Bon Voyage, But... Essential Information for Canadian Travellers 

Bon Voyage, But

Travelling abroad? Travel Smart!

Millions of Canadians travel abroad every year to see and experience new things. Differences in security, laws, culture and climate quickly remind them that they are no longer in Canada.

Each year, Global Affairs Canada helps thousands of Canadians who encounter difficulties while travelling, working, studying and living abroad. While some problems are beyond anyone's control, others are avoidable. By learning about the risks and taking a few preventive actions, Canadians can better protect themselves and improve their travel experiences.

This booklet includes safe-travel resources and a summary of the consular services available to Canadians abroad. Be sure to read it before leaving and keep it on hand while you are far from home.


Take your first step to a safe and healthy trip abroad with help from our wide range of publications. Download copies or order free print versions from our Publications page.

What are Canadian consular services?

“Consular services” refers to the assistance that Canadian officials provide to Canadians in distress abroad – for example, when you lose your passport, a loved one needs urgent medical care or is arrested and detained, or you face any type of emergency situation.

Canadian officials provide consular assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through more than 260 points of service in 150 countries and through our Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Each consular case is unique, and the assistance we can provide will vary depending on the circumstances. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints that will limit the Government of Canada’s ability to provide assistance, particularly in the case of natural disasters or in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high. Our ability to provide services in some instances may also be hindered by the laws and regulations of other countries. Before you travel, familiarize yourself with the location of the Government of Canada office closest to your destination.

Government of Canada officials abroad can:

  • help in a medical emergency by providing a list of local doctors and hospitals;
  • provide advice and contact information for local police and medical services to victims of robbery, sexual assault or other violence;
  • provide assistance in cases of missing persons or the abduction of a child to another country;
  • replace a lost, stolen, damaged or expired passport;
  • contact relatives or friends to request their assistance (e.g. by sending you money or airline tickets);
  • transfer funds if urgent financial assistance is required and all other options have been exhausted;
  • contact your next of kin, with your authorization, if you have had an accident or are detained by police;
  • advise Canadian law enforcement authorities to contact next of kin in case of death;
  • provide assistance to repatriate the remains of your loved one back to Canada;
  • help you, in case of a death abroad, to identify a funeral home experienced in international funeral arrangements in the region where the death took place as well as a funeral home in Canada;
  • request timely and transparent investigations into suspicious circumstances in the event of an alleged or apparent crime or death (although consular officials cannot interfere in an investigation or legal matter);
  • contact friends or family on your behalf, with your authorization;
  • provide you with a list of local lawyers; and
  • provide you with sources of information about local laws and regulations.

Government of Canada officials abroad cannot:

  • guarantee your safety and security while you are abroad;
  • post bail, pay legal fees or medical expenses;
  • reimburse you for hotel costs, delayed travel or cancelled trips;
  • provide legal advice, intervene in private legal matters or financial estate disputes;
  • get you out of prison;
  • intercede with foreign immigration officials to allow you to enter or exit a country;
  • solve immigration-related problems such as overstaying a visa and applications for a visa to Canada or other countries;
  • perform fingerprinting services or obtain criminal record checks;
  • help you find employment, accept mail, store personal effects or search for lost items on your behalf;
  • perform investigations abroad into crimes or deaths: this is the responsibility of local authorities;
  • ask local authorities to give you preferential treatment; and
  • take possession of a child that has been abducted by a parent involved in a custody dispute.

Emergency consular services

Emergency consular assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For emergency help during office hours, contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad. After office hours, contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa. You may be asked to leave a message, but we will return your call. Make sure your message is clear and that you provide a telephone number or contact address. 

By special agreement, Australian and Swedish offices around the world also provide consular services to Canadians in some situations.


Connect with the world and stay up to date on travel advice for more than 200 destinations.

Our Travel Advice and Advisories offer information on safety and security, entry and exit requirements, health risks, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate and other important travel issues.

Sign up to receive daily emails on the latest updates to the Travel Advice and Advisories.

Visit, follow its Twitter and Facebook accounts, and download the Travel Smart app to stay in touch with Canada wherever you may be.

Our RSS feeds provide you with the latest information on your choice of countries.

Before you go

Be informed

Before you leave Canada, learn about your destination by reading our Travel Advice and Advisories and making sure it is safe to travel there. Sudden civil unrest, disease outbreaks or a natural disaster could affect your travel plans.

Visit Embassies and consulates to find the contact details of the Canadian offices in the countries you plan to visit, and carry this information with you at all times. Before you leave, you should provide your family or friends with a travel itinerary and contact details, copies of your passport and your travel insurance documents, and the emergency number for Global Affairs Canada's Emergency Watch and Response Centre. 

Your Canadian passport

A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel document that provides proof that you are a Canadian citizen and have the right to enter Canada without being subjected to immigration screening. If you plan to travel outside Canada with your spouse or children, each family member needs a valid passport. If you are a dual Canadian citizen, you must carry a valid Canadian passport to enter Canada.

Applying for a passport

Plan ahead and apply for a passport well before booking an international flight. Passport application forms are available at:

To avoid delays, ensure your passport application is complete and includes the required documents and fee. Processing may take up to 20 business days (not including mailing) from the time your completed application is received at a passport office. Urgent, express and regular pick-up services are also available at passport offices for a fee. Visit Canadian passports or for more information.

Keep your passport safe 

Never leave your passport unattended when you are travelling. Keep it with you in an inside pocket or a hidden security wallet.

It is your responsibility to keep it in a safe and dry place at all times. You can help prevent water damage to your passport by storing it in a plastic folder or a waterproof wallet.

When you are not travelling, store your passport in a secure location in your home, where it is not easily accessible to others.

If you have to mail your passport to the embassy or consulate of your destination country to obtain a visa, use a secure courier service and enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

If your passport is lost, stolen or damaged

Report the loss or theft immediately to Canada's Passport Program at 1-800-567-6868 (in Canada) or the nearest Canadian government office abroad.

Before you go, check with the embassy or consulate of your destination country in Canada for its rules and restrictions on passport validity. Some countries will not let you enter if your passport is due to expire within six months of your scheduled return to Canada.

To apply for a new passport, you must complete and submit an application form with proof of your Canadian citizenship (e.g., a birth certificate or citizenship certificate), new photos, the required fee and a completed Statutory Declaration Concerning a Lost, Stolen, Damaged, Destroyed or Inaccessible Canadian Passport or Travel Document form (PPTC 203). The Government of Candaa office abroad can help you find an alternative way to return to Canada if you do not have your proof of citizenship.

If you find your passport after it was reported lost or stolen, do not use it for travel, as you will have problems at border crossings. Return it immediately to a passport office in Canada or the nearest Government of Canada office abroad.   

If your passport is damaged, apply for a new one. Otherwise, you could face long delays at passport checkpoints, you could be refused entry or exit at border crossings, and you may not be able to board an aircraft. 


Sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service before you leave Canada or while you are abroad. Registration enables us to assist you in case of an emergency abroad, such as an earthquake or civil unrest, or to inform you about a personal emergency at home.

This service is:
• free
• fast
• confidential

For more information:


Travel Smart app at

*Information obtained through registration is confidential and is used in accordance with the provisions of Canada’s Privacy Act.

Visas and other entry requirements

You need a visa to enter certain countries. The most common visas are business, work, student and tourist. Be sure that you are aware of all entry requirements before you travel. You need to obtain a visa before you travel to enter some countries. For more information, ask your travel agent or the destination country’s embassy or consulate in Canada. Some examples of entry requirements include:

  • a certified criminal record check (provided by the RCMP);
  • a medical certificate;
  • proof of HIV testing;
  • a yellow-fever vaccination certificate.

Some countries will allow you to enter only if you can prove you will be leaving and have enough money to support yourself during your stay. Be prepared to show your return or onward ticket, a bank statement or any visas that confirm that you plan to visit another country.

Dual citizenship

You are permitted by Canadian law to have more than one nationality. However, your Canadian citizenship may not be recognized in the country of your other citizenship or in countries where authorities may prevent Canada from providing you with consular assistance. This is especially likely if you do not use your Canadian passport to enter the other country.

If you are considered a national of another country, you may have to serve in that country’s military, pay taxes there or be scrutinized by immigration and security officials. Dual citizenship can also cause problems in a third country if there is confusion over which citizenship you identified to gain entry. To avoid unpleasant surprises, find out if you, your spouse or any other family member may be a citizen of another country.

Where permitted by the laws of the country in question, the Government of Canada encourages Canadians to use their Canadian passport when travelling abroad and to present themselves as Canadians to foreign authorities.

A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel document that provides proof that you are a Canadian citizen and have the right to enter Canada without being subjected to immigration screening.

Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, who are flying to Canada need a valid Canadian passport, temporary passport or emergency travel document to board their flight to Canada. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, living abroad can contact the nearest Government of Canada office to apply for a Canadian passport.

If your other country of citizenship requires you to use a passport issued by its government to enter and exit that country, you still need a valid Canadian passport to board your flight to Canada. Make sure you carry both passports when you travel. 

If you are an American–Canadian dual citizen with a valid U.S. passport, you don’t need a Canadian passport to fly to Canada. However, you will still need to carry proper identification and meet the basic requirements to enter Canada.

For more information, see: Dual Canadian citizens need a valid Canadian passport.

Children travelling abroad

All children, of any age, should carry a valid Canadian passport when they are travelling or living abroad. Carry supporting identification for each child, such as a birth certificate or Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, divorce papers, consent letters or custody court orders, or a death certificate if one or both parents are deceased. These documents will help prove your citizenship, residency and custodial rights when returning to Canada. Check with each destination country’s embassy or consulate about additional entry conditions and documentation that may be required. Keep some form of identification, even a photocopy, in your child’s pocket in case you are separated. Carry recent photographs of your child for emergency identification.

If you or your children have more than one nationality, always travel with your Canadian passport to ensure that you can access Canadian consular services while you are abroad and that you can re-enter Canada.

Be sure to carry a consent letter or a court order if a child is travelling abroad alone, with only one parent or guardian, with friends or relatives or with a group. A consent letter is not legally required in Canada, but it can simplify travel for Canadian children because it proves that they have permission to travel abroad from parents or guardians who are not accompanying them. It may be requested by immigration authorities when they are entering or leaving a foreign country or by Canadian officials when they are re-entering Canada.

The consent letter should be signed by any person or organization who is not accompanying the child and who has the legal right to make major decisions for the child, including anyone with custody rights, guardianship rights or, in Quebec only, parental authority, as well as any parent who has access to the child but is not travelling with him or her.

Make sure you include the date when the child will be returning home and have the letter certified by a commissioner of oaths, notary public or lawyer so that border officials will be less likely to question it.

Speak with your lawyer if you are involved in a custody dispute or if one might develop while the child is abroad. If you already have a custody order or agreement, make sure that that it permits the child to travel outside Canada. If you travel abroad with the child without the legal right to do so, you could be accused of parental child abduction. Canadian custody orders are not usually automatically recognized or enforceable in other countries without going to court. Check with your destination country’s embassy or consulate if you have any questions.

Some airlines may provide additional services for an unaccompanied child for a fee. If your child will be travelling alone, be sure to contact the airline to discuss its policy.

For more information, see Children and travel

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and two-spirit Canadians abroad

Most lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and two-spirit (LGBTI2) Canadians do not encounter problems when they go abroad. However, foreign laws and customs can be very different from those in Canada, which can result in increased risks. When choosing a travel destination, consider that same-sex relations, marriages and relationships are illegal in many countries and can be considered criminal offences. While you are outside of Canada, you are subject to and must follow local laws, even if they differ from Canadian laws. 

Consult the related webpage, our Travel Advice and Advisories, or your destination country’s embassy or consulate in Canada for specific information.

Travellers with special needs

Travellers with visual, hearing, mobility or other impairments may have difficulty meeting their needs in certain countries. See Travelling with disabilities for information on government services for travellers with disabilities, meeting special needs, parking privileges and on travelling with a service animal.

You should research the services available for travellers with disabilities in your destination country by contacting its government office in Canada. You should also check the website of the airport at your destination to familiarize yourself with its services for travellers with disabilities. 

Protecting your health

The Public Health Agency of Canada strongly recommends that you visit a travel medicine clinic or your health-care provider six weeks before your planned departure date. Your health-care provider will assess your need for vaccinations or preventive medication and inform you of precautions you can take to reduce risks to your health while you travel. Visit Travel health and safety to find a travel medicine clinic near you.

Vaccination, preventive medication and personal protective measures

International travel can expose you to infectious diseases not frequently seen in Canada. Ensure that your routine immunizations – including tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, measles, mumps and rubella – are up to date. You may need proof of yellow fever vaccination to enter some countries. Be aware that some vaccinations and preventive medications can take time to become effective.

If you are travelling with infants or small children, you may need to arrange an alternative or accelerated childhood immunization schedule for them. For further information, visit the Government of Canada’s Travel health and safety page.


If you take medication, be sure to pack an extra supply and carry a duplicate of your original prescription, listing both the generic and trade names of the product, in case your medication is lost or stolen or you are away longer than expected.

Do not try to save luggage space by combining medications in one container. Keep all medications in the original, labelled container to avoid problems at customs.

Some medications that are sold over the counter in Canada are illegal or require a prescription in other countries. Find out whether your medication is legally available in the country you plan to visit. For travel to some countries, you should obtain a note from your doctor stating the medical reasons for your prescription and the recommended dosage.

If you need syringes for a medical condition, such as diabetes, it is important that you take along an adequate supply. You should also carry a medical certificate that indicates the syringes are for medical use. See Travelling with medication for more information.

Travel health insurance

Your Canadian health insurance is almost certainly not valid outside Canada. Your provincial or territorial health plan may cover none, or only a very small portion, of the costs if you get sick or are injured while abroad. For more information, contact your provincial or territorial health authority. You could face years of debt paying off the costs of treatment for an illness or accident you suffered abroad. The Government of Canada will not pay your medical bills.

It is your responsibility to obtain the best travel insurance you can afford and to understand the terms of your policy. Your travel insurance should include health, life and disability coverage that will help you avoid major expenses such as the cost of hospitalization or medical treatment outside Canada. If you are flying, being insured for flight cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage and document replacement will save you from major disruptions and additional costs. If you are travelling by car, make sure you have driver and vehicle coverage in case you have an accident abroad.


The booklet Well on Your Way offers valuable advice on how to protect your health while abroad, including information on:

  • assessing travel health risks;
  • taking preventive measures before, during and after international travel;
  • coping with a health emergency abroad; and
  • obtaining consular services if you have a health emergency.

To order your booklet today, call 1-800-267-8376 (in Canada) or 613-944-4000 or download a copy at

Carry details of your insurance with you while travelling and leave a copy with a friend or relative at home.

Your provincial or territorial health insurance plan will become invalid if you live outside Canada beyond a certain length of time. Personal medical insurance is available for individuals and their dependants living outside Canada for extended periods. Check with your insurer before you leave Canada.

You may also want to purchase a travel insurance package that includes flight cancellation, trip interruption and/or lost luggage coverage. Doing so can help prevent major disruptions and additional costs.

Travel advisories and insurance policies

Wherever you are going, make sure you check your destination country’s Travel Advice and Advisories page twice: once when you are planning your trip and again shortly before you leave. If a Travel Advisory is issued for your destination after you make your travel arrangements but before or during your trip, your travel health insurance or your trip cancellation insurance may be affected. 

Travelling by car

Keep in mind that each country has its own driving regulations. In some countries, a driver may be questioned and/or detained by police following even a minor accident. You may be required to obtain an International Driving Permit and/or additional insurance to drive a vehicle in another country. For further information, consult our Travel Advice and Advisories or the Canadian Automobile Association.

Travelling and money

Canadian currency and traveller’s cheques are rarely accepted abroad. Before you leave Canada, speak with a bank or foreign currency agent to find out the most appropriate currency to carry to your destination.

It is a good idea to have a small amount of local currency on hand when you arrive, unless importing local currency is a crime. There may also be restrictions on the amount of money you can take into or out of a country, so check currency regulations with your travel agent or the country’s embassy or consulate in Canada.

You are responsible for your personal safety abroad and for your financial needs. Be aware that your debit or credit cards may not be accepted abroad. Check with your financial institution as you plan your trip to find out whether it has international branches or partners in your destination country where you can use your debit card without a fee.

Before you leave, arrange to obtain additional funds if needed. 

Avoiding customs difficulties

Before taking your valuable items abroad, use the free identification service at any office of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in Canada. Your valuables will be listed on a card that you can take with you and present as proof of ownership to a Border Services Officer upon your return to Canada. For more information, visit the CBSA webpage I Declare: A guide for residents returning to Canada.

Transporting dangerous goods

Passengers are generally not permitted to transport dangerous goods aboard aircraft, whether in carry-on luggage, in checked baggage or on their person. Certain goods, such as medicinal products, toiletry articles and alcoholic beverages (in retail packaging), may be allowed. Be especially aware of restrictions on liquids, gels and aerosols packed in carry-on luggage. Containers cannot exceed 100 ml and must fit into a single clear, closed, resealable plastic bag with a maximum capacity of one litre. Ask your airline or visit What you can bring on a plane to find out what you can and cannot take with you.

On your way

Taking precautions

The same safety rules apply while abroad as at home, only more so. In some countries, foreigners are specifically targeted, so always be cautious. Here are some recommendations:

  • Do not wander into unknown areas: find out how safe they are first.
  • Never leave your drinks unattended and never accept food or drink from strangers. They could be laced with drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers or cross borders with people you have just met.
  • Watch your luggage and keep it locked.
  • Never take anything, even an envelope, across a border for someone else.
  • Do not display large amounts of money or expensive jewellery in public.
  • Conceal your valuables by using a money belt or a case with concealed sections.
  • Remember to stay in touch with your family and friends at home, particularly if you promised them that you would. Consular Services receives thousands of calls every year from worried family members or friends who have not heard from a loved one travelling abroad.
  • Keep a separate record of your traveller’s cheques and credit cards.
  • Never carry your passport, travel tickets, identification documents, cash, credit cards and insurance papers together. If they are lost or stolen, you risk being left with no identification or funds.
  • Never leave valuables in your hotel room.

If you are the victim of a major crime while you are abroad, and you don’t know what to do, call the consular officials at the nearest Canadian office abroad for guidance.

Foreign laws and customs

When you are travelling or living in a foreign country:

  • Familiarize yourself with its way of life. Respect the country’s laws, religions, culture, class structure and economic conditions. Although you may not agree with some of the country’s customs, traditions or cultural or other practices, remember that you are a visitor.
  • Respect local dress codes. In many countries, appropriate attire may be gender-specific and may even be legislated. Penalties for disobeying local laws can be severe.
  • Be especially respectful of religious sites, such as temples, mosques, churches and synagogues. Many are off limits to foreigners or people who are not members of that faith. Ask permission before taking photographs of religious artifacts, buildings or local people.
  • Never take photographs of military facilities, a harbour where naval vessels are docked or industrial installations such as oil refineries. Your camera could be confiscated, and you could even be suspected of espionage.

If you are a Canadian victim of violent crime in a foreign country, you may be eligible for emergency financial assistance through the Victims Fund, administered by Justice Canada. For more information, visit Financial Assistance for Canadians Victimized Abroad or call the Victims Fund Manager at 1-800-606-5111.

Crime and punishment

Thousands of Canadians are currently imprisoned abroad for a wide range of offences. The legal systems of other countries can differ from the Canadian justice system.

While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws and regulations. Your Canadian citizenship offers no immunity, and ignorance of the law is no defence when a crime is committed.

If you find yourself in trouble, Canadian consular officials abroad can provide a list of lawyers, contact your family and friends and advocate for you to receive fair treatment according to the standards of the country where you are imprisoned. They cannot, however, reduce your sentence or fine.


It is illegal to have sexual relations with children, whether in Canada or abroad. Most countries vigorously enforce laws against the sexual exploitation of children. Canadians who are suspected of committing such acts at home or abroad can be charged under the Canadian Criminal Code. Those convicted face a penalty of up to 14 years’ imprisonment. For more information, see Child Sex Tourism: It’s a Crime

Judicial process

Never assume that another country’s legal system is the same as at home. “Innocent until proven guilty” is not a universal principle.

If you are accused of a crime, you may be detained for an indefinite period, with no opportunity for bail, pending a verdict. In certain countries, you may not have a right to legal representation or to a trial in your own language.

Some countries do not recognize or respect religious freedom; freedom of association, speech or the press; or gender equality. For instance, guilt by association can be presumed, and you may be charged just for being in the company of a person suspected or found guilty of a crime.

Even if you are an innocent bystander at a riot or demonstration, you may be considered a participant and be rounded up with those involved.

If you are detained or arrested abroad and wish to have Canadian consular officials notified, you should communicate the request clearly to the arresting authorities. Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, they are obliged to advise you of your right of access to a consular representative. They are not, however, obliged to inform a Canadian office abroad of your detention or arrest unless you ask them to do so.

For more information, see our Arrest and detention page.

While recreational drugs may be readily available in some countries, their purchase, consumption, import and export are prohibited almost everywhere. Buying and using drugs, even in countries where such practices are common, can lead to criminal charges, heavy fines and long prison sentences.


Learn from the real-life stories of young Canadians imprisoned for drug-related offences abroad at:

Coming home

Departure tax

Some countries impose a departure tax or service fee at the airport or point of departure. Make sure you set aside enough money in local funds to pay it. See the Travel Advice and Advisories for more information.

Declare everything

You must declare all goods you acquired while outside Canada, including purchases, gifts, prizes and awards that you are carrying with you or that are being shipped to you. You must declare goods purchased at a Canadian or foreign duty-free shop, and any repairs or alterations you made to your vehicle, vessel or aircraft while you were out of the country. Keep your original receipts for possible inspection. If you are unsure whether you should declare an item, always declare it to the border services officer.

For more information on laws, restrictions, entitlements and obligations that apply to Canadian residents returning to Canada within less than a year, visit the CBSA webpage, I Declare: A guide for residents returning to Canada.

If you have any other questions about what you can bring home, contact the CBSA’s Border Information Service (see For more information).

Duty- and tax-free personal exemptions

When you return to Canada, you may qualify for a personal exemption, depending on the length of time you were away. Your personal exemption allows you to bring goods of a certain value into Canada without paying duty and taxes. The exception is a special excise duty that may apply to certain tobacco products. See the Tobacco Products section, below.

Duty- and tax-free personal exemptions
If you are outside Canada for…your personal exemption is…with the following conditions:
Less than 24 hours Personal exemptions do not apply to same-day cross-border shoppers.
24 hours or more Goods worth up to Can$200

Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are not included in this amount (details below).

If you bring in goods worth more than Can$200, you cannot claim this exemption and must pay full duty and taxes on the total amount.

You must have the goods with you when you enter Canada.

48 hours or more Goods worth up to Can$800

You may include alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, within the prescribed limits (details below). 

If you bring in goods worth more than Can$800, you must pay full duty and taxes on the amount over Can$800.

7 days or more Goods worth up to Can$800

You must have any alcoholic beverages and tobacco products in your possession when you enter Canada, but other goods may follow you by other means (such as mail or courier). However, all goods must be reported to the CBSA when you arrive.

When calculating the number of days you have been outside of Canada, do not include the day you leave Canada but do include the day you return.

Alcoholic beverages

If you have been away from Canada for 48 hours or more and you meet the minimum age requirements of the province or territory where you enter Canada, you can include limited quantities of alcoholic beverages (products with more than 0.5% alcohol by volume) in your personal exemption. You are allowed to bring back only one of the following maximum quantities of alcoholic beverages without paying duty or taxes:

  • up to 1.5 litres of wine (two 750-ml bottles);
  • up to 1.14 litres of alcoholic beverages (one large standard bottle of liquor); or
  • up to 8.5 litres of beer or ale (approximately 24 cans or bottles [355 ml each]).

Tobacco products

If you have been away from Canada for 48 hours or more and you are 18 years old or over, you are allowed to bring all of the following amounts of cigars and stamped tobacco products into Canada without paying duty or taxes, within your personal exemption:

  • 200 cigarettes;
  • 50 cigars;
  • 200 grams of manufactured tobacco; and
  • 200 tobacco sticks.

Note: If you wish to import cigarettes, manufactured tobacco and tobacco sticks duty-free as part of your personal exemption, the packages must be stamped “duty paid Canada droit acquitté.” You will find tobacco products sold at duty-free stores marked this way.

Cigarettes, manufactured tobacco and tobacco sticks that are not marked “duty paid Canada droit acquitté” are subject to a special duty rate. For details, check the tobacco products section on the I Declare: A guide for residents returning to Canada webpage.

Illegal souvenirs

Canadian law requires that you declare all foods, plants, animals and related products that you bring into Canada. If you do not declare these goods, they may be confiscated and you may face heavy fines or legal prosecution. If you are considering bringing back meat, eggs, dairy products; fresh fruit or vegetables; plants, plant products such as articles made from wood, soil or related matter; or animals or products made from their skins or feathers, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency beforehand for guidance – it could save you a lot of trouble. For accurate and timely information on import requirements, visit Travellers: What Can I Bring Into Canada? on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

For information on importing weapons, contact the RCMP’s Canadian Firearms Program (see For more information).

Canadians may be prosecuted in Canadian courts for certain acts committed against significant cultural sites and objects outside Canada. In addition to foreign laws protecting cultural heritage, Canadian law now prohibits the illegal export of cultural objects from certain countries, whether or not the object is brought to Canada. For more information,visit the Canadian Heritage Movable cultural property page.

A list of products banned in Canada due to safety hazards can be found on the Health Canada Consumer Product Safety website or by calling 1-800-662-0666 (Canada and U.S.).

More than 30,000 species of wild animals and plants are regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). A violation of CITES could lead to seizure of your purchase, as well as a fine and/or prison term. Contact Environment Canada for details (see For more information).

It may be illegal to bring home cultural property, such as antiques or fossils, whose sale or export is banned or controlled by the country of origin. You may be penalized, and the cultural property may be confiscated and returned to its country of origin. For more information, visit the Canadian Heritage Movable cultural property page or the embassy of the country you are visiting.

Post-travel medical problems

If you are feeling ill as you enter Canada and suspect that you may have been exposed to a contagious illness or disease while you were travelling, please tell a screening officer or quarantine officer. If you are a passenger aboard a ship, airplane, train or bus, you should alert the staff that you are ill.

If you become sick or feel unwell after returning to Canada, see your doctor. Inform the doctor, without being asked, that you have been travelling or living outside Canada and where you have been. Explain your travel history and what, if any, treatment or medical care you’ve received (e.g., blood transfusions, injections, dental care or surgery).

For more information

Global Affairs Canada

Ottawa ON K1A 0G2

1-800-267-6788 (in Canada and the U.S.) or 613-944-6788
TTY: 1-800-394-3472 (in Canada and the U.S.) or 613-944-1310

613-996-8885 (call collect from abroad, where service is available)

Publications (free)
Access or order our safe-travel publications online or by calling 1-800-267-8376 (in Canada) or 613-944-4000.

Travel Advice and Advisories (free)

Our Travel Advice and Advisories provide vital information on safety and security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate for more than 200 travel destinations. This information is also available by phone:
1-800-267-6788 (in Canada and the U.S.) or 613-944-6788.

Government of Canada offices abroad

Canada Border Services Agency

Border Information Service
Automated telephone service 24/7. Officers available Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 16:00 Eastern time, except holidays.
1-800-461-9999 (in Canada) or
1-204-983-3500 or 1-506-636-5064 (from outside Canada)
1-866-335-3237 TTY (in Canada)

Canada Revenue Agency

International tax and non-resident enquiries
1-800-959-8281 (toll-free in Canada and the U.S.)
+1-613-940-8495 (outside Canada and the U.S.; collect calls accepted)

Canadian Automobile Association
*222 on mobile

Canadian Firearms Program

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

National Import Service Centre
1-800-835-4486 (Canada and the U.S.)
1-289-247-4099 (local calls and all other countries)

Canadian Heritage

Movable Cultural Property Program
1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)

Canadian Public Health Association

Publications ($)
Travel Immunization Record

To order:

Canadian Transportation Agency
Air transportation complaints
Fly Smart
Take Charge of Your Travel: Guide for persons with disabilities

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

1-888-242-2100 (in Canada only)

Passport Program

Passports, certificates of identity and travel documents 
1-800-567-6868 (in Canada and the U.S.)
+1-819-997-8338 (outside Canada and the U.S.)
TTY: 1-866-255-7655

Environment and Climate Change Canada – CITES


Health Canada

Consumer Product Safety Program
1-866-662-0666 (Canada and U.S.)

Justice Canada

Financial Assistance for Canadians Victimized Abroad

Passport Program

(See Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)

Public Health Agency of Canada

Travel Health Notices

Travel Health and Safety

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres

Transport Canada

Transportation of Dangerous Goods

Canadian Air Transport Security Authority

Passenger and baggage screening
1-888-294-2202 (toll-free)

Outside Canada +1-613-996-8885 (call collect to Ottawa, where service is available)
Nearest Government of Canada office (see
Register with us!
Within Canada (non-passport-related) 1-800-387-3124 (toll-free from Canada and the U.S. only)
613-996-8885 (call collect)
Emergency passport services within Canada (weekends and statutory holidays) 1-800-567-6868 (toll-free from Canada only)
TTY 613-944-1310
1-800-394-3472 (toll-free from the U.S. and Canada only)
SMS 613-209-1233 (carrier charges may apply)
Online Complete an Emergency Contact Form at

Publication information

Published by Global Affairs Canada

Information in this publication is readily available for personal and public non-commercial use and may be reproduced, in part or in whole and by any means, without charge or further permission from Global Affairs Canada We ask only that:

  • Users exercise due diligence in ensuring the accuracy of the materials reproduced;
  • Global Affairs Canada be identified as the source department; and
  • the reproduction not be represented as an official version of the materials reproduced, nor as having been made in affiliation with or with the endorsement of Gloval Affairs Canada.

All information in this publication is provided on an “as is” basis without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Global Affairs Canada Canada makes all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information contained in this publication is accurate. The reader is also encouraged to supplement this information with independent research and professional advice.

This publication is available in alternative formats upon request.

To obtain more information or free copies of this publication, write to:

Enquiries Service
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
Tel.: 1-800-267-8376 (in Canada) or 613-944-4000

We would like to receive your comments on this publication. Write to us at the address above or e-mail us at

Date modified: