Americans Traveling to Canada

Americans Traveling to Canada


With the low Canadian dollar in relation to the US dollar, we anticipate an influx of visitors from south of the border this summer.  In an effort to provide some information to help our American friends who plan on entering Canada as a tourist, here is some basic information with links to more resources.  Remember, this is a guide. Follow the links w have provided for more comprehensive information.  Regulations can change and it is best to consult with authorities for complete information and interpretations.

First consideration is crossing the border into Canada and returning to the US at the end of your trip.  Most of our American visitors are travelling by land, but some fly and then rent an RV.  Border crossing rules differ depending on your method of arrival.  The rules also differ between your entry into Canada, and re-entering the U.S.  Document requirements for Canada are not a strict as for the U.S., but CBSA (Canadian Border Security Agency) Officers will want to know that you have the required documents to return.

Air travelers, adults and children, must have a U.S. Passport or a Nexus Card.  When entering at a land crossing adults require a U.S. Passport, Nexus Card, or an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) available in a limited number of states.  Children 15 years of age or younger require a U.S. Passport, Nexus Card, U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth abroad, or U.S. Naturalization Certificate.  If you are traveling with your children from a previous relationship you must have a parental consent letter from the children’s other parent.

As a tourist entering Canada you will of course speak with a CBSA Officer. They wish to determine that you have the proper documentation, that you have enough money for your stay in Canada and that you will return home.  Things like a home, financial assets, job and family indicate you have ties in the U.S. and you aren’t planning to work or stay in Canada.  Th United States and Canada monitor large cash amounts that are transported across the border in an effort to prevent money laundering. You may be asked if you are travelling with more than $10,000 in cash.  You are permitted to bring the money into Canada but it must be declared and you will need to convince the authorities that you obtained the money legitimately.

Two important considerations are previous criminal or immigration convictions and possession of firearms.  Laws in Canada differ from American law.  Some convictions including DUI and DWI can make you inadmissible.  Information can be found here under “Criminal Inadmissibility” and “Criminal Rehabilitation” and here under “Criminality and Rehabilitation.” The laws regarding firearms are much stricter in Canada, with some weapons classified as prohibited and will be seized by CBSA agents.  Our best advice is leaving your firearms at home.  If you want more information refer to this article.  If either the legal or firearms issues apply to any member of your travel group you need to do further research.


Another area to look at is traveling with food.  Before you stock up on large quantities of food, be aware of restrictions.  Here is a link to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s guidelines.  And CBSA’s information here.

Traveling with pets.  Dogs and cats entering Canada from the U.S. do not need to be quarantined and do not need a microchip or tattoo.  Your family dog or cat does require a rabies vaccination certificate which must be written in either English or French, be signed by a licensed veterinarian, properly identify the animal, indicate the date of the vaccination, the trade name and serial number of the vaccine and specify the duration of immunity.

Whether you are coming for a visit or travelling through our area on your way to Alaska we welcome our American friends.