Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.
Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.
Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.
Valid at time of entry. If you are transiting Canada en route to Europe, your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.
One page required
Not required for stays under 180 days
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 requires visas. For complete information on visa categories and requirements, consult the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website.
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 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 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. A few exceptions to this rule and a full list of documents that can be used at land and sea borders are provided on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.
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.
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. See the CBSA website for information regarding reporting requirements upon entry to Canada by boat. For procedures to report arrivals in the United States, please refer to the Small Vessel Reporting System and Pleasure Boat Reporting Requirements.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Canada.
Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international parental child abduction, and Customs Information on our websites.
Crime: Although Canada generally has a lower crime rate than the United States, violent crimes do occur throughout the country, especially in urban areas. Visitors to large cities should be aware that parked cars are regularly targeted for opportunistic smash-and-grab thefts, and they are cautioned to avoid leaving any possessions unattended in a vehicle, even in the trunk. Due to the high incidence of such crimes, motorists in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and some other jurisdictions can be fined for leaving their car doors unlocked or for leaving valuables in view. Visitors should exercise precausion to safeguard their property.
While Canadian gun control laws are much stricter than those in the United States, such laws have not prevented gun-related violence in certain areas.
Be aware of your surroundings. As in the United States, travelers in popular tourist areas may be targeted by pickpockets and other petty criminals.
In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
Victims of Crime: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
As in the United States, emergency assistance can be reached by dialing 911.
For further information:
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
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.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
Healthcare in Canada: The level of public health and sanitation in Canada is high. Canada’s medical care is of a high standard but is government-controlled. Quick and easy access to ongoing medical care is difficult for temporary visitors who are not members of each province’s government-run health care plans. Many physicians will not take new patients. Access to a specialist is only by referral and may take months to obtain. Emergency room waits can be very long. Some health care professionals in the province of Québec may speak only French.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
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 the importation or trafficking of controlled substances and narcotics, including those which may be legal to possess under the law of certain states. Smugglers risk substantial fines, a permanent bar from Canada, and imprisonment.
Importation of Firearms: Firearms are more strictly controlled in Canada than in the United States. Violation of firearms restrictions may result in prosecution and imprisonment.
Visitors bringing any firearms or ammunition into Canada, or planning to borrow and use firearms while in Canada, must declare the firearms in writing using a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration form. Visitors planning to borrow a firearm in Canada must obtain a Temporary Firearms Borrowing License in advance. These forms must be presented in triplicate and signed 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 Centre website, under the heading "Visitors / Non Residents."
Canadian law requires that officials confiscate any firearms, ammunition, and other weapons from persons crossing the border who deny having the items in their possession. Confiscated firearms, ammunition, and weapons are not returned. Possession of an undeclared firearm may result in arrest and imprisonment. Travelers are strongly advised to inspect all belongings thoroughly prior to travel to Canada to avoid the accidental import of firearms or ammunition.
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.
Computers and cell phones are subject to searches without a warrant at the border and illegal content can result in the seizure of the computer as well as detention, arrest, and prosecution of the bearer.
Alcohol-related driving offenses, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving while ability-impaired, and driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, are criminal offenses in Canada. Penalties are heavy, and any prior conviction (no matter how old or how minor the infraction) is grounds for exclusion from Canada. U.S. citizens with a DWI record must seek approval for rehabilitation from Canadian authorities before traveling to Canada, which requires several weeks or months to process. Please see the CBSA website for details on this program.
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).
Please see our Customs Information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State's International Religious Freedom Report .
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Canada. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Although Canada has effectively implemented laws mandating access to buildings for persons with disabilities, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
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 membership. Some automobile warranties of vehicles purchased in the United States may be invalid in Canada.
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 as long as an individual is a tourist in Canada. U.S. insurance firms will issue a Canadian insurance card, which should be obtained and carried prior to driving into 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.
Drivers should be aware that running a red light is a serious concern throughout Canada and motorists are advised to pause before proceeding when a light turns green. Turning right at a red light is prohibited on the Island of Montreal, and motorists are subject to substantial fines.
It is illegal to take automobile radar detectors into Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, the Yukon or the Northwest Territories, regardless of whether they are used or not. Police there may confiscate radar detectors, operational or not, and impose substantial fines.
Winter travel can be dangerous due to heavy snowfalls and hazardous icy conditions. Some roads and bridges are subject to periodic winter closures. Snow tires are required in some provinces. The CAA has tips for winter driving in Canada.
Approaches to border crossings into the United States may experience unexpected traffic backups. Drivers should be alert, as lane restrictions at border approaches exist for drivers in NEXUS and FAST expedited inspection programs.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of Canada’s national authority responsible for road safety.
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 on the Maritime Administration website. Information may also be posted to the websites of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Geospace Intelligence Agency (select “broadcast warnings”).