Canada Travel Guide for US Citizens

The US and Canada are neighboring countries with similarities and differences. More US citizens are traveling to Canada each year for various reasons. Non-essential travel restrictions have been lifted by the Canadian Government, allowing US citizens to visit for leisure and tourism. The countries share a long border, making travel between them easy. This blog provides a travel advisory for those planning to visit Canada, including new travel information, requirements, and restrictions.

Can US Citizens Travel to Canada?

Canada has opened its borders to foreign nationals for international travel. Visitors must meet travel requirements and abide by restrictions. Most visitors need a tourist visa to enter and travel in Canada. Guidelines apply to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, US citizens, and foreign nationals. Travel is allowed by air, land, and sea, including transit. Screening may occur at international airports.

Do US Citizens Need a Visa to Enter Canada?

US citizens do not need a visa to enter Canada. However, they must meet certain requirements. There are programs available for US citizens to travel between the two countries easily.

Do US Green Card Holders Need a Visa to Enter Canada?

US green card holders enjoy similar benefits as US nationals within the US, but they may not have the same benefits when visiting foreign countries. However, in the case of Canada, US green card holders do not need a visa to enter. They can have a visa-free trip to Canada, just like US nationals. US green card holders must still meet certain requirements to enter Canada.

Entry Requirements for Traveling from the US to Canada

US residents do not need a visa to enter Canada. However, entry requirements can vary depending on the mode of entry (e.g., flying or land border). It is advisable to have all necessary documents ready to facilitate a smooth entry into the country. For specific requirements based on your residence status in the US, please refer to the additional information provided.

Entry Requirements for US Nationals Traveling to Canada

Travelers must carry the following documents when entering Canada:

  • Valid passport for the duration of their stay.
  • Trusted Traveller Cards (Nexus, SENTRI, or Fast Card).
  • One empty passport page.
  • Enhanced Driver's License (issued by Washington State, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, and Vermont only) if using land or marine border.
  • Enhanced Learner's Permit or Enhanced State ID card.
  • Temporary enhanced driver's licenses/learner's permits/state or provincial ID cards are not accepted. Permanent licenses/permits/cards are required.
  • Birth certificates for children.
  • Permission or consent letter from any parent or legal guardian if a child is traveling with others. The letter should include full names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
  • Use ArriveCAN to submit required documents before arrival in Canada.
  • Ensure compliance with COVID-19 requirements.

Entry Requirements for US Green Card Holders Traveling to Canada

Important information for US green cardholders entering Canada:

  • Required Documents:
  • Valid passport from their country of nationality
  • Valid green card from the United States
  • OR valid permanent resident card (Form I-551)
  • Trusted Traveller Cards (Nexus, SENTRI, or Fast Card) along with passport or green card
  • Enhanced Driver's License (issued by Washington State, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, and Vermont only) if using land or marine border
  • Enhanced Learner's Permit or Enhanced State ID card
  • Birth certificates for children
  • Permission or consent letter from a parent or legal guardian if a child is traveling with others

Use ArriveCAN:

  • Submit required documents through ArriveCAN before arrival in Canada.

COVID-19 Requirements:

  • Meet the COVID-19 requirements set by the Canadian government.

Comprehensive List:

  • Refer to the comprehensive list of documents that can be presented to enter Canada for further information.

What is a Trusted Traveler Card and its Benefits?

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) have introduced the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) to expedite immigration processes at international border crossings.

Programs available under TTP include Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, SENTRI, NEXUS, and FAST, each offering specific benefits.

To apply, visit the Trusted Traveler Program website and choose the program that suits your needs. You can check your eligibility and find the best match program online.

The application process involves filling out an online form, providing contact information, and uploading necessary documents such as a passport, valid ID, or citizenship certificate. Green card holders and permanent residents must also submit a valid Permanent Resident Card.

Once conditionally approved, you will be scheduled for an in-person interview, which you can choose the date for. After a successful interview, pay the membership fees and follow the necessary steps to obtain the TTP cards, which are valid for 5 years.

For more information, visit the US Department of Homeland Security website.

Travel Restrictions Between Canada and the US

Gathering necessary travel documents is crucial. Understanding travel restrictions, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is essential. US citizens must also be aware of additional requirements to enter Canada.

COVID-19 Restrictions and Entry Requirements for Traveling from the US to Canada

The Government of Canada has implemented coronavirus-related restrictions and requirements.

  • Adults must be fully vaccinated with accepted vaccines.
  • Official proof of vaccination is required for travel within and departing Canada.
  • The last vaccination must be administered 14 days before entering Canada.
  • Mask-wearing is mandatory at all times.
  • Travel information and proof of vaccination must be submitted using ArriveCAN.
  • Covid-19 test results are not accepted as a substitute for proof of vaccination.
  • Proof of vaccination must be in English or French, or a certified translation is required.
  • Vaccinated travelers are exempt from pre-entry Covid-19 tests.
  • Check eligibility to enter Canada based on vaccination status.
  • Additional information is available on the Government of Canada website.
  • Unvaccinated travelers above 18 years without medical conditions will be denied entry or required to quarantine.
  • Exemptions from Covid-19 requirements are limited, such as for healthcare or medical emergencies.

COVID-19 Requirements for Children Traveling from the US to Canada

Everyone, including children, must follow COVID-19 rules and regulations. Important information for traveling with children includes:

  • Children under 5 years old are exempt from pre-entry tests, arrival tests, and Day-8 tests.
  • Children under 5 years old are also exempt from vaccination requirements.
  • Children who are 5 years old on the day of their travel are not exempt from testing requirements.
  • If a child aged 5 to 11 is fully vaccinated, parents must upload proof of vaccination to ArriveCAN.
  • If a child aged 5 to 11 is not vaccinated or partially vaccinated but is accompanied by fully vaccinated guardians, testing and quarantine requirements are not necessary.
  • Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated children aged 12 to 17 must complete a 14-day quarantine and fulfill all testing requirements for pre-entry, arrival, and Day-8 tests. This applies regardless of being accompanied by fully vaccinated guardians.
  • Families with children arriving in Canada can find more information here.

COVID-19 Restrictions and Requirements for Returning to the US from Canada

The US government has implemented COVID-19 requirements for travelers, similar to Canada. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for incoming travelers, including foreign nationals, Canadian passport holders, dual citizens, US nationals, and US green card holders. Important information for traveling back to the US includes:

  • All travelers, including children aged 2 years or older, must show a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • The COVID-19 test should be taken no more than 1 day before travel.
  • Viral self-testing kits can be used.
  • Children under 2 years old do not need to be tested.
  • Documentation of recovery from COVID-19 within the past 90 days can also be shown.
  • Adults and children aged 2 years or older must wear a well-fitting mask.
  • US citizens should check the CDC website for additional entry requirements.

Please note that this information is a summary, and it is important to refer to official sources and the CDC website for the most up-to-date and detailed information.

What is ArriveCAN and its Importance?

The Government of Canada has introduced ArriveCAN, a mandatory digital platform for all travelers entering Canada by air, rail, road, or marine vessel. To use ArriveCAN, visit the official website or download the app. Create an account and provide personal and contact details, along with necessary travel documents. You must also submit a quarantine plan, a negative pre-entry test result, and complete a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. Carry a printout of your ArriveCAN receipt for expedited entry. Register and submit documents 72 hours before arrival to avoid a $5,000 fine. For more information or to download the app, visit the ArriveCAN online portal.

Who Cannot Enter Canada?

In order to qualify for admission into Canada, it is necessary to meet specific criteria. Failure to meet these requirements may result in being deemed inadmissible. Moreover, there are various other factors that can render an individual inadmissible to Canada, including:

  • Involvement in criminal activity.
  • Committing human rights violations.
  • Association with organized crime.
  • Having a history of driving under the influence (DUI) offenses.

If you are found to be inadmissible, you may need to apply for an alternative entry visa. For further details, please visit the official website of the Government of Canada.

Procedure at the Canadian Border for US Citizens

Entering Canada is a straightforward process that can be easily navigated with the right preparation. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the required documentation and information well in advance, whether you are arriving at a border crossing or an airport. To facilitate a smooth entry, ensure that you have completed all necessary forms and uploaded them on ArriveCAN, the online platform for travel information submission. Regardless of your mode of travel, whether it be by flight or road, it is mandatory to present all the required documents at the designated port of entry.

Here are the key documents you need to have:

  • Valid Passport: Make sure your passport is current and valid.
  • Alternative Travel Cards: If applicable, you may use valid Nexus, Fast, or other Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) cards.
  • Travel Document: The travel document you used to complete the ArriveCAN form, such as your ID or passport, should be readily available.
  • Proof of Vaccination: Present evidence of your vaccination status upon entry.

Upon arrival, an immigration officer will request the necessary documents and verify their authenticity. If the officer is satisfied with the provided information, you will be granted entry into the country. However, if you have a prior criminal offense or if the officer determines that your documentation is insufficient, they retain the right to deny you entry.

For travelers arriving in Canada on cruise ships, it is advisable to consult with your tour operator regarding the usage of ArriveCAN or refer to the dedicated information page for more details.

By familiarizing yourself with the required documents and ensuring their completeness, you can make your entry into Canada a smooth and hassle-free experience.

Duration of Visa-Free Stay in Canada for US Citizens

Once you have arrived in Canada, it is essential to be aware of the duration of your stay permitted in the country. As a US citizen, you are granted a visa-free period of up to 6 months. However, it's important to note that engaging in any form of employment without the appropriate visa is not permitted.

Please bear in mind that the border service officers possess the authority to grant or revoke your entry permission into Canada. They may also impose a shorter duration of stay than the standard 6 months. It is crucial to adhere to the departure date indicated on your passport and ensure you exit Canada prior to that date.

Fees for Entering Canada for US Citizens

Typically, there are no charges or fees for traveling between Canada and the US. However, there are a select number of bridges that do require toll payments. These bridges offer two payment options: either in US dollars or Canadian dollars, or through the use of an e-Zpass system. By opting for the e-Zpass system, you can obtain an ETag specifically designed for your vehicle. This ETag is then placed on your car's windshield, enabling seamless passage across the roads connecting the two countries.

How Can US Citizens Travel to Canada?

There are multiple options available for US citizens to travel to Canada. One common method is by taking international flights connecting the two countries. Alternatively, individuals can choose to drive through the land borders that exist between the United States and Canada. With around 100 land border crossings, there are ample opportunities for entry.

To ensure a smooth travel experience, it is advisable to stay informed about border wait times. Fortunately, the Canadian government provides regular updates on their website, which is refreshed every hour. By checking the website, travelers can access the most up-to-date information regarding the estimated wait times at the various border crossings.


Can I Travel to Canada Without a Passport?

No, all travelers, including US citizens, require a valid passport to enter Canada. It is not possible to travel to Canada without a passport.

Do I Need a Visa for Canada?

US nationals and residents do not need a visa to enter Canada for tourism or business purposes. They can stay in Canada for up to six months. However, if you plan to work or study in Canada, you may require a visa or a work/study permit. It is essential to check the specific entry requirements based on your purpose of travel.

Can Unvaccinated Travelers Enter Canada?

Unvaccinated travelers are generally not allowed to enter Canada, except for specific exemptions and essential travel purposes. It is crucial to review the current COVID-19 entry restrictions and requirements for Canada to determine the eligibility for entry.

Is ArriveCAN Mandatory to Enter Canada?

Yes, it is mandatory for all travelers, including US citizens, to submit their travel and contact information through the ArriveCAN app or website before entering Canada. This includes COVID-19 test results, vaccination details, and a quarantine plan.

What Currency Can US Citizens Use in Canada?

US citizens can use their credit or debit cards in Canada. However, it is advisable to carry Canadian dollars for cash transactions, as not all places may accept US dollars. Currency exchange services are widely available in Canada.

Will My Cellphone Work in Canada?

Most cellphones from the United States will work in Canada, as both countries use similar cellular networks. However, it is essential to check with your mobile service provider regarding international roaming charges and data usage fees while in Canada.

Which Vaccines Are Accepted in Canada?

Canada accepts various COVID-19 vaccines for entry purposes. Some of the accepted vaccines include AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and others. It is advisable to check the official Canadian government sources for the most up-to-date information on accepted vaccines.

What Can I Visit in Canada?

Canada offers a wide range of attractions and destinations for visitors. Some popular places to visit in Canada include Niagara Falls in Ontario, the Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, and the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto. These are just a few examples, and there are many more breathtaking locations to explore.

How Safe is Canada?

Canada is generally considered a very safe country. It has a low crime rate and is known for its friendly and welcoming environment. However, it is always important to take basic safety precautions, follow local laws and regulations, and remain vigilant while traveling in any foreign country.

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