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Frequently Asked Questions: Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S.

Updated Date: April 21, 2022

Since January 22, 2022, DHS has required non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination upon request.  On April 21, 2022, DHS announced that it would extend these requirements. In determining whether and when to rescind this order, DHS anticipates that it will take account of whether the vaccination requirement for non-U.S. air travelers remains in place.

These requirements apply to non-U.S. individuals who are traveling for essential or non-essential reasons. They do not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals.

Effective November 8, 2021, new air travel requirements applied to many noncitizens who are visiting the United States temporarily. These travelers are also required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. All air travelers, including U.S. persons, must test negative for COVID-19 prior to departure. Limited exceptions apply. See  CDC guidance  for more details regarding air travel requirements.

Below is more information about what to know before you go, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about cross-border travel.

Entering the U.S. Through a Land Port of Entry or Ferry Terminal

Q. what are the requirements for travelers entering the united states through land poes.

A:  Before embarking on a trip to the United States, non-U.S. travelers should be prepared for the following:

  • Possess proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination as outlined on the  CDC  website.
  • During border inspection, verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status. 
  • Bring a  Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative  compliant border crossing document, such as a valid passport (and visa if required), Trusted Traveler Program card, a Department of State-issued Border Crossing Card, Enhanced Driver’s License or Enhanced Tribal Card when entering the country. Travelers (including U.S. citizens) should be prepared to present the WHTI-compliant document and any other documents requested by the CBP officer.

 Q. What are the requirements to enter the United States for children under the age of 18 who can't be vaccinated?

A:  Children under 18 years of age are excepted from the vaccination requirement at land and ferry POEs.

Q: Which vaccines/combination of vaccines will be accepted?

A:  Per CDC guidelines, all Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and authorized vaccines, as well as all vaccines that have an Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the World Health Organization (WHO), will be accepted.

Accepted Vaccines:

  • More details are available in CDC guidance  here .
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose COVID-19 vaccine;
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series;
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a clinical trial;
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart.

Q. Is the United States requiring travelers to have a booster dose to be considered fully vaccinated for border entry purposes?

A:  No. The CDC guidance for “full vaccination” can be found here.

Q: Do U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents need proof of vaccination to return to the United States via land POEs and ferry terminals?

A:  No. Vaccination requirements do not apply to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). Travelers that exhibit signs or symptoms of illness will be referred to CDC for additional medical evaluation.

Q: Is pre- or at-arrival COVID testing required to enter the United States via land POEs or ferry terminals?

A: No, there is no COVID testing requirement to enter the United States via land POE or ferry terminals. In this respect, the requirement for entering by a land POE or ferry terminal differs from arrival via air, where there is a requirement to have a negative test result before departure.

Processing Changes Announced on January 22, 2022 

Q: new changes were recently announced. what changed on january 22.

A:  Since January 22, 2022, non-citizens who are not U.S. nationals or Lawful Permanent Residents have been required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the United States at land ports of entry and ferry terminals, whether for essential or nonessential purposes. Previously, DHS required that non-U.S. persons be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the United States for nonessential purposes.  Effective January 22, all non-U.S. individuals, to include essential travelers, must be prepared to attest to vaccination status and present proof of vaccination to a CBP officer upon request. DHS announced an extension of this policy on April 21, 2022.

Q: Who is affected by the changes announced on January 22?

A: This requirement does not apply to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents. It applies to other noncitizens, such as a citizen of Mexico, Canada, or any other country seeking to enter the United States through a land port of entry or ferry terminal.

Q: Do U.S. citizens need proof of vaccination to return to the United States via land port of entry or ferry terminals?

A: Vaccination requirements do not apply to U.S. Citizens, U.S. nationals or U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents. Travelers that exhibit signs or symptoms of illness will be referred to CDC for additional medical evaluation. 

Q: What is essential travel?

A:  Under the prior policy, there was an exception from temporary travel restrictions for “essential travel.” Essential travel included travel to attend educational institutions, travel to work in the United States, travel for emergency response and public health purposes, and travel for lawful cross-border trade (e.g., commercial truckers). Under current policy, there is no exception for essential travel.

Q: Will there be any exemptions? 

A: While most non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter the United States will need to be vaccinated, there is a narrow list of exemptions consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Order in the air travel context.

  • Certain categories of individuals on diplomatic or official foreign government travel as specified in the CDC Order
  • Children under 18 years of age;
  • Certain participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials as specified in the CDC Order;   
  • Individuals with medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine as specified in the CDC Order;
  • Individuals issued a humanitarian or emergency exception by the Secretary of Homeland Security;
  • Individuals with valid nonimmigrant visas (excluding B-1 [business] or B-2 [tourism] visas) who are citizens of a country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability, as specified in the CDC Order
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age) as specified in the CDC Order; and
  • Individuals whose entry would be in the U.S. national interest, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Q: What documentation will be required to show vaccination status?

A:  Non-U.S. individuals are required to be prepared to attest to vaccination status and present proof of vaccination to a CBP officer upon request regardless of the purpose of travel.

The current documentation requirement remains the same and is available on the CDC website . Documentation requirements for entry at land ports of entry and ferry terminals mirror those for entry by air.

Q: What happens if someone doesn’t have proof of vaccine status?

A: If non-U.S. individuals cannot present proof of vaccination upon request, they will not be admitted into the United States and will either be subject to removal or be allowed to withdraw their application for entry.

Q: Will incoming travelers be required to present COVID-19 test results?

A: There is no COVID-19 testing requirement for travelers at land border ports of entry, including ferry terminals.

Q: What does this mean for those who can't be vaccinated, either due to age or other health considerations? 

A: See CDC guidance for additional information on this topic. Note that the vaccine requirement does not apply to children under 18 years of age.

Q: Does this requirement apply to amateur and professional athletes?

A: Yes, unless they qualify for one of the narrow CDC exemptions.

Q: Are commercial truckers required to be vaccinated?

A: Yes, unless they qualify for one of the narrow CDC exemptions. These requirements also apply to bus drivers as well as rail and ferry operators.

Q. Do you expect border wait times to increase?

A:  As travelers navigate these new travel requirements, wait times may increase. Travelers should account for the possibility of longer than normal wait times and lines at U.S. land border crossings when planning their trip and are kindly encouraged to exercise patience.

To help reduce wait times and long lines, travelers can take advantage of innovative technology, such as facial biometrics and the CBP OneTM mobile application, which serves as a single portal for individuals to access CBP mobile applications and services.

Q: How is Customs and Border Protection staffing the ports of entry? 

A: CBP’s current staffing levels at ports of entry throughout the United States are commensurate with pre-pandemic levels. CBP has continued to hire and train new employees throughout the pandemic. CBP expects some travelers to be non-compliant with the proof of vaccination requirements, which may at times lead to an increase in border wait times. Although trade and travel facilitation remain a priority, we cannot compromise national security, which is our primary mission. CBP Office of Field Operations will continue to dedicate its finite resources to the processing of arriving traffic with emphasis on trade facilitation to ensure economic recovery.

Q: What happens if a vaccinated individual is traveling with an unvaccinated individual?  

A:  The unvaccinated individual (if 18 or over) would not be eligible for admission.

Q: If I am traveling for an essential reason but am not vaccinated can I still enter?

A:  No, if you are a non-U.S. individual. The policy announced on January 22, 2022 applies to both essential and non-essential travel by non-U.S. individual travelers. Since January 22, DHS has required that all inbound non-U.S. individuals crossing U.S. land or ferry POEs – whether for essential or non-essential reasons – be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request.

Q: Are sea crew members on vessels required to have a COVID vaccine to disembark?

A:  Sea crew members traveling pursuant to a C-1 or D nonimmigrant visa are not excepted from COVID-19 vaccine requirements at the land border. This is a difference from the international air transportation context.

Entering the U.S. via Air Travel

Q: what are the covid vaccination requirements for air passengers to the united states  .

A:  According to CDC requirements [www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/noncitizens-US-air-travel.html | Link no longer valid], most noncitizens who are visiting the United States temporarily must be fully vaccinated prior to boarding a flight to the United States. These travelers are required to show proof of vaccination. A list of covered individuals is available on the CDC website.  

Q: What are the COVID testing requirements for air passengers to the United States?  

A:  Effective Sunday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. ET, CDC will no longer require pre-departure COVID-19 testing for U.S.-bound air travelers.

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From vaccines to testing: What travelers need to know before the new US travel system on Nov. 8

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  • The U.S. is launching a new travel system on Nov. 8.
  • Vaccinated foreign air travelers will need to show proof of full vaccination and test for COVID-19.
  • The new travel system also adds more stringent testing requirements for unvaccinated U.S. travelers.

The United States is about to make it much easier for vaccinated international travelers to visit.  

The White House announced that a new air travel system will take effect Nov. 8, allowing entry for fully vaccinated foreign tourists .  The system is set to launch nearly two years after the U.S. began imposing travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 . 

The move by the White House will essentially have the U.S. drop its travel ban on dozens of countries while also making entry more challenging for the unvaccinated. The new system will allow entry for foreign nationals only with vaccinations approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization and would add testing requirements for unvaccinated Americans.

Here’s what we know about the new travel requirements:

What are the entry requirements for foreign nationals?

Starting Nov. 8, non-citizen, non-immigrant air travelers   will need to show proof of full vaccination as well as a pre-departure negative coronavirus test taken within three days of travel before they can board a plane to the U.S. 

Learn more: Best travel insurance

Acceptable forms of proof of vaccination include:

  • Digital or paper verifiable record, such as a vaccination certificate or a digital pass with a QR code.  
  • Nonverifiable paper record, such as a printout of a COVID-19 vaccination record or COVID-19 vaccination certificate.
  • Nonverifiable digital record, such as a digital photo of a vaccination card or record, downloaded vaccine record, downloaded vaccination certificate or a mobile phone application without a QR code.  

The U.S. will accept nucleic acid amplification tests, including PCR tests, and antigen tests. The rules will go into effect for passengers on planes leaving for the U.S. at or after 12:01 a.m. ET on Nov. 8.  

Airlines will collect basic personal contact information   from all U.S.-bound travelers for contact tracing. Airlines are required to keep the information on hand so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   can reach out to travelers who may have been infected or exposed to COVID-19.

Masking will be required, but there will be no quarantine mandate for vaccinated travelers or unvaccinated children .

► US  travel bans: How COVID-19 travel restrictions have impacted families and couples

The change will make entering the U.S. possible for travelers from countries now listed on the U.S. travel ban, which prohibits entry for travelers who have been in any of the regions within the past 14 days. The travel ban  took effect in early 2020 and includes :

  • United Kingdom
  • Republic of Ireland
  • South Africa
  • The European Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City)

Currently, the U.S. asks international air passengers only to get tested within three days of their flight to the U.S. and show either the negative test result or proof of recovery  from COVID-19 before boarding. 

What about the land borders with Mexico and Canada?

New travel rules will also take effect for foreign nationals arriving by land or passenger ferry.

Starting Nov. 8, fully vaccinated foreign nationals can cross the land borders for nonessential reasons such as tourism or visiting friends and family . These travelers will need to verbally attest to their reason for travel and vaccination status and be prepared to show proof of vaccination  upon request. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will accept both digital and paper records showing proof of vaccination, including documents not in English.   Foreign nationals will also need appropriate travel documentation to enter the country.  

CBP will spot-check travelers' vaccination documents, and those without documented proof of vaccination can be denied entry. Travelers under 18 will be exempt from the vaccination requirement as long as they are traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, according to Matthew Davies, CBP's executive director of admissibility and passenger programs.  

The new travel rules will go into effect as soon as a port of entry opens on Nov. 8, or at midnight for ports that operate 24 hours a day changes will go into effect at midnight on Nov. 8 for ports that operation 24 hours a day.  

U.S. citizens reentering the country should also bring a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document, such as a valid passport, trusted traveler program card, enhanced driver's license or enhanced tribal card. 

Entry rules along the border will change again in early January, with all travelers – including those traveling for essential purposes – required to show proof of full vaccination. 

► US land borders: Travelers in Mexico and Canada plan their next US visit after new land border policy announced

Which vaccines does the US accept for travel?

The CDC has announced that vaccines approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization will be accepted for air travel. White House officials expect the CDC to approve the same vaccines for travelers entering the U.S. by land or ferry.  

The FDA has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use during the pandemic: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech, the last of which has received the FDA's full stamp of approval.

Vaccines with WHO approval for emergency use include:

  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield 

The CDC confirmed that it would accept a mix-and-match approach to vaccinations. Travelers who have any combination of FDA- or WHO-approved vaccines will be considered fully vaccinated.

The new travel policy does not accept foreign travelers who have had COVID and received just one shot in a two-dose series. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the administration will "continue to review" its entry requirements.  

► Covaxin gets WHO emergency approval: Travelers vaccinated with Covaxin can enter US   

► 'You feel lonely and left out': These fully vaccinated travelers want to visit the US. They may not be allowed in.

How do the new rules affect kids? 

Foreign nationals under 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement. Children under two will not need to take a pre-departure COVID test.

Kids 2 and older traveling with a fully vaccinated adult can test three days prior to departure, while children traveling alone or with unvaccinated adults will need to get tested within one day of departure. 

Currently, all air passengers 2 or older, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents, need to show a negative coronavirus test to fly to the U.S.

What are the entry requirements for Americans?

The new travel system adds more stringent testing requirements for unvaccinated U.S. travelers.

Starting Nov. 8, unvaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will need to take a test one day before departure and test again upon arrival in the U.S. 

► New travel rules: What US travelers need to know about the new COVID rules for international flights

Entry requirements will not change for vaccinated Americans. They will still need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken no more than three days before departure. 

Americans will not need to be fully vaccinated to board international flights to the U.S.

Are there any exemptions?

There is a limited set of travelers who are exempt from the vaccine requirement for entry.

Children under 18, certain COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants and travelers with adverse reactions to the vaccines – such as people who have had severe anaphylactic allergic reactions to a prior COVID-19 vaccine –  will be exempt.

People traveling on non-tourist visas from countries with less than 10% of its population vaccinated who need to enter the U.S. for emergency or humanitarian reasons are also exempt from the vaccine requirement. There are about 50 countries considered to have low vaccine availability at this time.

These exempt travelers will generally need to show that they will comply with public health mandates, including a requirement to be vaccinated in the U.S. if they plan to stay more than 60 days.  

Unless they have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 90 days, unvaccinated travelers  must agree to be tested with a COVID-19 viral test three to five days after their arrival and quarantine for seven days, even if their post-arrival test comes back negative. 

Unvaccinated travelers who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must also agree to self-isolate if their post-arrival test is positive or if they develop COVID-19 symptoms. 

Unvaccinated children under 18 will not need to quarantine but will still need to take a post-arrival test. 

► Who is exempt?: These select groups of unvaccinated foreign travelers can enter the US

The CDC will not give exemptions  to people who object to the vaccinations due to religious or moral convictions. 

There will also be testing accommodations for travelers who can prove they recently recovered from the coronavirus. These travelers will need to show a positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before their flight's departure and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official saying they are cleared for travel.  

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz . 

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What International Travelers Should Know Before Visiting

Cbp releases trade and travel fiscal year 2021 report.

Agency Adapts to Secure and Facilitate Essential Trade and Travel amid Pandemic.

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S. In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong. Descriptions of CBP processes and programs are available for first-time and frequent travelers.

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What is COVID-19?

Who can get covid-19, can i travel if i recently had covid-19, what can travelers do to prevent covid-19, more information.

CDC Respiratory Virus Guidance has been updated. The content of this page will be updated soon.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. The virus spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets and small particles produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. The virus spreads easily in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings.

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms   – ranging from no or mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2–14 days after exposure to the virus. Possible symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, new loss of taste and smell, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Anyone can get COVID-19. However, some people are more likely than others to get very sick if they get COVID-19. These include people who are older, are  immunocompromised , or have certain  disabilities , or have  underlying health conditions .  Vaccination, past infection, and timely access to testing and treatment can help protect you from getting very sick from COVID-19.

Yes, you can travel once you have ended isolation . Check CDC guidance for additional precautions, including testing and wearing a mask around others. If you recently had COVID-19 and are recommended to wear a mask, do not travel on public transportation such as airplanes, buses, and trains if you are unable to wear a mask whenever around others.

Get  up to date  with your COVID-19 vaccines before you travel and take steps to protect yourself and others . Consider wearing a mask in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor areas, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs. Take additional precautions if you were recently exposed to a person with COVID-19. Don’t travel while sick.

If you have a  weakened immune system  or  are at increased risk for severe disease talk to a healthcare professional before you decide to travel.  If you travel, take multiple prevention steps to provide additional layers of protection from COVID-19, even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. These include improving ventilation and spending more time outdoors, avoiding sick people, getting tested for COVID-19 if you develop symptoms, staying home if you have or think you have COVID-19, and seeking treatment if you have COVID-19.

Consider getting travel insurance in case you need medical care abroad .

Consider getting a COVID-19 test if you:

  • Develop COVID-19 symptoms before, during, or after travel.
  • Will be traveling to visit someone who is at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Were in a situation with a greater risk of exposure during travel (e.g., in an indoor, crowded space like an airport terminal while not wearing a mask).

If you traveled and feel sick, particularly if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare professional, and tell them about your recent travel.

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Entry requirements

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel. 

The authorities in the US set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the US Embassy or a consulate in the UK .

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering the US.

Passport validity requirements

To enter the US, your passport must be valid for the length of your planned stay.

If you’re travelling through another country on your way to or from the US, check the entry requirements for that country. Many countries will only allow entry if you have at least 6 months validity remaining on your passport. 

Dual nationals  

US law requires US citizens to enter and exit the US using a US passport. Contact the US Embassy or a consulate in the UK for more information.

Visa requirements

To enter or transit through the US, you must have either an  Electronic System for Travel Authorisation ( ESTA ) visa waiver  or a visa .

The US State Department has more information on visas .

Applying for an ESTA visa waiver 

Apply for an ESTA visa waiver through US Customs and Border Protection. You can also apply using the ESTA Mobile app on android or on iOS .

You cannot apply for an ESTA visa waiver if you have:

  • been arrested (even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction)
  • a criminal record
  • been refused admission into, or have been deported from the US
  • previously overstayed under an ESTA visa waiver

You cannot normally apply for an ESTA visa waiver if you were in the following countries on or after March 2011: 

  • North Korea

You cannot apply for an ESTA visa waiver if you travelled to or were in Cuba on or after 12 January 2021. 

If you are not eligible for an ESTA , you must instead apply for a US visa.

Applying for a visa

The US Embassy in London has information on how to apply for a visa .

US visa appointments

Visa appointments at the US Embassy in London are limited. Plan your application as far ahead as possible before travel. If you need to travel urgently, you can request an expedited interview through the US Embassy’s appointment service provider.

The US Embassy has more information on visa appointments .

Children and young people

Anyone aged 17 and under must:

  • have a valid visa or ESTA visa waiver on arrival
  • be able to provide evidence about the purpose, location and length of their visit if asked by immigration officials
  • have written consent from one or both parents if travelling alone, with only one parent, or with someone who is not a parent or legal guardian

The US authorities can stop you entering the country if they have safeguarding concerns about a child. If this happens, the US authorities will take the child into their care, and their return from the US could take months. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO ) cannot speed up the return of British nationals aged 17 and under from the US.

The US government has information about children travelling to the US . If you have questions, contact the US Embassy in the UK .

Vaccine requirements

For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s US guide .

Customs rules 

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of the US . You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Global Entry programme

The US Customs and Border Protection programme Global Entry allows pre-approved travellers through border control faster at some US airports. If you’re a British citizen, you can  register to get a UK background check . If you pass the background checks, you’ll be invited to apply for Global Entry.

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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

United States travel advice

Latest updates: The Need help? section was updated.

Last updated: May 22, 2024 12:51 ET

On this page

Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, united states - take normal security precautions.

Take normal security precautions in the United States

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Border with Mexico

Criminal incidents associated with drug trafficking are more frequent at the border with Mexico, in the following states:

If crossing the U.S.– Mexico border by car:

  • remain extremely vigilant
  • only use officially recognized border crossings
  • avoid travelling at night

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs, particularly in urban centres and tourist locations.

  • Don’t leave bags or valuables unattended in parked cars, especially rental vehicles, even in trunks
  • Ensure that your belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times

Violent crime

Within large urban areas, violent crime more commonly occurs in poor neighbourhoods, particularly from dusk to dawn. It often involves intoxication.  Incidents of violent crime are mainly carried out by gangs or members of organized crime groups but may also be perpetrated by lone individuals. Although violent crime rarely affects tourists:

  • be mindful of your surroundings at all time
  • verify official neighbourhood crime statistics before planning an outing
  • if threatened by robbers, stay calm and don’t resist

Crime Data Explorer – Federal Bureau of Investigation

Gun violence

The rate of firearm possession in the US is high. It’s legal in many states for US citizens to openly carry firearms in public.

Incidences of mass shootings occur, resulting most often in casualties. Although tourists are rarely involved, there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Familiarize yourself on how to respond to an active shooter situation.

Active Shooter Event Quick Reference Guide - Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

Home break-ins

Canadians living in holiday homes have been the victims of break-ins and burglary.

Make sure you lock windows and doors securely at night and when you are away.

Common criminal strategies

Be on alert for robbery ploys targeting visitors.

Some criminals on highways target travellers leaving airports or other tourist destinations. They signal tourists to stop due to an issue with their vehicle. They then wait for the driver to pull over or exit the car before grabbing exposed valuables. Criminals may also throw items at the windshield, obscuring the view of the road and forcing the driver to pull over. 

If you’re the victim of such a ploy:

  • avoid pulling over on the side of the road
  • put on your hazard lights and slowly drive to a gas station, police station or other safe and populated area

Demonstrations

Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs, including debit card cloning. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, and hotels 

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains a public alert system on terrorism to communicate information about terrorist threats.

National Terrorism Advisory System  – U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Hiking and mountaineering

If you intend on hiking, backpacking or skiing:

  • never practise these activities alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • obtain detailed information on hiking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you are properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the US authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

You must provide proof of your Canadian citizenship upon entry to the U.S. There are several documents that can satisfy this requirement.

Travel by air

Canadian citizens travelling by air to the United States must present one of the following documents:

  • a passport, which must be valid for the duration of their stay
  • a valid NEXUS card, used at self-serve kiosks at designated airports

This requirement applies to all Canadian citizens, including children, travelling by air to or even just transiting through the United States.

Useful links

  • Canadian passports
  • Mobile Passport Control app – U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Travel by land or water

As per the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), Canadian citizens aged 16 years and older must present one of the following documents when entering the United States by land or water:

  • a valid passport
  • a Trusted Traveler Program card
  • an enhanced driver’s licence (EDL) or enhanced identification card (EIC) from a province or territory where a U.S. approved EDL/EIC program has been implemented
  • a Secure Certificate of Indian Status

The WHTI-compliant document you choose to use must be valid for the duration of your stay.

Canadian citizens aged 15 years and under entering the United States by land or water require one of the following documents:

  • an original or a copy of a birth certificate
  • an original Canadian citizenship certificate
  • Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI ) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Trusted Traveler Programs  – U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Enhanced Driver’s Licenses: What Are They?  – U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Apply for a Secure Certificate of Indian Status  – Indigenous Services Canada

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.

  • Foreign representatives in Canada

Additional information at borders

Customs officials may ask you to provide your address while in the United States (including Puerto Rico). Customs Border Protection (CBP) officers may also ask for:

  • evidence of residential, employment or educational ties to Canada
  • proof that the trip is for a legitimate purpose and is of a reasonable length
  • proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay     

Dual citizens

Although U.S. authorities don’t formally require dual nationals to carry both a U.S. and a Canadian passport, carrying both documents as proof of citizenship may facilitate your entry into the United States and your return to Canada.

  • Travelling as a dual citizen
  • Dual Nationality  – U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs

Canadian visitors can usually stay in the United States for 6 months without a visa. You must declare your intended duration of stay upon entry into the United States.

In most circumstances, Canadian citizens don’t require visitor, business, transit or other visas to enter the United States from Canada but there are some exceptions.

Canadians Requiring Visas  – U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Canada

Canadian permanent residents

Canadian permanent residents may need a non-immigrant visa to enter the United States.

You must obtain this visa from the U.S. authorities before entering the country. You must also have a valid passport from your country of citizenship.

Cross U.S. Borders – U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Visa Waiver Program

If you are a citizen of a country that is part of the visa waiver program (VWP), you don’t need a visa to enter the U.S. for stays up to 90 days. Instead, you must obtain pre-travel authorization via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior your departure.

  • Visa Waiver Program  – U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program  – U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)  – U.S. Department of Homeland Security

You must also carry proof of Permanent Resident Status in Canada upon re-entry into Canada.

U.S. permanent residents

Canadians who are permanent residents of the United States must present a valid U.S. permanent resident card upon entry.

International travel as a U.S. Permanent Resident  – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

First Nations and Native Americans born in Canada

Members of Canada’s First Nations and Native Americans born in Canada may freely enter the United States for the purposes of employment, study, retirement, investing, or immigration.

  • Entry and exit for First Nations and Native Americans  – U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Canada
  • Green Card for an American Indian Born in Canada – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Working in the United States

Most Canadian business travellers may apply for admission at a U.S. port of entry without first obtaining a non-immigrant visa. However, travellers entering the United States in certain business-related categories are required to present specific documents to establish eligibility for admission.

If you plan to work in the United States, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for specific requirements.

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada

Studying in the United States

Canadian citizens don’t need visas to study or participate in a student exchange program in the United States. However, they need to be registered with SEVIS, a U.S. student tracking system. Students must present their registration form to CBP officers each time they enter the United States.

  • SEVIS – U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Canadian students  – U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Canada

Length of stay

If you wish to stay longer than 6 months, you must apply for an extension at the nearest U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office once you are in the United States and before the expiry of your initial authorized stay. Immigration officers may ask you to demonstrate that you are a temporary visitor in the United States.

The U.S. government strictly enforces immigration regulations. Remaining in the United States beyond your authorized period of stay can result in serious consequences such as detention or deportation.

There is no set period that you must wait to re-enter the United States after the end of your authorized stay. However, if a CBP officer suspects you are spending more time in the United States than in Canada, it will be up to you to prove to the officer that you are a temporary visitor, not a U.S. resident.

Extend your stay  –  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Upon entry into the United States, non-U.S. citizens must provide biometrics, such as digital fingerprints and a photograph.

Most Canadian citizens are exempt from this requirement. However, it will apply to Canadian citizens who:

  • need a visa or a waiver of ineligibility
  • must obtain an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record form to document dates of entry and exit from the country

Random screenings of exempt Canadians have occurred at border crossings and airports. If you feel that your information has been wrongfully collected, you can address the issue directly with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

  • Biometrics  – U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Arrival/Departure Forms: I-94 and I-94W – U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Electronic devices

U.S. border agents are entitled to search your electronic devices, such as your phones, computers or tablets, when you are entering the United States. They don’t need to provide a reason when requesting a password to open your device.

If you refuse, they may seize your device. The border agent could also delay your travel or deny entry if you are not a U.S. citizen.

Before crossing the border, put your device in airplane mode to ensure remote files don’t get downloaded accidentally.

Inspection of Electronic Devices  – U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Preclearance

The preclearance service provides clearance for entry into the United States for persons and their luggage at a Canadian preclearance airport before departure instead of on arrival in the United States.

When using U.S. preclearance facilities at a Canadian airport, you must meet U.S. entry requirements. You will be interviewed by a U.S. preclearance officer. They are authorized to inspect your luggage and can refuse you entry into the United States.

It’s an offence under Canada’s Preclearance Act to knowingly make a false or deceptive statement to a preclearance officer.  While you are in a preclearance area, you are subject to Canadian law, including:

  • the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • the Canadian Bill of Rights
  • the Canadian Human Rights Act
  • Canada’s Preclearance Act
  • Canadian criminal law

You may withdraw your request to enter the United States and leave the preclearance area at any time unless a U.S. preclearance officer suspects on reasonable grounds that you have made a false or deceptive statement or obstructed an officer. The officer may then detain you for violations of Canadian law.

Preclearance Locations  –  U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Criminal Record

If you have a criminal record, no matter the severity or the date of the offence, you may be refused entry to the United States. You may also experience problems when travelling through U.S. airport facilities. A pardon for an offence issued by Canadian authorities is not recognized under U.S. law to enter the United States.

If you are ineligible to enter the United States, you may apply directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for a temporary waiver of inadmissibility via the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Canadian citizens may also apply at land borders.

U.S. ports of entry are computerized and connected to a centralized database. Information is readily available on criminal convictions in both Canada and the United States. Even though you may have entered the United States without hindrance in the past, you could run into difficulty if your record shows a criminal conviction or a previous denial of entry. Attempting to gain entry without a waiver could result in several weeks of detention and a permanent ban from entering the United States.

  • Applying for Waiver  – Person entering into the United States with criminal record or overstay – U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Previous use of cannabis, or any substance prohibited by U.S. federal laws, could mean that you are denied entry to the U.S. If you attempt to enter the U.S. for reasons related to the cannabis industry, you may be deemed inadmissible.

  • Cannabis and international travel
  • Cannabis and the U.S. – U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada
  • Laws pertaining to cannabis

Boating in U.S. waters

Operators of small pleasure vessels arriving in the United States from a foreign port must report their arrival to U.S. Customs and Border Protection immediately for face-to-face inspection at a designated reporting location.

Some exceptions apply, including under Nexus Marine.

Pleasure Boat Reporting Requirements  – U.S. Customs and Border Protection

You must have a valid Canadian passport to take a cruise from the United States. Some of the countries you visit will not permit entry without a passport. A passport is also important to re-enter the United States at the end of the cruise.

Ship authorities might retain your passport during the cruise, in accordance with their own administrative regulations and to facilitate clearance with U.S. Immigration.

If your passport is kept:

  • obtain a receipt
  • ensure you recuperate your passport at the end of the cruise
  • always keep a photocopy of your passport with you

When examined at a port of entry, cats and dogs must show no signs of diseases communicable to humans. If there is evidence of poor animal health, you may need to get your pet examined by a licensed veterinarian, at your own expense. U.S. authorities may also require a health certificate.

Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before entry, except for puppies under 3 months of age. Vaccination against rabies is not required for cats.

Other animals are also subject to controls or quarantine requirements.

Bringing Pets and Wildlife into the United States  – U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Children and travel

Canadian citizens under 19 travelling with a school or other organized group under adult supervision must travel with written consent from their own parent/guardian.

  • Children: Traveling into the U.S. as Canadian Citizen  – U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Consent letter for travel with children
  • Travelling with children

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 13 March, 2024
  • Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 13 March, 2024

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

In this destination, rabies  may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 

Polio (poliomyelitis) is an infectious disease that can be prevented by vaccination. It is caused by poliovirus type 1, 2 or 3. Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus 2 (cVDPV2) is present in this country. Polio is spread from person to person and through contaminated food and water. Infection with the polio virus can cause paralysis and death in individuals of any age who are not immune.

Recommendations:

  • Be sure that your polio vaccinations are up to date before travelling. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
  • One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult .

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Zika virus may be a risk in some areas of the United States. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpage Areas at Risk for Zika  for the most up-to-date information on Zika risk in the United States.

During your trip to a Zika risk area:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to areas where Zika is a risk with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel to these areas.

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy .

  • In this country, risk of  dengue  is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions webpage on Dengue in the U.S. States and Territories for the most up-to-date information on dengue outbreaks in the United States
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Human cases of avian influenza have been reported in this destination. Avian influenza   is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds and in rare cases it can infect mammals, including people. The risk is low for most travellers.

Avoid contact with birds, including wild, farm, and backyard birds (alive or dead) and surfaces that may have bird droppings on them. Ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs and wild game, are properly cooked.

Travellers with a higher risk of exposure include those: 

  • visiting live bird/animal markets or poultry farms
  • working with poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks)
  • hunting, de-feathering, field dressing and butchering wild birds and wild mammals
  • working with wild birds for activities such as research, conservation, or rehabilitation
  • working with wild mammals, especially those that eat wild birds (e.g., foxes)

All eligible people are encouraged to get the seasonal influenza shot, which will protect them against human influenza viruses. While the seasonal influenza shot does not prevent infection with avian influenza, it can reduce the chance of getting sick with human and avian influenza viruses at the same time.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

Health care is excellent. Service is available throughout the country. However, treatment costs are expensive.

All hospitals must accept and treat emergencies, regardless of the person’s ability to pay. Clients will, however, be charged for all services rendered. Foreign visitors without travel health insurance will have to pay out of pocket for their medical treatment.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the United States.

Some medication that can be purchased over-the-counter in Canada is restricted to prescription-only status in the United States.

  • Bring sufficient quantities of your medication
  • Ensure to have a physician’s note explaining your medical condition, if applicable

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .

Laws vary greatly from state to state. Consult the website of the state you wish to visit prior to arrival.

Penalties and transfer of offenders

A serious violation of the law may lead to a jail sentence or, in some states, a death sentence. Canadian citizenship confers no immunity, special protection or rights to preferential treatment.

If a jail sentence is imposed, it will be served in a U.S. prison, unless a request for a transfer to a Canadian prison is approved by the United States and Canada. Both countries have signed a treaty that permits a Canadian imprisoned in the United States to request a transfer to complete the sentence in a Canadian prison.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Although the possession of cannabis is legal in some U.S. states, it remains illegal under U.S. federal laws in any form and quantity, making it illegal to bring across the Canada-U.S. border.

Don’t attempt to cross the Canada-U.S. border with any amount of cannabis in any form, even if you are traveling to a U.S. state that has legalized possession of cannabis. If you do so, you can expect legal prosecution and fines, and possibly jail time.

  • Entry/exit requirements pertaining to cannabis

Prescription medication

Personal medication may be subject to U.S. drug importation laws and regulations.

In general, personal importation of a 90-day supply of medication is allowed. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has absolute discretion to allow or not your Canadian-purchased medication into the United States.

When taking any prescription medication to the United States, it’s important to:

  • take only the quantity that you would normally take for the number of days you will be in the United States, plus an additional week’s worth
  • pack medicines in their original packaging with the dispensary label intact that shows your name and other pertinent information such as the drug’s name, dosage and DIN (drug identification number)
  • keep a duplicate of your original prescription, listing both the generic and trade names of the drug
  • have a physician’s note explaining your condition and the reason for you to be legitimately carrying syringes, if applicable

Prohibited and restricted items  – U.S. Customs and Border Protection

2SLGBTQI+ travellers 

Some states have enacted laws and policies that may affect 2SLGBTQI+ persons. Check relevant state and local laws.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in the United States .

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of the United States , our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .

  • General information for travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and the United States.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in the United States, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the American court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in the United States to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

  • List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
  • International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
  • The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Emergency Watch and Response Centre

Expedited removal

U.S. Customs and Border Protection can bar non-citizens from the United States for five years if, in their judgment, the individuals presented false documentation or misrepresented themselves. Lying to a customs official is a serious offence.

There is no formal appeal process under expedited removal. However, if you believe the law has been misapplied in your case, you can request a supervisory review by writing to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services district director responsible for the port of entry where the decision was made.

Find a USCIS office  – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Imports and exports

Contact the specific U.S. Customs and Border Protection office at the Canada/U.S. border crossing you are planning to use before starting your trip for the latest information on allowances and restrictions on bringing items into the United States. These change frequently.

Declare all items at your point of entry.

Contact information for USCBP  – U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Travel to Cuba from the United States

Existing U.S. sanctions restrict travel between the United States and Cuba. Tourists may not travel between the two countries. However, you may go to Cuba from the United States on other types of travel, if you meet certain requirements.

Cuba sanctions  – U.S. Department of the Treasury

You can drive in the United States if you have a valid Canadian driver’s license.

Traffic laws can vary from state to state.

Automobile insurance

Many states have mandatory automobile insurance requirements, and many require motorists to carry appropriate proof of insurance. Each state’s motor vehicles department can give you more specific information.

If you are in the United States and wish to drive to Mexico in your personal vehicle, you may need to purchase liability insurance and additional auto insurance.

  • Foreign Nationals Driving in the U.S.  – U.S. government
  • States’ motor vehicle department  – U.S. government
  • Canadian Automobile Association
  • American Automobile Association
  • Road safety risks when travelling by land to Mexico
  • Travel advice for Mexico

Hitchhiking

Never cross the border with a hitchhiker or as a hitchhiker. Though you may not be carrying anything illegal, the hitchhiker or driver might be, and you could be implicated.

Be equally careful about who and what you carry in your vehicle. As the driver, you could be held responsible for the misdeeds and belongings of your passengers, even if you were unaware of the problem.

The currency in the United States is the U.S. dollar (USD).

Canadian currency and personal cheques from Canadian banks are not widely accepted. Most banking transactions require a U.S. bank account.

There’s no limit to the amount of money that you may legally take into or out of the United States. However, you must declare to U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

  • if you carry more than US$10,000 (in cash, cheque, money order,      travellers’ cheque or any other convertible asset) into or out of the      United States
  • if you will receive more than US$10,000 while in the United States

Failure to comply can result in civil and criminal penalties, including seizure of the currency or monetary instruments.

Natural disasters can occur at any time.

Plan Ahead for Disasters  – U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Hurricanes usually occur from:

  • May to November in the eastern Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii and Guam
  • June to November in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico

These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.

If you decide to travel to these regions during the hurricane season:

  • know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
  • Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
  • Large-scale emergencies abroad
  • Latest advisories  – U.S. National Hurricane Center
  • US National Weather Service  

Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.

  • Stay away from flooded areas
  • Follow the advice of local authorities
  • Monitor local news to stay up-to-date on the current situation

Earthquakes

Earthquakes pose a risk in the following states:

  • Washington State

If you’re in an area prone to earthquakes, familiarize yourself with emergency procedures.

  • Earthquake - Get prepared
  • Earthquakes  – Federal Emergency Management

Heat and humidity

Humidity and heat may be most severe during the hot season, from June to September, particularly in the South and South-West of the country.

Know the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, which can both be fatal.

  • Sun and heat safety tips for travellers – Government of Canada
  • Heat & Health Tracker – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Bush and forest fires

Bush and forest fires are common and a risk across much of the United States, particularly during the summer months. 

Wildfires can occur year-round but they are most common during periods of low rainfall and high temperatures.

The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke. In case of a major fire:

  • stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • always follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel, including any evacuation order
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
  • Forest fire information - National Interagency Fire Centre 
  • National Wildfire Risk Index – Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Latest wildfire information  - United States National Wildfire Coordinating Group
  • Map of wildfires  – Fire weather & Avalanche Center
  • California forest fires   – California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

Tornadoes pose a risk in states east of the Rocky Mountains, particularly in:

  • Mississippi

U.S. National Weather Service

There are several active volcanoes in the United States.

In the event of a volcanic eruption, ash could lead to air travel disruptions. The air quality may deteriorate and affect you, especially if you suffer from respiratory ailments.

  • Monitor local media for the latest updates
  • Follow the advice of local authorities, including evacuation order
  • Be prepared to modify your travel arrangements or even evacuate the area on short notice
  • Volcanic eruptions  - U.S. National Park Service
  • Vog  – Government of Hawaii

Tsunamis 

The state of Hawaii is prone to tsunamis. A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor.

If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.

Tsunami Evacuation Zones  – Government of Hawaii

Local services

Dial 911 for emergency assistance.

Consular assistance

Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee.

Illinois, Indiana (Jasper, Lake, Laporte, Newton, and Porter counties), Kansas City, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin.

Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Utah, Wyoming.

Indiana (excluding Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton and Porter counties), Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio.

Arizona, Nevada, Southern California

Florida, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands

Bermuda, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York State and Pennsylvania.

Northern California, Hawaii.

Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington.

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to the United States, in Washington, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

You may call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa toll-free at 1-888-949-9993.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

REAL ID deadline moving closer. 14 things you need to know to get your Florida license

You're running out of time.

The deadline to have a REAL ID is now less than a year away.

Originally set for October 2021, the deadline for U.S. residents to have a REAL ID has been extended at least twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning in May 2025, anyone 18 and older who plans to take a domestic flight will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints.

Here's what you need to know about REAL IDs.

What is a REAL ID?

After the 9/11 Commission recommended the federal government set standards for identification, Congress passed the  Real ID Act  in 2005.

The act established  minimum security standards for getting a license anywhere across the country  and prohibited some federal agencies from accepting anything less.

"The act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits certain federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards," according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The purposes are:

  • Accessing certain federal facilities
  • Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft
  • Entering nuclear power plants

The Real ID Act became effective nationwide on May 11, 2008. Florida began issuing REAL ID-compliant credentials after Jan. 4, 2010.

Why do you need a REAL ID?

Without a REAL ID, you will not be permitted to pass through a TSA checkpoint after May 7, 2025.

REAL ID-compliant credentials already are required to enter checkpoints at federal facilities,  military facilities  and nuclear power plants.

What's the deadline to get a REAL ID?

The federal government is expected to start enforcing REAL ID on May 7, 2025. At that time, people will need either a Real ID or passport to fly domestically and enter certain federal facilities.

So if you're an adult and plan to fly commercially, you'll need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license.

Is there an alternative to a REAL ID?

Sort of. If you don't have a REAL ID, you'll need:

  • A REAL ID-compliant identification.
  • A valid passport or passport card.

Countdown clock to deadline for a REAL ID

Where do you go to get a real id in florida.

Real IDs in Florida will be issued to first-time and renewing customers at a local driver's license service center or tax collector officer.

You must visit an office in person to get a REAL ID the first time, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Since January 2020, those without a REAL ID license have not been able to renew their licenses online through the MyDMV Portal.

If your card is not REAL ID compliant and you aren't up for renewal before May 7, 2025, make an appointment to get a new card. Locations can be found  here .

A Class E license can be renewed up to 18 months prior to the card’s expiration date.

How do you know if you already have a REAL ID?

In Florida, a REAL ID is marked with a gold circle with a white star in the top right corner of your driver's license or state identification card. If the star is there, it's REAL ID compliant.

 If you've received a new or renewed Florida driver's license or ID since January 2010, you should be good to go.

How much does a REAL ID cost in Florida?

The  fee for an initial Florida Class E license  (including learner’s permit) is $48 and a commercial driver's license (Class A) license is $75.

The fee for a state ID card is $25.

Most local tax collector offices also charge a $6.25 service fee.

Here's what you need to bring with you to get a REAL ID in Florida

You’ll need to bring  one of the primary documents  listed below to prove your identity, legal residence and date of birth:

For U.S. citizens:

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport
  • Original or certified copy of a birth certificate
  • Consular report of birth abroad
  • Certificate of naturalization issued by DHS
  • Certificate of citizenship
  • Court-ordered name change document
  • Marriage certificate, issued by the courts, and/or
  • Divorce decree, issued by the courts

In all cases, the document must show a clear trail of name changes originating with the birth name to the current name.

For non-citizens:

  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card – I-551 for Lawful Permanent Residents
  • Valid passport for non-immigrants except for asylum applicants and refugees
  • Other government-issued document showing your full name
  • Department of Homeland Security document showing proof of lawful presence
  • If your name has changed by marriage/divorce, you must have your name changed on your Citizen and Immigration Services documents.

Both citizens and non-citizens will need to bring:

  • Your Social Security Card or proof of your social security number. You can find a list of documents that provide proof of your social security number on the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle's  What to Bring page .
  • Two documents that show your principle residence

How long does it take to get a REAL ID in Florida?

Once your identity and legal status have been verified, a driver's license or ID card will be issued within 60 days and mailed to the address on the driver record.

The driver's license or ID card will be issued for the period of time specified on the USCIS document, up to a maximum of four years.

Is REAL ID mandatory in Florida?

Yes. Every state resident must have a Real ID-compliant driver's license or identification card — or valid passport — to board a commercial aircraft within the U.S.

Without a REAL ID — or acceptable alternative — travelers will not be permitted through the security checkpoint.

Will children need to have a REAL ID?

No. The TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Can you use a REAL ID to enter the Bahamas, Mexico or Canada, or another country?

No. REAL IDs cannot be used for border crossings or international travel. If you're traveling internationally, you still need a passport.

REAL IDs also can't be used for international sea cruise travel.

What is the gold star on my Florida driver's license?

If the star is there, it's Real ID compliant.

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Taking your dog to the U.S.? New requirements go into effect Aug. 1

travelling to us requirements

If you get Global News from Instagram or Facebook - that will be changing. Find out how you can still connect with us .

B.C. residents who want to take their dogs across the border to the U.S. will have to meet additional requirements starting Aug. 1.

travelling to us requirements

The Center for Disease Control is implementing these changes to make sure any dog arriving in the U.S. is healthy and doesn’t present a risk to any community.

Starting on Aug. 1, all dogs entering the U.S. must:

  • Appear healthy upon arrival;
  • Be at least six months of age;
  • Be microchipped; and
  • Be accompanied by a CDC Dog Import Form online submission receipt .

The CDC says additional requirements may be needed if the dog has been to different locations in the last six months and whether the dog was vaccinated in the U.S.

Dr. Adrian Walton, a veterinarian in Maple Ridge told Global News that these new rules are “going to make life very challenging for anybody who wants to cross the border with their pets.”

He said the problem is that there is a lot of information for people to know and it is confusing.

“There’s a whole range of different requirements that vary depending on each individual animal, where it’s from, when it was vaccinated, the age at the moment,” he said.

“What we think people are going to need is some preplanning to apply for the import permit, a valid microchip and current rabies, and making sure that their veterinarian has signed a form stating that the animals are healthy and you need to have that within 30 days of any attempt to travel across the border.”

Walton said he hopes that by Aug. 1 there are going to be more details about the requirements as even veterinarians are confused by the process.

Dogs arriving from countries with a high risk of dog rabies must be protected against rabies, the CDC states on its website.

The rabies virus variant that dogs carry was eliminated in the U.S. in 2007 and the CDC says it wants it to stay that way.

The temporary suspension on the importation of dogs from countries with a high risk of rabies , enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, will also lift on Aug. 1, bringing the regulation to align with the World Organization for Animal Health’s standards for the international movement of dogs from countries with a high risk of dog rabies.

“We had a case in Toronto just a couple of years ago where dozens of people were exposed to a dog that was tested positive for rabies, and they all had to receive treatment,” Walton said.

“Because the thing about canine rabies is if at any point you develop clinical signs and you don’t know that you’ve been exposed to rabies, it’s a death sentence. We’re not talking you just get really sick. We’re talking, you die.”

The CDC says travellers should plan for future travel to ensure requirements for dog importations will be met at the time their dogs will enter the United States.

A tool named DogBot is available to help travellers.

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Security Alert May 17, 2024

Worldwide caution, update may 10, 2024, information for u.s. citizens in the middle east.

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Waiver of the Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement

Some  exchange visitors  with J-1 visas are subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement. It requires you to return  home for at least two years after your exchange visitor program. This requirement is part of U.S. law, in the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e). If you cannot return home for two years, you must apply for a waiver. The Department of Homeland Security must approve your waiver before you can change status in the United States or receive a visa in certain categories.

Eligibility for a Waiver

Select  Eligibility Information  about J-1 exchange visitors are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement and whether a waiver is available to you.

Instructions and the J-1 Waiver Recommendation Application

Select  Instructions and Online DS-3035  to learn more and access the online form  to request a recommendation for a waiver from the Department of State’s Waiver Review Division.

Before you apply - More information

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Select  J Visa Waiver Online  to change your address or contact information and to check the status of your waiver.

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New US Dog Entry Requirements for Canadians Start August 1, 2024

The CDC has updated its regulations for bringing a dog into the United States effective August 1, 2024

Image of a Dog: New US Dog Entry Requirements for Canadians

The CDC has created new US dog entry requirements starting August 1, 2024. Here’s everything you need to know if you plan to bring your canine companion into the United States this summer.

Key Points:

  • New regulations for dog entry take effect on August 1, 2024.
  • This applies to all U.S. ports of entry, including land, sea, and air.
  • All dogs must appear healthy and meet specific vaccination and microchipping requirements.
  • Stringent rules apply to dogs arriving from countries with a high risk of dog rabies.

Who This News Impacts

  • Dog owners planning to travel internationally with their dogs.
  • Airlines and transport companies involved in pet transportation.
  • Veterinary professionals and pet relocation services.

What People Need to Know

  • All dogs must be at least six months old, appear healthy, be microchipped, and be accompanied by a CDC Dog Entry Form receipt.
  • Dogs from high-risk rabies countries need a valid rabies vaccination, microchipping before vaccination, and possibly a rabies serology titer or a reservation at a CDC-registered animal care facility.
  • Specific documentation must be presented to airlines and U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon arrival.

What Are the New Entry Requirements

The criteria for bringing a dog into the United States vary based on several factors:

  • The date your dog is scheduled to arrive in the U.S.
  • The locations your dog has visited in the six months prior to its arrival in the U.S.
  • The country in which your dog was vaccinated against rabies, if applicable.
  • The age of the dog, and whether they have an ISO-compatible microchip.

To ensure your dog is allowed entry into the U.S., it must comply with specific requirements. You can use the CDC’s DogBot tool to check which regulations apply to your dog, based on your travel dates and the countries your dog has been in.

Why Are There New US Dog Entry Requirements?

These new rules for dog entry into the States come from the CDC’s desire to protect their citizens and their pets by cracking down on dog entries in concern of reintroducing rabies . Rabies is a dangerous disease , as such, the CDC is looking to implement safer entry of dogs into the U.S. for public health safety through hopefully preventing the risk of re-introducing rabies into the country from possibly sick dogs. 

What Does This Mean for Canadian Pet Owners Travelling?

For Canadian pet parents looking to bring their furry friend along on a trip down to the States, the process just got a lot more complicated. Even if you live right next to the border and are just driving down for a quick visit, you’ll need to set aside some time to ensure your pup is up to date with all of the requirements needed for entry. If they’re not, your trip may be over before it starts.

This applies for everyone entering the United States with a dog, and so pre-planning and ensuring your dog is properly prepared is going to be a new staple in many people’s pre-trip routine. 

What if You Don’t Meet the Requirements?

If your dog fails to meet the entry requirements into the United States, then access will be denied. The CDC states that those who do not have valid entry will “be returned to the country of departure at the importer’s expense.”

Resources for More Information

This can seem like a lot of information coming at you at once, and it can be hard to sift through it all. Not to worry, the CDC accounted for that and released online tools meant to help travellers understand the requirements needed for their dog:

  • DOGBOT is an interactive tool that can help users find the correct forms needed for them. 
  • A checklist is also available on the CDC’s website for a breakdown on actions to take leading up to your trip.

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Travelling with a pet

The United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced changes to the import requirements for dogs entering the United States . These changes will come into effect on August 1, 2024 and will impact dogs travelling from Canada to the United States. The CFIA is currently in the process of reviewing these requirements. Further information and guidance will be provided as soon as possible.

New import conditions for personal pet dogs and assistance dogs from countries at high-risk for dog rabies starting September 28, 2023

Personal pet dogs and assistance dogs from countries at high-risk for dog rabies will require an import permit issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency before travelling to Canada.

If you're planning on bringing your dog into Canada from September 28, 2023 onwards, prepare in advance and learn more about the import process .

Pets must meet specific requirements when travelling to Canada or another country. It is your responsibility to review all the requirements for your situation.

Some requirements must be completed at specific times and if not completed correctly or on time your pet may not be eligible to travel and be refused entry.

As soon as you know your travel details, contact your local veterinarian to assist with the pet travel process. Requirements could include obtaining a health certificate, updating vaccinations, testing, or administering medications.

Only dogs, cats and ferrets qualify as pets by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Check requirements for other animals if you're travelling with a non-traditional pet.

Travelling to Canada from another country (import requirements)

Requirements for bringing an animal into Canada apply to the following situation:

  • animals entering Canada permanently
  • animals in transit through Canada on their way to a final destination
  • animals entering Canada for a temporary visit
  • Canadian animals returning to Canada

Travelling from Canada to another country (export requirements)

The country you're travelling to may have requirements your pet must meet before they can enter the country. Export requirements are determined by each country and can change frequently. Every time you plan to travel with your pet, it is your responsibility to check the requirements and allow enough time to get your pet ready to travel.

  • Pets (dogs, cats and ferrets)
  • All other animals

Related links

  • Travelling to the United States with a pet
  • Look up import requirements (AIRS)

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Learn about visa requirements, Trusted Traveler Programs like Global Entry, emergencies, and more.

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Why Is Car Insurance So Expensive?

Soaring premiums have become a prominent driver of inflation, and insurers say that more increases could be on the way. How did it get like this?

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A steady stream of cars drive on a two-way highway that has three lanes on each side.

By Emily Flitter

If your car broke down two years ago, it probably became a bigger problem than you bargained for.

A confluence of forces were to blame: The Covid pandemic disrupted supply chains, pushing used car prices to record highs and making spare parts hard to get; out-of-practice drivers emerging from lockdowns caused more severe wrecks; and technological advancements like motion sensors made even the simplest parts, like a fender or a rim, expensive to replace .

Things have since improved for car owners — except when it comes to insurance bills. Car insurers are still raising prices steeply: The price of motor vehicle insurance rose more than 22 percent in the year through April, the fastest pace since the 1970s, according to a report the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday. According to calculations by the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group, the average 12-month premium for car insurance was $1,280 in 2023, the industry’s most recent figures.

That has made car insurance a prominent factor preventing overall inflation from cooling more quickly, which could force the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates higher for longer even as the prices for many other essential goods and services have slowed.

Geico recently reported a big jump in quarterly profit on higher premiums and lower customer claims. The share prices of other big auto insurers, like Allstate and Progressive, have beaten the rise in the overall market this year.

That has attracted scrutiny from economists . A key reason car insurance costs are rising so fast right now has to do with how the industry is regulated.

How does insurance regulation work?

Insurers are regulated by the states, not the federal government. In all 50 states, insurance companies must follow specific rules about how and when they can raise the price on their policies.

Each state’s laws are broadly similar, and require insurers to ask regulators for permission to raise prices. Insurers have to make a case — with data to back it up — that the increase is necessary and that they will not make too large a profit on the re-priced policies. This application, known in the business as a “rate filing,” involves complicated paperwork that may take weeks or months to resolve.

The data has to include an analysis of loss trends from the past couple of years, as well as projections for replacement costs and profits. If insurers are deemed to profit too heavily, regulators can make them return money to customers.

The threat of returning money is not an idle one. At the height of pandemic lockdowns in 2020, when many cars sat idle, insurers returned almost $13 billion to customers through dividends, refund checks and premium reductions for policy renewals, according to the insurance ratings agency AM Best.

California was one of the most active states: Insurers there returned $3.2 billion to customers in 2020.

Ricardo Lara, the state’s insurance commissioner, “directed the department to do a very close analysis to make sure that drivers weren’t overcharged,” said Michael Soller, a spokesman for the California Department of Insurance. But starting in late 2021, the state became the poster child for a new problem: an epic backlog of insurers’ requests to raise prices.

How a massive paperwork jam explains rising prices.

When the pandemic shut down most economic activity, it messed up insurers’ ability to use the past to predict the future. For months, they were frozen. They did not submit new rate filings to regulators for a spell — until they did, all at once, in the second half of 2021.

The prices of cars and parts were jumping and drivers were back on the roads and crashing left and right after a hiatus behind the wheel.

“You went from this period of incredible profitability to incredible losses in the blink of an eye,” said Tim Zawacki, an analyst who focuses on insurance at S&P Global Market Intelligence. No companies were willing to stick their necks out by offering lower premiums in the hope of winning new business, he said.

“Everyone was together in significantly pushing for rate increases.”

In California, the most populous U.S. state, insurers were getting creamed by expensive claims.

But the state’s regulator did not start approving insurers’ requests to raise rates until near the end of 2022. The backlog grew so large that the average wait time for approvals was longer — by several months — than the six-month policies that insurers wanted to sell.

“When state regulators delay or prevent companies from accurately pricing insurance, insurers may not be able to absorb the costs,” said Neil Alldredge, the president of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, a trade group that represents many home and auto insurers. The squeeze can lead insurers to leave some states or stop some business lines, he added. “Inefficient regulatory environments in states like California, New Jersey and New York, combined with inflation and increased catastrophic losses, have left consumers with fewer choices of insurers and higher costs,” he said.

California is still the slowest state in the continental United States for auto insurance rate filings, taking an average of 219 days to approve a price proposal for a personal auto policy, according to S&P data provided by Mr. Zawacki.

“We fight for consumers by analyzing all of the data, not just what insurance companies spoon-feed us,” Mr. Soller, the California Department of Insurance spokesman, said.

The S&P analysis showed that New Jersey, the 11th-most populous state, had the sixth-longest wait time, while New York, with the fourth-largest population, had the 7th-longest wait times.

“The department performs a comprehensive review of requests to amend rates or rating systems to ensure compliance with New Jersey law,” said Dawn Thomas, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

Ms. Thomas said the regulator needed to ensure that each proposed premium increase was “reasonable, adequate, and not unfairly discriminatory,” and that sometimes the insurers’ requests needed to be challenged or denied.

A spokeswoman for New York’s regulator declined to comment.

When will the jam clear?

Shortly before the pandemic, the umbrella organization for state insurance regulators, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, formed a team of data scientists to help regulators deal with their rate filings, which has gotten more complicated in recent years.

The data team became fully operational in 2021 and its mission is now to help speed up the review process: 37 states have signed up to use it.

This month, during a call with analysts to discuss Allstate’s earnings, company representatives said they had recently reopened their California auto insurance business after getting permission to charge higher rates. The company still wanted to raise prices in other states.

In New York and New Jersey, for example, “even with the rate approvals that we got late last year, we still don’t feel like we’re at the appropriate rate level to want to grow in those two states,” said Mario Rizzo, the president of Allstate’s property-casualty business.

How much higher will premiums go?

In 2021, insurers’ personal auto businesses started recording losses. According to David Blades, an analyst for AM Best, the industry lost $4 billion in 2021, $33 billion in 2022 and roughly $17 billion last year.

According to Dale Porfilio, the chief insurance officer at the Insurance Information Institute, the trade group, many companies still need to raise prices to make up for those bad years.

Last year, insurers raised auto premiums by 14 percent, the biggest increase in over 15 years. Mr. Porfilio’s best guess is that premiums this year will rise another 13 percent.

“It’s going to take time for every company to get their rates to where they want to be,” he said.

Emily Flitter writes about finance and how it impacts society. More about Emily Flitter

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