Bon voyage, but... Essential information for Canadians travelling outside Canada

Bon Voyage, But


This booklet has information on preparing for travel outside Canada and staying safe while you’re away, including:

You can bring the booklet with you while you’re away or download a copy at


Before you go

Be informed

Before you leave, and no matter where you’re travelling to, visit our travel and tourism website at Look at the Travel Advice and Advisories

The website offers travel advice and information on: 

The Travel Advice and Advisories page has country-specific travel information about: 

Check the Travel Advice and Advisories page for your destinations when you’re planning your trip and again just before you leave. It’s a good idea to also check it while you’re away if the situation changes at your destination.

Remember, you are responsible for your travel choices. Make sure you have enough money to cover the cost of your trip, including departure taxes. You should be ready to pay for unexpected expenses.

Stay connected

Before you leave, make sure you stay connected to Canada wherever you are:

Travel documents

Canadian passport

For Canadians, a valid Canadian passport is the most reliable and accepted travel document. It proves that you’re a Canadian citizen and have the right to enter Canada.

Before you plan your trip, check that you have a valid passport:

Check the entry and exit requirements in the Travel Advice and Advisories for your destinations. Your passport may need to be valid for a period of time after you plan to leave the country you are visiting, even if that period of time is longer than your planned trip.

If you plan to travel outside Canada with your family, each family member needs a valid passport.

If you are a Canadian citizen with dual nationality travelling by air, you must present a valid Canadian passport to board your flight to Canada.

Leave your birth or citizenship certificate with a trusted friend or family member. It may help in case you need to replace your passport while travelling.

When you’re not travelling, keep your passport in a secure location where it isn’t easily accessible to others.

Visas and other requirements for travelling to other countries

Well before you plan to leave on your trip, visit the Travel Advice and Advisories page at Select your destination(s) and read the “Entry and exit requirements” subsection. 

Check if you need a visa or other travel authorization to go to or stay at your destination. If you do, contact the government representatives in Canada of the countries where you’ll be going.

The most common visas are in the business, work, student and tourist categories. Examples of information you may need to apply for a visa include:

Canadians need to apply for an electronic authorization document before travelling to some destinations, including the United States, Australia and Europe.

Some countries need proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay, such as a bank statement. You may also need proof that you’ll be leaving your destination after your stay, such as a ticket or any visas for your travel to another country.

Consent letter for children travelling abroad 

If a child is travelling outside Canada without both parents or all legal guardians, we recommend that the child travel with a consent letter. The consent letter demonstrates that parents or guardians who are not with the child have agreed to let the child travel outside Canada.

Border officials may ask for it when the child enters or leaves a foreign country or when the child arrives in Canada. For more information, contact your destination country’s government representatives in Canada.

The contact information of foreign government representatives and templates for a consent letter are available at

Travel insurance

You should have travel health insurance before you leave Canada. The Government of Canada won’t pay your medical fees while you’re outside Canada. Your provincial or territorial health plan may only pay a small part of the costs—if any at all.

No matter where you’re travelling, your travel health insurance policy should always cover:

It’s up to you to understand the terms of your insurance policy.

When assessing a travel insurance plan, you may wish to consider the following questions:

If you’re driving, make sure you have driver and vehicle coverage in case you have an accident.

Carry your insurance information with you while you’re travelling. Leave a copy of the information with a friend or relative at home or email it to them.

Protecting your health

Before you leave, visit the Travel Advice and Advisories page at Select your destinations and read the “Health” subsection.

Visit a travel medicine clinic or your health-care provider at least 6 weeks before your planned departure date. Your health-care provider will decide if you need vaccinations or preventive medication. They will let you know which steps you should take to reduce risks to your health while you travel.

If you travel with medication:

It’s illegal to enter or leave Canada with cannabis or products that contain cannabis, even if you use cannabis for medical purposes.

Check the customs regulations for medications of your destination country. Some countries control or ban certain prescription and over-the-counter medications that are available in Canada.

Your medication may be confiscated, and you may face heavy fines or even jail time.

Safety and security

Before you leave, visit the Travel Advice and Advisories  page at Select your destinations and read the “Safety and security” subsection. Note information on common local scams and crime trends as well as the phone number of the local police.

While you’re travelling:

Travelling and money

Canadian money and traveller’s cheques are rarely used abroad. Your debit or credit cards may not be accepted in your destination country. It’s a good idea to have a small amount of local money with you when you arrive, unless importing local currency is a crime.

You can get information about your destination’s currency from a bank, foreign currency agent, travel agent, or foreign embassy or consulate in Canada.

Before you leave Canada:

While you are away

Be careful

In certain countries, criminals target foreigners. If you’re the victim of a crime while you’re travelling, call the local police first. You can contact the nearest Government of Canada office for guidance.

Follow the same safety rules abroad as you would at home:

Stay in touch with your family and friends at home, particularly if you told them that you would. Contact them if the safety and security conditions are getting worse in the region or country where you’re travelling.

Protect your passport

You are responsible for keeping your passport safe at all times.

This is also the case if any other travel documents are issued to you or your child:

If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re outside Canada, contact the nearest Government of Canada office. You’ll need proof of Canadian citizenship to apply for a new passport. You can’t use your passport once you report it lost. If you find your passport after you reported it missing, return it at once to a passport office or to the nearest Government of Canada office. You can find the contact information of offices of Canada abroad at

If you damage your passport, apply for a new one. A damaged passport can lead to long delays at passport checkpoints. You may also be unable to cross the border or board a plane.

Local laws and culture

Visit the Travel Advice and Advisories page at Select your destination and read the “Laws and culture” subsection. 

Your Canadian citizenship doesn’t exempt you from following local laws and local cultural, religious and social traditions. If you commit a crime, not being aware of the law isn’t an excuse. If you need a lawyer, obtain a list of local lawyers by contacting the nearest Government of Canada office. You would be responsible for paying your legal costs.


You must abide by local laws and regulations in other countries, even if you don’t agree with some of their customs and traditions, or cultural and other practices.


In many countries, suitable clothing may be gender-specific and there may be laws on what you can wear. Penalties for disobeying local laws can be severe.

Religious sites

You may not be able to visit religious sites if you aren’t a member of a faith associated with a particular site. Ask permission before taking photographs of religious artifacts, buildings or worshippers.

Cultural sites

Canadians may be prosecuted in Canadian courts if they commit certain acts against significant cultural sites and objects outside Canada.


Certain countries don’t protect:

The legal systems in other countries can be very different from Canada’s. You may be charged just for being with a person who is suspected—or found guilty of—a crime. Even if you’re a bystander at a political demonstration, you may be considered a participant and you could be arrested with those involved.

Recreational drugs

Buying, using, importing or exporting recreational drugs is prohibited almost everywhere. If you buy and use drugs, even in countries where they may be easily available, you can be charged, fined or given a long prison sentence.

Photos and videos

Don’t take photographs or videos of military or government facilities, or industries such as oil. Your device could be confiscated, and you could even be accused of spying.

Sexual exploitation of children

Most countries strongly enforce laws against the sexual exploitation of children. Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada can be charged and prosecuted in Canada for child sex offences in a foreign country if they haven’t been already convicted of these offences in the foreign country.

Arrest and detention

If you’re suspected or accused of a crime in certain countries, you may be detained for an unknown length of time without bail. You may not have a right to a lawyer or to a trial in your own language.

If you’re detained or arrested outside Canada and  want to notify Government of Canada officials, clearly ask the arresting authorities to contact the nearest Government of Canada office. They can call +1-613-996-8885 or email The contact information of Government of Canada offices abroad is available at

If you’re a Canadian with dual citizenship and you’re in a country where you hold citizenship, local authorities could refuse to give you access to Canada’s consular services. This could prevent Canadian consular services officials from helping you.

Canada’s consular services

Consular services are the services that a government provides to its citizens in another country. Canada’s consular services include advice and information about travelling outside Canada and offering services at Government of Canada offices abroad. 

If you need consular services, contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad. You can find contact information at

After office hours, you can also contact the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa:

Make sure your message is clear and that you leave a telephone number or contact address.

The representatives who offer these services are consular services officials. Canada’s consular services officials work hard to help Canadians who ask for help outside Canada. However, safety and security conditions, and laws and regulations, in the region or country where you are may limit the help you can. The level of cooperation from individuals and organizations outside Canada can also limit the consular services officials can provide. 

Make sure you understand what consular services the Government of Canada can and can’t provide before you travel.

Safety, security and medical emergencies

Consular services officials can:

Consular services officials cannot, among other things:

Passports, citizenship, immigration and visas

Consular services officials can:

Consular services officials cannot, among other things:

Legal issues and enforcement of local laws

Consular services officials can:

Consular services officials cannot, among other things:

Death abroad

Consular services officials can:

Consular services officials cannot, among other things:

General services

Consular services officials can:

Consular services officials cannot, among other things:

Returning to Canada

Before you return to Canada, check the border measures and entry requirements at

Check the Travel Advice and Advisories for your destination at In certain countries, you must pay a departure tax or service fee at the airport or your point of departure. Make sure you have enough money to pay it. In some countries, you may need to pay in local funds. 

If you’re arriving at one of Canada’s busiest international airports, you can simplify your arrival by using the “Advance CBSA Declaration” within the ArriveCAN app to prepare your customs and immigration declaration.

If you registered with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service, update your profile and make sure that the departure date from your destination country is correct.

Medical problems

If you’re feeling ill and think that you’ve been exposed to a contagious illness or disease while you were travelling, tell a screening officer or quarantine officer when you arrive in Canada. If you are a passenger on a ship, airplane, train or bus, you should tell the staff that you are ill.

If you become sick or feel unwell after returning to Canada, tell your doctor where you’ve been outside Canada. Explain what you did during your trip and provide information on any medical treatment or care you received (for example, blood transfusions, injections, dental care or surgery).

Declare all goods

When you return to Canada, you must declare all goods you purchased or acquired while outside Canada.

These include:

Keep original receipts of the purchases and repairs you made during your trip. If you’re unsure whether you should declare an item, do so. A border services officer will let you know what the next steps are.

Plant and animal products

You are legally required to declare all food, plant and animal products you bring with you into Canada. These products include live animals and their by-products:

Some of these items are prohibited or regulated because they can carry pests and diseases. 

If you don’t declare these products, or if you don’t have the required permits or certificates:

Duty– and tax-free personal exemptions

If you’ve been outside Canada for at least 24 hours, you may qualify for a personal exemption. A personal exemption allows you to bring goods of a certain value into Canada without paying duty and taxes. Exemptions to alcohol or tobacco products apply after you’ve been outside Canada for at least 48 hours.

Visit Customs at for details about personal exemptions.

Traveller’s checklist

Travelling outside Canada

Travel documents 
Health and safety 
Stay connected

In case of an emergency outside Canada, contact the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate. (

After office hours, you can also contact the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa:

Government of Canada contacts

General travel information

Global Affairs Canada





Emergency assistance outside Canada

Global Affairs Canada

Contact the nearest Canadian office (

Contact the Emergency Watch and Response centre in Ottawa: 




SMS: +1-613-686-3658

WhatsApp: +1-613-909-8881

Telegram: Canada Emergency Abroad


Canadian passports

Passport Program



1-866-255-7655 (toll-free in Canada and the United States)

+1-514-283-5197 from outside Canada and the United States


Canadian permanent residence and visas (foreigners entering Canada)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada



Travel health

Public Health Agency of Canada

Phone: 1-844-280-5020 (toll-free in Canada only)


Canada customs and requirements to enter Canada

Canada Border Services Agency


TTY: 1-866-335-3237 (in Canada)


Airport security

Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA)


Phone: 1-888-294-2202 (toll-free in Canada only)      


Bringing food and animal products into Canada

Canadian Food Inspection Agency



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