If you are planning to travel to Canada in the near future, you will probably need information about the documents you need to bring with you and the formalities you need to prepare for your trip. In this article, we will explain in detail how to prepare your trip with all the documents and procedures required to enter Canada.
What documents do I need to travel to Canada?
First of all, we suggest that you find out which documents are essential to travel to Canada legally and with peace of mind. Depending on your situation and the purpose of your stay, it is necessary to have certain essential legal documents.
To enter Canada, you will of course need a passport. A simple identity card will not be enough to travel to this country, which is outside the European Union. It is therefore essential that you have a valid passport that covers all the dates of your stay.
As the application process for a passport can be very lengthy and if you do not have one or your passport is about to expire, we recommend that you apply for one as soon as possible.
In addition to your passport, you will also need a residence permit for Canada. This can be in the form of an eTA or a regular visa.
The eTA is in fact an electronic travel authorisation issued online by the Canadian authorities for travellers residing in one of the member countries of this system, including the countries of the European Union, and for tourist or business trips lasting less than 6 months. It is a simpler, faster and less expensive procedure than the traditional visa application procedure. It should be noted here, however, that this electronic authorization will only be valid for air travel to Canada. If you plan to enter the country by land or sea, you will need a visa. Note that the eTA can also be useful and is mandatory for a simple stopover or transit through Canada.
If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for the eTA, you will need to apply for a regular visa to be able to enter Canada. This visa is applied for at the embassy or consulate of your country of residence and sometimes requires a physical interview. As this procedure is more complex than the eTA, we recommend that you only use it if your stay is longer than 6 months, if you are not from an eligible country or if you wish to work or study in the country.
Documents needed to travel with children in Canada :
If you are travelling with minor children in Canada, they must also be in possession of various legal documents, regardless of their age. The essential documents are
- An individual passport
- A residence permit of the eTA or visa type
- An exit permit for English minors travelling without at least one parent.
Customs formalities for entering or leaving Canada :
Of course, in addition to the administrative formalities concerning the passport, the eTA or the visa to enter Canada, you must know the customs formalities of this country. Remember that the currency used in Canada is the Canadian dollar. It is therefore advisable to change your currency before your departure or upon arrival at one of the airport exchange offices or any Canadian bank of your choice. If you do not wish to travel with cash, you should know that many credit cards are accepted in this country including Visa and Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club and others. Cash withdrawal is of course also possible at many ATMs.
Also note that in Canada, prices are quoted exclusive of tax, so you have to add a 5% federal tax to the quoted price to know what you will actually pay, as well as a provincial sales tax which varies from 5 to 10% depending on the province.
In terms of what you can bring into Canada, it is not advisable to bring plant, animal and food products or by-products, as many of these are prohibited. To find out exactly what you can bring, check the Canadian government website.
Since 2016 and the issuance of a Transport in Canada notice to airmen to protect flight crews and passengers, airlines offering travel to Canada also ban Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones at all airports in carry-on or checked baggage for flights to Canada.
On the other hand, you will be allowed to take along certain provisions such as tobacco with a limit of 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos with a maximum weight of 3g each, 50 cigars or 250 grams of rolling tobacco. As far as alcohol is concerned, you will be allowed to take 4 litres of non-sparkling wine or 16 litres of beer or one litre of alcohol or alcoholic beverage over 22° or two litres of alcohol or alcoholic beverage under 22° or one litre of undenatured ethyl alcohol of 80° and over. It is, of course, possible to make a proportional assortment of these different categories.
What are the formalities for obtaining an eTA to enter Canada?
As we have just seen, if you are an English or European national, it is not compulsory to have a visa to go to Canada and you can benefit from the eTA to enter the country. Here are the various formalities to be completed to obtain this authorisation.
First of all, you should know that this formality is only done online and allows you to obtain this legal document for Canada in less than 72 hours. This application can be made from a computer, tablet or smartphone connected to the Internet and on the official website or on the website of an agent like the one we recommend on this page.
You will simply have to fill in an online application form in a few minutes. This procedure will require you to have your passport with you. The passport number you enter in the form will enable your travel authorisation to be linked electronically or by computer to that passport.
You will then be asked for a number of other details such as your full identity, your home address, the reason or purpose of your trip and a valid email address. You will then be asked a series of simple questions which you should answer as honestly as possible.
Once the form has been filled in and checked, all you have to do is submit your application and pay the processing fee online and by credit card.
Within a maximum of 72 hours, and usually much shorter, the answer to your application will be sent to you by email to the address you have provided. You will not need to print your eTA to travel to Canada as it will be directly linked to your passport number. The eTA will then be valid for 5 years or until your passport expires and will allow you to make as many visits of less than 6 months as you wish during this period.
Some tips and precautions to know before you travel to Canada:
We have just seen that travelling to Canada does not require any complex formalities or documents other than a passport and eTA or, if applicable, a visa. However, it is still necessary to take certain precautions and be aware of certain elements before you go.
As far as your safety in Canada is concerned, there are no real problems in this country with low and almost no crime. Similarly, the level of risk of terrorist attack in this country is estimated to be low to medium and the last attacks date back to October 2014.
In terms of precautions, however, you can ensure that you report your trip to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs free of charge on the Ariane programme. Here you only need to enter a few personal details and you will then receive free safety recommendations by email in case the situation in the country you are visiting requires it. In the event of a major crisis in Canada, you will be contacted directly and the contact person you have designated can be notified if necessary.
In terms of health and the sanitary situation in Canada, there are no major risks either and apart from the usual vaccinations, you will not need to do anything special. However, remember to protect yourself against mosquitoes in summer. An insurance policy may be worth taking out before your departure, given the very high cost of Canadian doctors and hospitals.
Finally, there is no major risk of natural disasters in the country apart from the province of British Columbia, which has strong seismic activity with a risk of earthquakes.