Whether hiking in the Rockies, sipping coffee in Toronto or dining in Hudson Bay, Canada is home to some of the most beautiful sights and friendly people on the planet.
Here’s a guide to the essential visa/passport and paperwork requirements you need to know about before you land.
Passport Requirements for Entering Canada
Before you fly anywhere, you obviously need to check your passport. To enter Canada, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough time left on your passport to cover the length of time you are expecting to be in Canada for. If you are also applying for a visa, you need to make sure that you have the number of pages in your passport required for the visa.
Entry Paperwork for Canada
If you are not entering Canada as a Canadian citizen, you are going to need to make sure that you have the right entry paperwork. Depending on your country of origin, you might be eligible to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation document or an eTA. This is applied for online. It usually gets approved within minutes but you should try to book it as soon as your flights are confirmed so you do not forget about it. It can be incredibly embarrassing to head to the airport only to be turned away because you do not have this. An eTA will cost $7CAD and will last for five years or until your current passport expires.
If you are not eligible to apply for an eTA, or you are going to Canada to work or study, you need to apply for a visa. Details on how to apply for a Canadian visa can be learned from the Canadian High Commission.
When you are on your flight to Canada, you will need to fill out a Declaration Card. These will be handed out by staff on the flight. You can fit up to four people at the same residence on this card and it must detail everyone in your party who will be entering the country. Keep it with your other travel documents and expect to show it several times as you head through Arrivals.
Passport/Visa Requirements for Travelling to Canada with Children
Many people travel to Canada with their children. It is a fantastic place for a family holiday. As a parent, you need to make sure that you have all their travel documentation as well as your own. Double-check that everything is up to date before you leave.
If you are travelling as a single parent or with a child that is not yours, make sure you have a letter of consent from the other parents. This should be a simple letter stating their names and contact information plus permission to travel. Canadian border security has the right to question the children to check that everything is OK. Prep the children beforehand that this might happen and let the border agents do their job. If you make a fuss, you are only going to hold things up even more.
Travelling to Canada with Pets
Travelling into Canada with pets is a different procedure to travelling by yourself or with children. First and foremost, your pet always needs to be secured in the right size of carrier for it. Whether it is a typical pet like a cat or a dog or something more exotic like a snake, it must be in the right carrier.
Some airlines require you to meet certain requirements before you travel with them. It is always wise to phone the airline you will be travelling with beforehand so you can be certain that you have everything you need for a successful trip.
Be prepared for time at the airport to increase significantly when you are travelling with a pet. You need to make sure that enough time is given for you to be able to get both you and your pet through security safely. You can also expect some delays while the security staff check the carrier your pets will be travelling in on the plane.
Animals do not need to be microchipped or quarantined when they enter Canada. However, microchipping is always a good move for a pet owner. You should also consider getting a certificate from your vet to prove that your animal has a clean bill of health.
Once you have all your paperwork in order, you can begin to look at flights into Canada. Depending on where you are trying to go, you might have a choice of international airports to choose from. If you live in Europe, you might want to combine a trip to Canada with a visit to the United States. This is a great decision as it will allow you to fly to one of the major American airports then hop up to Canada when you are ready.
The capital city of Ottawa is a great destination which many choose to visit for its political importance and rich history. You can find flights to Ottawa from many of the major east coast cities of the United States here – https://www.flyporter.com/en-ca/book-flights/where-we-fly/canada/ottawa
Landing in Canada
When you first arrive in Canada, you will be directed into the terminal with the other passengers. Before you can retrieve your bags, you will have to pass through a Canada Border Services Agency checkpoint, or a CBSA checkpoint. This can sometimes be called Primary Inspection. Here, a borders officer will want to look through your travel documents as is standard when you enter a new country no matter where you travel.
You might also be asked several questions about the goods you are bringing into Canada with you. This is the moment where you should declare anything which might otherwise be restricted or prohibited. If you don’t, it could be seized later.
When you have cleared the Primary Inspection, you can collect your bags and pay any outstanding duty or tac. Following this, you will be guided to the next CBSA checkpoint where you will have to show your Declaration Card again. Here, you might be selected for a random search. This will involve you being pulled aside by border officers for some more detailed information about your travels and your luggage. This can happen at any major airport, not just in Canada, so don’t get too flustered if it happens to you. Simply answer any and all questions put to you and you will soon be on your way once more.
Visiting Canada will no doubt provide you with some happy memories which you are going to treasure for a long time to come. No matter where you are visiting or what you are doing, Canada is waiting to welcome you. However, you need to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to ensure that you are entering Canada correctly if you are coming by plane. There are not as many restrictions as with some countries, but you still need to make sure that all paperwork is filled out correctly.
Booked your flights to Ottawa or one of the other great cities of Canada? Start making plans to ensure that you have everything you need to enter this country now!