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Regulations

To ensure your time in Canada is enjoyable we recommend you review the following rules and regulations.

Americans Traveling in Canada

  • Entering Canada: You will need a passport to enter Canada - there are no exceptions.  This includes children.  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.) Travelers without such documentation may experience delays when seeking admission to another country.
  • Pets (PDF): If you bring a pet dog or cat at least three months old from the United States, you must have a certificate to show that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies within the last three years. The certificate has to be dated and signed by a veterinarian, and it must identify the animal by breed, age, sex, coloring, and any distinguishing marks. Animal tags are not acceptable in place of certificates. If you bring a pet dog or cat under three months old from the United States, or a guide dog from any country, you do not need a certificate, but the animal has to be in good health when it arrives.
  • Auto Travel: If you have a DUI/DWI on your record you may be banned from Canada for 5 years or permanently if you try to enter the country.  A waiver of exclusion may be issued by a Canadian Consulate in the United States, but several weeks are required. There is a processing fee for the waiver.
  • Weapons: All guns must be registered at the border and a $50-75 fee may apply per weapon to be registered.  Firearms and ammunition should be stored in separate - locked - containers at separate corners of the vehicle upon entrance into the country. Glove boxes and consoles are not considered locked containers, even if they have a lock.
  • Returning the US: several restrictions are in effect for your return into the US.  This page outlines all of the forms you'll need when you return home.
  • For additional information the US Consulate offers a very thorough outline of services and informational links specifically about visiting Canada.

New border rules – What does it mean for guests?

There is still a lot of confusion over the announcement made by Immigration Minister, Jason Kenny and MP Greg Rickford regarding relaxed admission procedures for guests who have minor criminal records, such as DUIs. We are aware that a number of operators have circulated notices to their guests that indicate that these past offenses are no longer a barrier to admission. We believe that this greatly overstates the nature of the actual change that has been made, and have been confirming details in original documents and with our sources in the Canada Border Services Agency.

Finally, the Operational Bulletin for this initiative has been posted outlining the details of the initiative and its application. The full bulletin can be found at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/2012/ob389.asp

This change does not make all formerly inadmissible guests admissible!Although it is an important step forward, it does not significantly change the rules for admissibility. It does not replace or change the existing procedure for applying for Criminal Rehabilitation, and really only applies to the process of obtaining a Temporary Residency Permit (TRP) – the traditional $200 one-time admission that is granted at the border.

This initiative does not change the fact that front-line border officials have very broad discretionary authority. Although this initiative reflects a policy direction from the political leadership, final decisions will continue to be made on the spot as you cross the border.

What Changes?

  • The normal $200 fee can be waived.
  • A TRP can be granted even for a recent offense – guest with a single DUI a year ago may now be admitted.

What Stays the Same?

  • The rules and process for criminal admissibility have not changed.
  • It is still a one-time admission. Guests will still be expected to use the Criminal Rehabilitation process if they want to come back in the future.
  • It is not being offered to guests with more than one offense. As before, the guest with several DUIs from many years ago still needs to apply for rehabilitation.
  • Guests with a single offense that is more than ten years old were already eligible to be considered Deemed Rehabilitated and admitted. This does not change.
  • A guest who would appear to qualify for Criminal Rehabilitation but who has not yet completed the process can still be admitted with a TRP. This was already the case and has not changed.

These changes are a very positive step forward and will make life easier for many guests. They are not, however, a “magic bullet”. We urge you to advise your guests to check carefully the details of their individual situation, and, of course, to call NOTO for individual advice.

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