Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
For tourist visits to Canada of less than 180 days, U.S. citizens do not need visas. Other types of travel (e.g., to work, study, or immigrate) generally do require visas. For complete information on visa categories and requirements, consult the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website.
Please Note: Anyone with a criminal record (including misdemeanors or alcohol-related driving offenses) may not be able to enter Canada without first obtaining an approval for rehabilitation well in advance of any planned travel. To determine whether you may be inadmissible and how to overcome this finding, please refer to the CIC website.
Entry into Canada is solely determined by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials in accordance with Canadian law. Please see the CBSA’s website for full details.
Travel Documents: Both the U.S. and Canadian governments urge frequent travelers to join the NEXUS trusted traveler program. NEXUS members receive a special travel card that allows expedited border crossings for both private and commercial travelers through both U.S. and Canadian border controls.
Entry into Canada: Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens.
Children under 16 need only present proof of U.S. citizenship.
Entry into the United States: When traveling by air from Canada, U.S. citizens are required by U.S. law to present a U.S. passport book, except as noted in the few exceptions provided on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
For entry into the United States via land and sea borders, U.S. citizens must present either a U.S. passport, passport card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Drivers License, or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document. The only exception to this requirement is for U.S. citizens under the age of 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious, or other youth group) who need only present a birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or naturalization certificate.
Travel with Minors: If you plan to travel to Canada with a minor who is not your own child or for whom you do not have full legal custody, CBSA may require you to present a notarized affidavit of consent from the minor’s parents. Please refer to the CBSA website for more details. There is no specific form for this document, but it should include dates of travel, parents’ names and photocopies of their state-issued IDs.
Travel for Private Boaters and Recreational Vessels: Canadian law requires all foreign private boaters, including recreational vessels, to present themselves upon their arrival in Canada to the CBSA. Failure to report entry may result in detention, seizure or forfeiture of the vessel and/or monetary penalties. Upon entering Canadian waters, private boaters who qualify can present themselves to the CBSA by calling the Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC) at 1-888-226-7277.
For additional information regarding reporting requirements upon entry to Canada by boat, please refer to the CBSA Fact Sheet. For procedures to report arrivals in the United States through the Small Vessels Reporting System, please refer to the Small Vessel Reporting System and Pleasure Boat Reporting Requirements web pages of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.