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Entry Requirements




What is the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and what does it mean for Canadians traveling the US?

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a U.S. initiative that will require all travelers, including Canadians, to carry a valid passport or other appropriate secure document when traveling to the United States.

Effective June 1, 2009, Canadian citizens must present a WHTI-compliant document to enter the U.S. by land, air or water. Further information is available online at



Do I need a passport to enter Canada?

You must have a valid passport if you are visiting Canada from another country.

Visitors coming from certain countries will be required to present a visitor visa. It must be obtained at a visa office outside Canada. To know if you require a visa to enter Canada, contact the nearest Canadian Diplomatic Mission. For additional information visit the official government site.



Do I need a passport if I am leaving Nova Scotia and flying into the United States?

Beginning June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizens will be required to present one of the following documents for entry into the United States by land, air or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda:

  • Valid passport
  • U.S. Passport card
  • Enhanced Driver’s Licence
  • NEXUS card (Canada/US)
  • SENTRI card (US/Mexico)
  • FAST/EXPRES card (Commercial truck drivers)

For full details, please visit



May I bring firearms or weapons into Canada?

In Canada, it is against the law to bring firearms or other weapons such as butterfly knives, switchblades, mace or pepper spray into the country. You may bring a sporting rifle or a shotgun if you are using it for sporting, hunting, and/or competition use. There are strict specifications for non-restricted firearms. For more information call 1-800-731-4000 and ask for the form: "I am a gun user visiting Canada".



What do I need to bring a child across the border?

Due to international concern over child abduction, children traveling with one parent, grandparents or other guardians should carry proof of custody or letters from the non-accompanying parent/s authorizing travel. (This is in addition to proof of the child's citizenship.) Any person under the age of 18 and traveling alone should carry a letter from his/her parent or guardian authorizing the trip.



What are the requirements for general visitors entering into Canada?

Visitors to Canada must satisfy an immigration officer that:

  • they intend to return to their home country and will not try to stay in Canada;
  • they are in good health (some visitors may be asked to undergo a medical examination at their own expense);
  • they do not have a criminal record or are a security risk; 
  • they have sufficient funds to cover travel costs and support themselves in Canada.

If any of these criteria are not met, you may be denied admission to Canada.

Visiting Canada



Can I import food and/or agricultural products?

You can import food products, animals and animal products (including meat), plants and plant products, and pesticides into Canada only if they meet specific import requirements before their arrival. These import requirements are designed to protect Canada's agricultural system by reducing the potential for introduction of foreign diseases and pests.

For information on these requirements visit



Can I bring my pets into Canada?

Dogs and cats accompanying their owners from the U.S must have current (within 36 months) rabies vaccination certificates. It is advisable that you carry a health certificate and medical records with you. An exception is made for puppies/kittens that are younger than 3 months old but appear in good health. Seeing eye dogs are allowed into Canada without restriction.

Importation of dogs 



Can I bring alcohol or tobacco products into Canada?

Visitors to Canada may bring certain goods as personal baggage, duty- and tax-free, provided all such items are declared to Customs on arrival and are not subject to restriction. Personal baggage may include up to 1.5 litres (52 oz.) of wine OR 1.14 litres (40 oz.) of liqueur OR 24 bottles/cans of beer or ale (355 ml each; 8.5 litres total). The legal age in most provinces, including Nova Scotia, is 19 years.

Visitors to Canada who are 18 years old and older can import, free of duties and taxes, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 200 grams of manufactured tobacco or 200 tobacco sticks.

Visitors can import, free of duties and taxes, gifts for residents of Canada (excluding alcohol or tobacco products), to a maximum value of $60.00 (Canadian) per gift.

See more on Canada Customs regulations.