Posted March 2, 2011 by Adam Toren in City Guides

Canadian Customs and Entry Requirements

If you are arriving at Vancouver International Airport on a direct flight you will have to go through customs and immigration. The customs officers will check your passport and ask if you are bringing anything into the country, as well as the reason for your visit and how long you will stay in the country. If you are arriving by car you will cross the Peace Arch Border Crossing located on the border of Blaine, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. There could be a 30-minute to one-hour wait before you get through customs, so be prepared and bring some snacks. If you are coming into Vancouver on a Greyhound bus from the United States you will be taken off the bus and have your bags and passport checked as well. Any other forms of travel such as cruise ships, ferries, and trains will require that passengers’ passports and identification are checked both before they leave and when they arrive in Vancouver.

Entry Requirements for Visitors

It is now mandatory that all United States citizens returning from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, and Canada must have a passport to get back into the United States. Canada requires that all visitors coming into Canada must have a valid and up-to-date passport. Even if you are a returning Canadian you will be asked for your passport and identification. All visitors can find out more information from the Canada Border Services Agency at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca.

Visa Requirements

Other non-citizen United States residents should carry a Temporary Resident Card, an I-94 arrival and departure card, a visitor’s visa, a student I-20 visa, evidence of support funds to stay in the country, their passport or Employment Authorization Card. Permanent United States residents who do not have United States citizen status should always carry their Resident Alien Card and passport. If visitors arrive by ferry into Canada they must fill out International Crossing applications, which will be noted and collected before the ferry boards.

Commonwealth Citizens Entry Documents

Citizens of New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain do not need any type of visa to enter into Canada, but always must show some sort of proof of their Commonwealth status and citizenship. They also have to show that they have enough money to stay in Canada for a temporary period of time. Citizens that have been naturalized should carry their certificates and permanent residents of Commonwealth countries should carry their resident status proof and passports. If you are a foreign student you should carry a passport, employment authorization, arrival and departure record, proof of support money, a visitor’s visa, evidence of intending to return to your country and a temporary resident card.

Taking Products or Gifts Home from Canada

If you are a United States citizen and you have been away from the U.S. for more than 48 hours, you can take back with you $800 USD worth of products and gifts every 30 days. United States regulations do not allow vegetables and fruits to be taken back into the country. There will be a duty tax and it is a good idea to keep all of your receipts on hand for documentation.

United Kingdom citizens that want to take some merchandise back from Canada can take 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes, or 250 grams of tobacco. They can also take 1 litre of liquor or 2 litres of table wine. Citizens who are younger than 17 cannot take anything such as alcohol or tobacco back into the United Kingdom from Canada.

If you are returning to New Zealand you are allowed to take up to $700 NZD and anyone over 17 can take 50 cigars, 250 grams of tobacco or 200 cigarettes. They can also take 1.125 litres of liquor or 4.5 litres of beer or wine.

If you are returning to Australia you have an allowance of $450 AUD if you’re under the age of 18, or $900 AUD if you are 18 or older. Citizens 18 years and older can bring in 1.125 millilitres of alcohol, and 250 grams of tobacco or 250 cigarettes.

Baggage Items

In your hand luggage, you cannot bring aboard a flight any type of liquid, gel, aerosol, or perfume that is over 3 ounces. If you bring liquids in a 3-ounce container you must have them in a clear 1-quart ziplock bag so the checkpoint officers and security can see everything. You must place the ziplock bag in the bin for a security check. There are some exceptions, such as over-the-counter medications, eye drops, breast milk, life-support products and baby formula. In most cases you cannot bring anything sharp in your hand luggage. You are allowed to pack certain liquids, gels, shampoos and sharp items like nail files in your suitcase. Check with the Transportation Security Administration if you want to find out more about traveling with hand luggage. www.tsa.gov

If you want to have more information on the items you can and cannot bring in and out of Canada then contact the Canada Border Services toll free at 1-800-461-9999; or, if you are in Canada, call 204-983-3500. Visit www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca for more online information.


Adam Toren

Adam Toren
Adam Toren is born and raised in Vancouver BC and loves everything Vancouver BC has to offer. He loves traveling and exploring new and unique restaurants and places around the world.