Travel to Canada

The United States and Canada have a long history of good relations, which was made even stronger by the current wave of Immigration. As a result of the recent relaxation in American immigration rules, many more people than ever before can choose to make travel to Canada their new home. The Canada Border will soon be re-opening to all permanent resident (Permanent Residents (PR) and dual citizenship American citizens (DRA) as of August 9th, 2100. As per usual an initial tourist or passing through the land border is required to still obtain an immigrant visa. However, once that is done, any American eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship must do so immediately. And while the paperwork is still being filed, there are other ways to travel to Canada.

Canadian consulates and embassy’s overseas postings are a good place to begin any search for a suitable place to reside or visit in Canada. If you are a United States citizen or green card holder, you can enter Canada through a port of entry. There are three main land crossings, in the Champlain area, between the USA and Canadian border, Prairie provinces border crossing between Quebec and Ontario and across the prairies to New England. All require American passport, green card and visa. There is another entry point from the east coast of Canada to New Orleans via the Port of Montreal. Finally, there is a land bridge across the Pacific to San Diego.

If you are from outside the USA and wish to travel to Canada, you will need a passport equivalent to your own country’s immigration requirement. You will also need a medical exam from the designated national health centre (Qubicare in New Mexico or Naturalcy in British Columbia). While there are no travel restrictions on American citizens travelling to Canada, the same cannot be said for Canadian citizens travelling to the USA. And even though there is no quarantine, it is advisable to bring some form of medical insurance.

Visiting Canada by air may be the easiest way to get there. You can fly to either Montreal or Toronto, the capital city, and either by a direct Canadian airline service or by an international airline to another country that has an agreement with Canada to carry its passengers. International airlines that fly to both countries have agreed to meet the regulatory requirements of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regarding health and safety. If you fly into Toronto, or another city in Canada, by a domestic airline, you will need to obtain a temporary resident visa upon arrival. For those who overstay their time in Canada and wish to visit another country, there are options available.

The best option for those coming from the United States or other countries that have high immigration or employment requirements is to board a ship originating out of Vancouver or Montreal and proceed to either Ottawa or Vancouver. There is a ferry service between the two cities, but you will have to get off at the final destination so that you can continue on to Canada. The ferry service does not run between the two Canadian ports of entry, but rather from one to the other.

While not every traveller coming to Canada by air will need to make a flight into another country, nor will people coming by way of land need to make a flight into Canada. There are no immigration or customs requirements when arriving by boat or by air. Those crossing the border without the necessary vaccinations or documentation may face some difficulty obtaining entry if they do not have a valid passport from one of the countries in which they intend to enter Canada. However, travellers who fall within the criteria for entry can receive a final examination by a Health Officer at the CBSA office where they will undergo a brief interview and then be given an application to fill out and return.

All travellers arriving by air to Canada must have a valid passport issued by the respective government of the country of arrival. There are no restrictions on passport issuance for Canadian citizens travelling to Canada, even if they are not from one of the designated countries that have exit and entry requirements. Travellers may need a specialized Immigration status card from the Immigration and Customs department that certifies that the applicant is inadmissible to Canada under the Criminal Code. This card is also needed if the applicant is planning to apply for an immigrant visa.

While there are no mandatory measures to prevent contagious imported illnesses, nor are there any mandatory procedures to test travellers for admissible entries or exit. The risk of contracting a highly contagious illness while travelling to Canada is low. But to be safe, all arriving Canadian travellers should consult a Public Health Officer at the airport of their departure destination and fill out a registration form indicating their contact details, date of travel and return plan. This information is used for cross-contamination and traceable disease diagnosis by the authorities responsible for the administration of public health measures in Canada.