COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
United States travel advice
Latest updates: Editorial change.
Last updated: ET
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
United States - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in the United States.
Safety and security
Border with Mexico
Criminal incidents associated with drug trafficking are more frequent at the border with Mexico, in the following states:
- New Mexico
If crossing the U.S.– Mexico border by car:
- remain extremely vigilant
- only use officially recognized border crossings
- avoid travelling at night
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
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
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
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 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
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, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
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.
Entry and exit requirements
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.
- 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:
- a passport
- 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.
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
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
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
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
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
- Foreign Representatives in Canada
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
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Relevant Travel Health Notices
- Global Measles Notice - 5 April, 2023
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 28 June, 2022
- COVID-19 and International Travel - 17 March, 2023
- Mpox (monkeypox): Advice for travellers - 26 May, 2023
- Polio: Advice for travellers - 19 May, 2023
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.
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 - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- 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.
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 disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
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.
- 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 is 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.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to some areas of the United States. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to these areas.
Risk in areas of the United States
Florida and Texas: Local transmission of Zika virus has previously been identified in Miami-Dade, Florida and Brownsville, Texas. The risk is now considered low in these areas, as there have been no recent confirmed or suspected cases of local transmission of Zika virus.
Travel recommendations for Florida and Texas:
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to these areas for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to these areas or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to these areas or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- 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.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Laws and culture
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.
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.
- Cannabis and international travel
- Cannabis and the U.S. – U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada
- Entry/exit requirements pertaining to cannabis
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
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
- Dual Nationality – U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs
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
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
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.
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
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 and climate
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 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
Bush and forest fires
Bush and forest fires are common, particularly in:
- Washington State
In California, wildfires occur year round with high winds in the winter and extreme heat and no rain in the summer. In Florida, wildfires occur mainly during the dry season, from November to June.
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
- National Interagency Fire Centre
- CAL FIRE – California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Tornadoes pose a risk in states east of the Rocky Mountains, particularly in:
The Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island is active.
- Volcanic eruptions - U.S. National Park Service
- Vog – Government of Hawaii
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
Dial 911 for emergency assistance.
Washington - Embassy of Canada
Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.Appointment Book your appointment online
Atlanta - Consulate General of Canada
Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee.
Boston - Consulate General of Canada
Chicago - Consulate General of Canada
Illinois, Indiana (Jasper, Lake, Laporte, Newton, and Porter counties), Kansas City, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin.
Dallas - Consulate General of Canada
Denver - Consulate General of Canada
Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Utah, Wyoming.
Detroit - Consulate General of Canada
Indiana (excluding Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton and Porter counties), Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio.
Honolulu - Consulate General of Australia
Los Angeles - Consulate General of Canada
Arizona, southern California, Nevada.Appointment Book your appointment online
Miami - Consulate General of Canada
Florida, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands
Minneapolis - Consulate General of Canada
New York - Consulate General of Canada
Bermuda, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York State and Pennsylvania.Appointment Book your appointment online
San Francisco - Consulate General of Canada
Northern California, Hawaii.Appointment Book your appointment online
Seattle - Consulate General of Canada
Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington.
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada to the United States, in Washington, or one of the closest consulates and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
Emergency Assistance - Emergency Assistance
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.
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