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Canadian customs

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Passing through Canadian customs is usually simple and fast. Having the required documents ready will make things go faster. Here’s a short summary of what you need to know. 

Required documents

  • At the border or when you arrive by plane or boat, a Canada Border Services agent will check that you have all the documents you need, including your passport and possibly a visa and other papers. He or she will ask about your travel plans and itinerary.
  • New entry requirement now in effect: visa-exempt foreign nationals need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. US citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa are exemptBe prepared: Apply for an eTA before you book your flight to Canada.
  • U.S. citizens must carry proper identification such as a valid U.S. passport.

Baggage inspection

After checking your papers, the agent will inspect your baggage to make sure everything has been declared properly.

  • You must declare all your personal effects.
  • Restrictions apply on importing firearms and explosives to Canada, as well as some common consumer products.
  •  The Canada Food Inspection Agency prohibits the import of foodstuffs like eggs, meat, dairy products, honey, fresh fruit and vegetables, etc., without a special permit.
  •  You can bring alcohol and tobacco products along, provided you respect the limits set by Canada Border Services. If you bring in more than you are allowed, you will have to pay the applicable taxes and duties.

 See the section for foreign visitors in the Canada Border Services website for more detailed information.

Animals

Under the National Animal Health Program, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) establishes import requirements for all animals and animal products entering Canada- including domestic pets.

Thinking of visiting the United States?

Travellers wishing to enter the United States from Canada must meet the requirements of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Border crossings and wait times

The Quebec-US border, stretching over 800 kilometres along the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, has many border crossings, as this map shows.

Expect delays at crossings at certain times. See this page for current and forecasted wait times.

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