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Training The Hand Workshop: Requirements and Documents to Enter Canada

Requirements to Enter into Canada.  Entry into Canada is solely determined by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials in accordance with Canadian law.   We have had students that have had difficulties and have even been denied entry into Canada. 

The Canadian requirements for entry are:

  • Must have the necessary travel documentation (Passport) to enter.

  • Be in good health.

  • Have no felony criminal convictions or immigration related convictions

  • If asked, they must satisfy an immigration officer of ties to their country of origin, such as a job, home, and family.

  • If asked, they must also satisfy the officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their visit.

  • Must have sufficient money for their stay.

  • All items belonging to an individual, including the vehicle the individual may be traveling in, are subject to search by the CBSA.

Necessary Travel Documents. All persons entering Canada are required to possess the requisite documentation to enter Canada and must also meet the requirements for re-entering their home country at the end of their visit. Our recommendation is to travel on a passport as this is the method which causes the least hassle when crossing into Canada and back into the U.S. (for U.S. citizens).  Below are excerpts from the US and Canadian Border Protections Services website for proper travel documents:

     A. US citizens entering Canada.  If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, you must carry proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, or a Certificate of Indian Status along with photo identification. Americans are not required to have a visa for entry into Canada.  For more information go to http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/ivc-rnc-eng.html.  Note: Our experience is traveling on a passport is the easiest and best document to use.

     B.  US Citizens returning from Canada. Documents required for U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. residents returning from visiting Canada are a U.S. Passport; Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST); U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders; U.S. Merchant Mariner document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business. 

     C.  Non-US Citizens. Most travelers to Canada need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to, or transit through, a Canadian airport (U.S. citizens are exempt from this requirement). If you do not have the proper documents, such as an eTA or visa, you may be delayed or prevented from boarding your flight to Canada.  What you need depends on:

          1) The type of travel document you will travel with;

          2) The country that issued your travel document;

          3) Your nationality; and

          4) How you will travel to Canada.

To find out what you specifically need to travel to Canada, go to this website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp

 Felony Convictions. 

     A.  General.  Non-Canadian citizens that have a conviction on their criminal record that is a felony in Canada may not be permitted entry into Canada, even if the conviction happened numerous years ago.  The biggest issue related to this that we have faced with our students is related to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI/DWI).  If you are a U.S. citizen with a DUI/DWI conviction on your record, even if was reduced by the judge, you have a good chance of being denied entry into Canada.  The Canadian border agents have full access to all the US FBI criminal records and all the state Department of Motor Vehicle databases in the United States, so any U.S. citizen who has been convicted of a crime will very likely be flagged at the border.  

     B.  Options. There are two ways to travel to Canada with felony charges or convictions appearing on your criminal record. The first option is a Canada Temporary Resident Permit, which is a document that enables a visitor with a criminal record to enter Canada for a limited amount of time. The second option is Criminal Rehabilitation, which is Canada's permanent solution for criminally inadmissible foreign nationals. Once an individual has been granted Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation, their inadmissibility problem will be fixed forever, and they can be permitted to cross the border freely again.  For more information we recommend this website:  http://www.canadaduientrylaw.com/