Going to Canada? Bring your papers, please. That’s right, where it used to be that you could come to visit Canada without much hassle, our friendly neighbors to the north have changed the requirements, no doubt in large part to the U.S.’s changing foreign policy and immigration laws and regulations. Thankfully, it’s still not too terribly difficult to get into Canada. Here’s how you do it.
Have Your Passport Ready
You will need a passport, or passport equivalent, to enter Canada. The only exception to this rule is children. These requirements were first changed under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative in 2009. If you’re sans passport, you can try rushmypassport.com to get a passport within 24 hours.
Otherwise, plan on applying for your passport 3 to 6 months in advance of your trip.
Be Prepared To Address The Boarder Officer
The boarder officer is there to guard the border. He doesn’t have a sense of humor, unfortunately, so this discussion will be all business. Have your passport out and ready to go before you reach the service booth. Take off any sunglasses you or the other passengers are wearing, turn off the radios, cellphones, and leave all distractions alone while talking to the officer. You want to get through this as quickly as possible – it’s not a fun experience.
The officer is going to ask you about your stay, why you’re coming into the country, where you’re staying while you’re here, whether you’re bringing any prohibited substances into the country and so on. You may have your trunk searched during this process.
Have a Note For Children Passing Through Without Both Parents
If you’re traveling without your spouse or significant other, be prepared with a note from the other parent. Adults that are traveling with a child, but without both parents present, but have a written note giving permission to leave the home country and enter the foreign country (in this case, Canada). A lot of this has to do with child custody and protection laws.
Unfortunately, some divorced parents try to take their children and run away from the ex, leaving the child caught in the middle of a custody battle which, legally, cannot cross country borders (which is why they do it). The note is supposed to mitigate the threat of child abduction by a jealous or fearful parent.
Have a Place To Stay
What are you doing here in Canada? There’s always a reason for your stay. If you’re here for an epic ski vacation, for example, you may want to book Tremblant vacation rentals in advance so that you have something intelligent to tell the border officer when he asks.
A resort can often confirm your stay too, which is nice, since you won’t run afoul of the law, or be delayed on a technicality. If you’re staying at a friend’s or relative’s house, make sure they’re home when you’re crossing the border, just in case border patrol wants to confirm your travel plans. If they cannot, you may be denied access to the country.
Jenifer Peterson likes to visit Canada to see family and friends as much as she can. When she gets home, she sits down and shares her experiences by posting online. You can read her informative articles on a variety of websites and blogs.