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Passport Essentials and Other Requirements

Know which travel documents are required by Canadians travelling in North America and abroad.

Travelling to the United States by land or water

Canadian citizens require a passport to enter the United States at land and marine ports of entry as of June 1, 2009.

Travelling to the United States by air

Since January 23, 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) came into effect for air travel to the United States. The following documents are acceptable:

  • A valid Canadian passport; OR
  • A NEXUS card when used at a NEXUS kiosk at designated airports.

The NEXUS program offers a simplified and expedited clearance process to pre-approved, low-risk travelers.

WHTI is an American endeavour that establishes new requirements for documentation to enter the USA. It is being implemented in stages.

Travelling to Mexico

Although the Government of Canada recommends that Canadians traveling to any destination outside of Canada carry a valid passport, it is not mandatory to do so for travel to Mexico. To date, there has been no policy change requiring Canadians to travel with their passports to this destination. However, you must have sufficient identification to satisfy border officials of your identity and citizenship.

To avoid delays and misunderstandings, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada strongly recommends that you travel with a passport valid for six months after your arrival date. It is the only universally accepted identification document, and it proves that you have a right to return to Canada. Mexican immigration authorities recommend the use of a passport to expedite passage through ports of entry. Canadian citizens arriving in Mexico from a third country without a passport may be denied entry.

Furthermore, even though a passport is not required for entry into Mexico, most airlines departing from Mexico are now refusing boarding to Canadians returning to Canada without a valid passport even if the same airline accepted to board the passenger without a passport in Canada, according to Foreign Affairs.

Canadians with a criminal record might be refused entry and returned to Canada on the next available flight. Canadians in this situation should contact the Mexican Embassy in Ottawa prior to making travel arrangements or:

Travelling Abroad

All countries have special entry requirements. Since these requirements are subject to change, you should consult the nearest diplomatic mission of the country you intend to visit.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website provides general information on most countries, as well as information on entry requirements.

For detailed information, answers to FAQs and an Application Form, visit www.ppt.gc.ca/index_e.aspx.

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