204) 940-1800 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (403) 266-8962 and press "0" for assistance (Consulate General Calgary) Fax: +1 (204) 940-1809
The Consulate in Winnipeg provides only emergency services for U.S. citizens. Routine services such as visas, passports and notarials are handled at other U.S. Consulates General, primarily Calgary.
U.S. Consulate General Quebec 2, rue de la Terrasse Dufferin (Vieux Quebec, behind Chateau Frontenac) Quebec, Quebec G1R 4T9 Canada Telephone: +1 (418) 692-2095 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (418) 692-2096 Fax: +1 (418) 692-4640 Email: [email protected]
The consular district includes Quebec City and those regions of Quebec Province to the North and East of the Montreal and Ottawa Districts (indicated above) – to include the area around Saguenay/Lac Saint-Jean, Rimouski and the Gaspé Peninsula – as well as the Territory of Nunavut.
U.S. Consulate General Calgary 615 Macleod Trail S.E., 10th Floor Calgary, Alberta T2G 4T8 Canada Telephone: +1 (403) 266-8962 Fax: +1 (403) 264-6630 Email: [email protected] The consular district includes Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories, excluding Nunavut.
Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
For tourist visits to Canada of less than 180 days, U.S. citizens do not need visas. Other types of travel generally require visas. Visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for current information.
If you have a criminal record, you may be unable to enter Canada. To determine whether you are criminally inadmissible and get information about how to overcome this finding, refer to the IRCC website . Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials determine if you can enter Canada in accordance with Canadian law.
Travel Programs: Both the U.S. and Canadian governments urge frequent travelers to join the NEXUS trusted traveler program .
Entry into Canada: Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry proof of citizenship and identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens.
Children under 16 only need proof of U.S. citizenship.
Entry into the United States: When traveling by air from Canada, U.S. citizens must present a U.S. passport book or other approved identification document. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website provides a full list of allowable documents.
Travel with Minors: If you plan to travel to Canada with a minor for whom you do not have full legal custody, CBSA may require a letter of authorization from the minor’s parents or legal guardian(s). Please refer to the CBSA website for more details.
Private Boaters Entering Canada: Canadian law requires all foreign private boaters, including recreational vessels, to present themselves upon their arrival in Canada to the CBSA. See the CBSA website for relevant reporting requirements.
Private Boaters Exiting Canada: Boaters may report their arrival to the United States or apply for a registered boater program using the CBP Reporting Offsite Arrival – Mobile (CBP ROAM) app. Please visit the CBP ROAM webpage for more information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to Canada. For information on restrictions for HIV positive foreign residents of Canada visit the IRCC website .
Find information on dual nationality , prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.
Safety and Security
911 is the emergency telephone number in Canada.
Crime: Although Canada generally has a lower crime rate than the United States, violent crimes occur throughout the country, especially in urban areas. Criminals may target parked cars, especially in large cities and popular tourist destination, for opportunistic smash-and-grab thefts. Do not leave unattended possessions in a vehicle, even in the trunk. Some jurisdictions such as Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver may fine you for leaving your car doors unlocked or for leaving valuables in view. Pickpockets may target you, especially in popular tourist areas. Exercise caution. Safeguard yourself and your property.
Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.
- Demonstrations can be unpredictable, avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
- Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.
While there is a very small likelihood of violence at a political gathering in Canada, we strongly encourage U.S. citizens to avoid all protests and demonstrations and maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad.
International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 911 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +1(613) 688-5335. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .
• Help you find appropriate medical care
• Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
• Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
• Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
• Provide a list of local attorneys
• Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
• Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
• Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
• Replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulates for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country.
Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. If you are considering travel outside of populated areas, particularly in the northern Arctic territories, you need to know that search and rescue capabilities are limited because of extreme isolation and the harsh climate. You must be prepared for significant delays in receiving emergency assistance in these areas and plan accordingly.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage .
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Controlled Substances: Canadian law prohibits possession and trafficking of controlled substances and narcotics, including some substances that may be legal to possess under the law of certain U.S. states. Canada has legalized the personal consumption of recreational cannabis, but Canadian law prohibits taking cannabis across Canada’s national borders . Drug smugglers risk substantial fines, a permanent bar from Canada, and imprisonment.
Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
Firearms : Canada controls firearms more strictly than the United States. Violation of firearms restrictions may result in prosecution and imprisonment.
Visitors bringing any firearms or ammunition into Canada must declare the firearms in writing using a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration form. If you plan to borrow and use a firearm in Canada, you must obtain a Temporary Firearms Borrowing License in advance. You must present these forms in triplicate and sign them in front of a CBSA officer at the border. (It is not possible to make photocopies at the border). Full details and downloadable forms are available at the Canadian Firearms Program website .
Canadian law requires officials to confiscate firearms, ammunition, and other weapons from persons crossing the border who do not declare having the items in their possession. Officials will not return confiscated firearms, ammunition, and weapons and possession of any of these items may result in your arrest and imprisonment. You should inspect all belongings thoroughly before traveling to Canada to avoid the accidentally importing firearms, ammunition, or other weapons.
LGBTQI+ Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTQI+ events in Canada. See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Pornography: Canada has strict laws concerning child pornography, and in recent years there has been an increase in random checks of electronic media of travelers entering Canada.
Canadian officials may search your computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices without a warrant at the border and illegal content can result in the seizure of the device as well as detention, arrest, and prosecution of the bearer.
Tax Issues: For information on U.S. Federal tax issues, please refer to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website for international taxpayers .
- Refer to this link for reporting requirements regarding Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) .
- Refer to this link for information on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) .
- Refer to this link for information about the Voluntary Disclosure Practice .
Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Canada prohibitsdiscrimination against persons with physical or mental disabilities and the law is enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is as prevalent as in the United States. For more information, visit the Accessibility Standards Canada website .
Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips .
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers .
For emergency services in Canada, dial 911 . Ambulance services are widely available.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with Health Canada to ensure the medication is legal in Canada.
Healthcare in Canada : The level of public health and sanitation in Canada is high. Adequate health facilities are available throughout Canada. Canada’s medical care is of a high standard but is government controlled. Access to ongoing medical care is difficult for temporary visitors who are not members of a Canadian province’s government-run health care plan. Many physicians will not take new patients. Specialist care is only by referral and may take months to obtain. Although trauma-care is on par with that in the United States, emergency room waits for non-life threatening problems can be very long. Some health care professionals in the Quebec may only speak French.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals . We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all CDC-recommended vaccinations .
Further health information:
World Health Organization U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery: We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
Pharmaceuticals: U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.
Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy: If you are considering traveling to Canada to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page .
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: As in the United States, all emergency assistance in Canada can be reached by dialing 911.
For detailed information on road conditions throughout Canada, as well as links to provincial government websites, please see the Transport Canada website or the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) website. The CAA honors American Automobile Association memberships. Automobile warranties of vehicles purchased in the United States may not be valid in Canada.
Winter travel can be dangerous due to heavy snowfalls and hazardous icy conditions. Some provinces require snow tires. CAA has tips for winter driving . Both winter conditions and wildfires may prompt the sudden closure of highways. Provincial ministries of transport typically post closures and other alerts about road conditions on their websites.
Traffic Laws: Driving in Canada is similar to driving in many parts of the United States. Distances and speeds, however, are posted in kilometers per hour and some signs, particularly in Québec, may only be in French. U.S. driver’s licenses are valid for visitors in Canada. Proof of auto insurance is required. U.S. auto insurance is accepted for tourists in Canada. For specific information concerning Canadian driving permits, mandatory insurance, and entry regulations, please contact the Canadian National Tourist Organization .
Some provinces require drivers to keep their vehicles’ headlights on during the day and some have banned driving while using a hand-held cell phone. Motorcycles cannot share a lane, and safety helmets for motorcycle riders and passengers are mandatory.
It is illegal to take automobile radar detectors into Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, the Yukon, or the Northwest Territories, regardless of whether they are used. Police may confiscate radar detectors and impose substantial fines.
Drivers approaching border crossings into the United States may encounter traffic backups. Drivers should be alert, as lane restrictions at border approaches exist for drivers in NEXUS and FAST expedited inspection programs.
Public Transportation: Public transportation options vary across Canada, but all cities and most major towns have a public transit system .
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Canada’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Canada’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page .
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Canada should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts . Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and the NGA broadcast warnings .
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories .
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook .
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Canada . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA ) report.
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Travelling to the United States
Planning a trip to the United States? Here are the answers to some common questions from travellers aiming for a smooth border crossing.
Do I need to be vaccinated to enter the United States?
No. As of May 12, 2023, you no longer need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the United States, regardless of whether you arrive by car, train, boat or plane.
What are the requirements for entering the United States by air?
To enter the United States by air, you must present a valid Canadian passport or NEXUS card (even for a simple connection). Children also must have one of these two documents.
As a traveller, you are responsible for ensuring that you meet the requirements, which are outlined on travel.gc.ca .
Sherpa, the tool you need.
Important information about your trip: health restrictions, entry requirements, and more
What are the requirements for entering the United States by car or boat?
Any Canadian citizen aged 16 or older must present either of the following documents when entering the United States by land (or sea):
- a valid passport ;
- a membership card for an expedited border crossing program like NEXUS;
- an Enhanced Identification Card proving Canadian citizenship; or
- a Secure Certificate of Indian Status.
Canadian citizens aged 15 or under who are accompanied and those aged 16 or 17 who are travelling to the U.S. by land or sea with a school or other organized group (under the supervision of an adult and with consent from a parent or guardian) may present the original or a copy of their birth certificate, or a Canadian citizenship card or certificate.
The NEXUS card helps frequent travellers get across the border faster. Travellers must apply to get one. A NEXUS card can be used instead of a passport to enter or leave the U.S. by land or sea. It can also be used at self-service checkpoints when returning to Canada by air.
See border wait times
Plan your trips to avoid waiting in line for hours. The tables are updated on the hour, 24/7:
What are the requirements for returning to Canada?
COVID-19–related requirements to return to Canada (vaccination status, random testing, isolation/quarantine) were lifted by the Canadian government. The ArriveCAN app is still available, but its use is now optional. Travellers can also use it to fill out their customs declarations.
However, the government reserves the right to reinstate certain border measures should the situation become a concern again. For more information or to find out what you need to know before crossing the border, visit the Canadian government website .
What travel insurance is recommended for the United States?
If you’re planning a trip to the U.S., even for just a day, you should purchase emergency medical travel insurance before leaving. But for even better protection against the unexpected, it’s wise to add trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
Thinking of visiting the U.S. more than once this year or travelling abroad elsewhere? Consider getting annual travel insurance . It will cover you for all your trips, all year long—making your life easier.
What about snowbirds heading to the United States?
All Canadian travellers—including snowbirds—must comply with the entry requirements for their means of travel. To help you prepare for your trip, see our comprehensive report on snowbirds .
What can I bring home to Canada after a stay in the U.S. (personal exemptions)?
Food, alcoholic beverages, and gifts are some of the things you can bring home from a trip to the United States or elsewhere. It’s important to understand these personal exemptions so you can avoid paying duties and taxes or having prohibited items confiscated.
Similarly, you should know what foods you can and cannot bring into the United States by land. Regulations on the entry of animals and animal products into the U.S. change frequently based on disease outbreaks in various parts of the world.
Important travel information
Check out our helpful information and travelling tips related to Covid-19 , including health measures for before, during, and after a trip, cancellation policies, travel insurance, and more.
Have a criminal record? You probably won’t be allowed to enter the United States (or even stop over), even if you have received a pardon in Canada. To obtain a waiver (fees apply) or for further information, contact the U.S. Consulate General . Note that a waiver is not required if you have a record of impaired driving with no aggravating factors (no injuries or deaths).
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How To Travel To The U.S. From Canada
Published: Sep 8, 2023, 3:00pm
Table of Contents
Requirement to enter the u.s. from canada, what travel insurance do i need to enter the u.s., requirements for returning to canada from the u.s., covid-19 requirements for returning to canada from the u.s., the bottom line.
Mouth watering food, fascinating histories, awe-inspiring landscapes and outstanding shopping, the United States has it all. It’s no wonder that our neighbour to the south always has a place on our “must visit” lists. In fact, Florida tops the list of the top 15 U.S. states visited by Canadians, according to Statistics Canada, followed by New York, Washington, California and Nevada.
Whether you’re planning a sun-soaked vacation in Orlando or a spicy weekend getaway in Vegas, here’s what you need to know about travelling to the U.S. from Canada.
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To enter the U.S. by air, you and all members of your family, including children, must provide proof of your Canadian citizenship with a valid Canadian passport or NEXUS card .
A NEXUS card is a fast-track program designed to speed up border crossing between Canada and the U.S. for low-risk, pre-approved travellers. A NEXUS membership is valid for five years and there’s a $50 USD application processing fee for travellers over age 18. Some travel credit cards even offer a credit towards the cost of a NEXUS application fee. The Canada Border Crossing Agency provides a list of places you can use your NEXUS card including nine international airports, eight major Canadian airports, 21 land-border crossings and 396 marine reporting centres.
To enter the U.S. by land or water, Canadian citizens ages 16 years and older must present one of the following documents :
- A valid passport
- A Trusted Traveler Program card , such as NEXUS
- An enhanced driver’s licence (EDL), which is a passport alternative for eligible drivers in British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario.
- A Secure Certificate of Indian Status
Canadian citizens aged 15 years and younger can present one of the following documents:
- An original or copy of a birth certificate
- An original Canadian citizenship certificate
Whatever document you use, it must be valid for the duration of your stay.
Canadian citizens generally don’t need a visa for stays of less than six months
While it’s not mandatory to purchase travel insurance when visiting the U.S., it is a smart investment . That’s because your provincial or territorial government health plan isn’t valid once you leave Canada and may only cover a fraction of any medical expenses. So if you fall down a set of stairs and break your leg, without emergency medical travel insurance you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars in emergency hospital care.
Travel medical insurance pays for expenses such as:
- Doctor and nursing bills
- Ambulance services
- Hospital and operating room charges
- X-rays and diagnostics tests
- Prescription drugs
- Emergency dental care
- Paramedical services, such as physiotherapy
- Associated costs during a hospitalization, such as childcare
- Emergency evacuation
Keep in mind that medical insurance only covers the cost of emergency medical treatment if you get sick or injured. If you have to cancel or cut your trip short, if you lose your baggage or if you’re delayed, you’ll need the following coverage:
- Trip cancellation insurance: If you cancel a trip for a reason listed in your travel policy, such as you or your travelling companion becoming ill, weather conditions causing a massive delay or you end up losing your job, trip cancellation insurance can reimburse you for prepaid, non-refundable costs.
- Travel interruption or delay insurance: Trip interruption insurance can pay for a last-minute flight home in an emergency and money that you lose if you have to return home earlier than expected, such as non-refundable activities and hotel stays. If your flight is delayed , your insurance can cover the cost of incidentals, such as meals or accommodations, after a specified period of time, usually six, 10 or 12 hours.
- Baggage insurance: Baggage travel insurance can compensate you up to your policy limits if your luggage is lost or stolen. It will reimburse the depreciated value of your suitcases and what you packed. If your checked bags are delayed, it can reimburse you for the cost of the necessities you’ll have to buy to tide you over.
- Travel accident insurance. This coverage offers compensation in the event of accidental death or catastrophic injury from an accident during your trip. Flight Accident Insurance covers injury while you’re on a commercial plane, during a connection or in an airport. Travel Accident Insurance covers death or dismemberment, including the loss of limbs or eyesight, while on your trip. This coverage may also be known as Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance.
Your credit card may offer travel insurance benefit s or you can purchase a standalone policy. Each option offers different levels of coverage, so it’s important to compare what your credit card offers versus a separate travel insurance policy .
The Canada Border Services Agency has the following checklist for ensuring your trip across the border back into Canada goes smoothly and without any costly surprises.
Plan ahead and check border wait times: You can check the wait time for 26 of the busiest land-border crossings from coast to coast. The table is updated at least once an hour, 24/7.
Estimate your duty and taxes payable: This online calculator provides an estimate of the duties you may be required to pay on goods imported for personal use. A duty is a tariff payable on a good important to Canada. Rates of Duty are established by the Department of Finance.
Declare all purchases and have your receipts available: Canadian residents can bring back goods valued at $200 duty and tax free after being away for 24 hours, and goods valued at $800 after being away for 48 hours. Tobacco products and alcohol are not included in this exemption, and there are no personal exemptions for same-day border crossing shopping trips.
Make sure your purchases are not on a prohibited list: To avoid the possibility of fines, seizure or prosecution, check to ensure that items you are bringing back into Canada are not on the restricted and prohibited goods list . For example, even though cannabis is legal in Canada, transporting it across the border in any form is illegal without a permit or exemption from Health Canada.
Declare all money or currency equal to or over $10,000: It’s not illegal to bring large amounts of cash into Canada, but you must declare it on arrival.
Ensure your pets have the proper documentation: Dogs and cats that are three months of age or older need a valid signed and dated certificate from a veterinarian verifying vaccination against rabies. Service dogs are exempt from this requirement when accompanied by their owners.
Ensure you and your family have the proper documentation: To return to Canada you must be able to prove your legal right or authorization to enter Canada at the border. Acceptable forms of ID include a passport, permanent residence card, a citizenship card, a NEXUS card, a visa or an enhanced driver’s licence.
Declare any foods, plants or animals, as well as any firearms or weapons: Some goods are either restricted or prohibited.
As of October 1, 2022, all COVID-19 border restrictions were lifted for travellers returning to Canada by air, land or marine, including:
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required
- Pre-board testing is not required
- COVID-19 pre-entry and arrival tests are not required
- Quarantine after entering Canada is not required
- Using the ArriveCAN customs and immigration app is not required
- Health checks to board planes and trains are not required
- Wearing masks on planes and trains is not required, though is still recommended
Whether you’re on a solo trip backpacking down the west coast, visiting Disneyland with your young family or escaping Canadian winters during your retirement years, the U.S. offers a destination getaway to suit everyone’s vacation dreams. Just make sure you have the travel documents and insurance you need to cross the border and to return home without any hiccups.
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Fiona Campbell is a Staff Writer for Forbes Advisor Canada. She started her career on Bay Street, but followed her love for research, writing and a good story into journalism. She is the former editor of Bankrate Canada, and has over 20 years of experience writing for various publications, including the Globe and Mail, Financial Post Business, Advisor’s Edge, Mydoh.ca and more.
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Travel to Canada from the US: Tips, Requirements and Border Crossing Guide
Planning a trip from the U.S. to Canada and want to insure your trip? Click below to get started.
Charlotte Armitage is a copywriter and content manager writing for brands primarily in the travel and recruitment industries. Writing is a major hobby as well as an occupation, but she also spends her time reading, dancing and bouldering.
Tori Addison is an editor who has worked in the digital marketing industry for over five years. Her experience includes communications and marketing work in the nonprofit, governmental and academic sectors. A journalist by trade, she started her career covering politics and news in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her work included coverage of local and state budgets, federal financial regulations and health care legislation.
The U.S. and Canada share a border, which makes travel from one country to another accessible and relatively straightforward. Traveling to Canadian destinations is incredibly popular amongst U.S. travelers — almost 400,000 people cross the border every day .
Visiting Canada from the U.S. may not require as much preparation as traveling to some other countries, but there are still factors to consider before embarking on your trip. Read on to learn more about Canadian travel requirements, which identification documents you need to enter the country and other information about crossing the border.
Valid Documents for Entry
- COVID-19 Travel Restrictions & Protocols
- Flights & Air Travel
- Roads Trips & Border Crossing by Car
- Train & Bus Travel
The Bottom Line
As with any international travel, Canada has entry requirements that include specific documentation for U.S. citizens. The primary document you’ll need to cross the border is an acceptable form of identification, such as a passport. Residents of certain border-sharing states such as New York can also enter the country with an enhanced driver’s license if crossing by land or water.
If you don’t have a Canadian passport but are a member of the NEXUS program , you can use your membership card as a form of identification and to denote citizenship. If you’re a part of the FAST program, you can use your membership card as identification when arriving by land or by sea.
If you’re a member of either NEXUS or FAST and are a permanent resident of the U.S. (as opposed to a U.S. citizen), you will need a U.S. passport and proof of permanent residence. You can also bring your FAST or NEXUS card as proof of membership.
While some travelers visiting Canada will need a visitor’s visa, U.S. citizens are exempt from this requirement. Instead, you’ll need to provide an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) which you can apply for before you travel.
You can find additional information about border documentation on the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website . Note that Canada may deny you entry if you have a criminal record and require children traveling alone to have a consent letter from a legal guardian.
COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Protocols
Canada ended its COVID-19-related travel restrictions in October 2022. You no longer need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or test results to enter the country. However, the Canadian government does not advise traveling to the country if you have symptoms of the coronavirus.
Do I Need Medical Insurance in Canada?
You do not need medical insurance to travel from the U.S. to Canada. However, Canadian health insurance does not extend to non-residents. Travelers will have to pay for any medical treatments they receive out-of-pocket, so you may want to obtain medical insurance before visiting in case of an emergency.
If you’re a U.S. citizen, you shouldn’t assume your current health insurance will cover you in Canada. Unless your insurance plan has global coverage, you will need travel health insurance for your vacation to Canada. As a general note, Medicare and Medicaid do not offer coverage abroad .
You can also obtain health coverage by purchasing travel insurance before your trip. Many standard travel policies include emergency medical coverage as part of the plan. While travel medical coverage can offer peace of mind during an emergency, purchasing a policy may also be worth it if you plan to participate in outdoor activities or sports in Canada.
Flights and Air Travel from the U.S. to Canada
You can enter Canada from the U.S. by car, train, boat, bus or plane. There are many airports around Canada, including Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport and St. John’s International Airport.
Many airlines offer direct flights to and from major U.S. cities. Airlines tend to offer cheaper flights to Canada in the winter months. Spring and summer are the most popular seasons to visit and therefore the most expensive.
Should I Get Travel Insurance for Trip Delays or Cancellations?
Travel insurance covers prepaid, nonrefundable costs if your trip is unexpectedly canceled or delayed . Travel interruptions such as delayed and canceled flights can have a domino effect on the rest of your trip — and possibly mean you have to pay for another flight or unexpected accommodations.
Most standard travel insurance covers trip delays and cancellations, offering reimbursement for expenses such as your plane ticket, hotel or lost baggage. Airlines are also required to reimburse costs under certain circumstances, including additional costs accrued due to interrupted travel.
Learn more about trip protection by reviewing our guide to the best travel insurance companies .
Road Trips and Border Crossing by Car
Taking a road trip from the U.S. to Canada, or simply arriving by car, requires crossing the border at one of the 24 official locations. Americans will need to present a valid U.S. passport or other acceptable form of identification upon arrival to the country. It is also advised to keep your car registration documents available in case requested by the border patrol.
When you arrive at a border crossing point in Canada you may experience delays due to congestion. Long wait times are more common during the peak season for tourism in the country and at busier crossings, such as the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit, Mich. and Windsor, Ontario.
To make your crossing as smooth as possible, have all your documents ready, turn off any music and roll down your windows. Be ready to answer questions about your visit to Canada and allow border service officers to open and check the contents of your bags and trunk if requested.
Train and Bus Travel
You can also take public transportation from the U.S. to Canada, with the two main options being a bus or train. You can enter the country on a bus at an official border crossing point or by train using the Amtrak services that run from New York City to Toronto, Portland to Vancouver or New York to Montreal. Train and bus travel to Canada may be more time-consuming but allow you to enjoy the scenery as you cross between the countries.
Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal are some of the most popular destinations in Canada easily reached by bus. Jefferson Lines and Greyhound are the most popular bus services if you want to travel from coastal U.S. cities to Canadian cities. If you’re traveling from states in the central U.S., you’ll likely have to transfer buses.
You will need an official form of identification with you when you enter the country on a bus or train, such as a passport; a NEXUS, FAST or SENTRI card; an enhanced driver’s license or another form of identification. You can book bus or train tickets online and should receive specific details about the documentation you need to travel.
Whether you enjoy cosmopolitan city breaks or rugged adventures out in nature, Canada offers options for all kinds of travelers. The country’s proximity to the U.S. makes visiting an accessible and straightforward option — you can reach Canada by plane, train, car, bus or even boat.
In order to have the best possible experience on your Canadian vacation, it’s important to understand the country’s travel requirements and prepare all the necessary documentation so you can cross the border without any problems.
Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling From the U.S. to Canada
Do i need a visa to visit canada from the u.s..
No, U.S. citizens visiting Canada as a tourist do not need a visa to enter the country. According to the Government of Canada’s website , you only need a valid identity document like a passport to visit.
Whether you need a visa depends on your home country and method of travel. If you are not an American citizen but are entering the country from the U.S., you will need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Note that travel document requirements may differ for dual citizens .
Does Canada currently have COVID-19 travel restrictions in place?
Canada ended travel-related COVID-19 measures in October 2022, including health checks, coronavirus tests, proof of vaccination and quarantine rules. However, official advice still recommends you wear a mask while traveling and do not visit if showing COVID-19 symptoms.
You can stay up-to-date on health-related travel advisories by visiting the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website .
What is the best way to travel from the U.S. to Canada?
U.S. residents who are close to the border may choose to visit Canada by car. However, if you’re traveling from a state that is far away from Canada, you can fly to the country or catch a train, bus or ferry.
Can I enter Canada with my birth certificate?
While U.S. citizens used to be able to enter Canada with a birth certificate, the country now requires additional forms of photo identification. The following documents are generally accepted at the Canadian border:
- A U.S. passport
- Passport card
Certain states that share a land border with Canada, such as New York and Washington, may also allow you to use an enhanced driver’s license.
What documentation do Canadian citizens need to enter the U.S.?
As with travel into Canada, the U.S. requires Canadians to show a passport or NEXUS card to enter the country. If you are traveling to a port of entry by car, U.S. Customs and Border Protection may also request to see your vehicle registration or other documentation.
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U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Canada
Social / search, entering the u.s..
This section contains detailed information for people interested in traveling to the United States.
In Canada, the U.S. Government issues visas from its Embassy and six consulates located throughout the country. Canadians typically do not require visas to enter the United States, although there are some exceptions . Citizens of certain other countries also do not require entry visas to visit the United States. For more information, please visit the Visa Waiver section of the State Department website.
The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. See our Directory of Visa Categories to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.
Information for Canadians
- Do I Need A Visa?
- First Nations and Native Americans
- Passport Requirements
- Canadian Students
- Categories and Requirements
- Diplomatic, Official, and International Organization Visas
- Treaty Trader and Investor Visas
- Visa Renewal by Mail
- Click here to start your non-immigrant visa application
- Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
- Fiancé(e) to marry U.S. Citizen & live in U.S.
- Certain Family Members of U.S. Citizens
- Diversity Immigrants
- Click here to start your immigrant visa application
What is a Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.
Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.
(Note: U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.).
Customer Service Statement
The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States. We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known. Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged.
We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:
- We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
- We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
- We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
- We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
- We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
- We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
- We will provide information on non-immigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on http://travel.state.gov .
- We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.
Furthermore, if you are a:
- Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
- Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
- Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.
At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:
- Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible.
- Complete your application fully and accurately.
- Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans.
- Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.
G7 Japan 2023 Foreign Ministers’ Statement
Fact sheet: president biden hosts inaugural americas partnership for economic prosperity leaders’ summit.
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Entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda
Learn what travel documents you need to enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda.
To strengthen U.S. border security, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative set standards for proving identity and citizenship for people crossing U.S. borders.
Visit the Department of Homeland Security's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative page to find the specific travel documents you will need to enter the U.S. from these locations as a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen.
Port of entry officials issue everyone entering the U.S. a Form I-94, which electronically records arrival dates. If you are a Canadian citizen, you will not need Form I-94 in most cases if you are visiting or in transit through the U.S. Learn more about Form I-94 and how to apply .
LAST UPDATED: October 31, 2023
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