Canadian Border Entry Regulations

In order to be able to enter Canada from the United States, travelers must be in accordance with the Canadian law and pass through officials from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). Before traveling to Canada, it is important for people to be aware of the country's border entry regulations so they bring the necessary documents and follow all of the rules required for successful entry.

American citizens are required by Canadian law to bring in identification and proof of citizenship. For a United States citizen, a U.S. passport, NEXUS card or passport card should suffice. Individuals without any of these documents can usually present both photo identification and U.S. citizenship proof, like a birth certificate or a naturalization certificate. Children under sixteen years of age are only required to prove their U.S. citizenship.

Criminal Records

Individuals with criminal records (such as driving while impaired [DWI] charges) who are trying to gain entry into Canada could be, in certain cases, restricted from entry into Canada. In order to get into Canada, they would have to apply for and receive a special waiver well in advance of their trip.

Third Country

If a United States citizen is attempting to enter Canada via a third country (for instance, traveling into Canada from the United Kingdom), they must present a presently valid U.S. passport (in this situation, merely a birth certificate and identification proof will not work). For American citizens who desire to visit Canada for up to 180 days or less, no type of visa is necessary. However, people seeking to visit Canada for any reasons other than tourism (such as business) must first consult the Canadian Embassy.

Frequent Travelers

People who plan on traveling between the United States and Canada frequently should consider getting a NEXUS card. NEXUS is a program for trusted travelers and, with the program, travelers receive a special travel card that makes crossing the border a lot faster and more stress-free. Getting a NEXUS card is a good way to make getting past the Canadian border a lot easier, especially if you frequently cross it.

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.