Your travel documents
You are responsible for finding out about the appropriate travel documents required for your trip: a passport or the appropriate government-issued photo identification, visa, permits, medical insurance, vaccination certificates or proof of immunization, etc. Obtain the ones necessary for your final destination and for countries which you are transiting en route, well in advance of your trip. Travel agencies and air carriers may provide such information, but it is not their responsibility to ensure that you have all the necessary documents.
The name on the travel documents shown at check-in or the boarding gate must match the name on the boarding pass. While air carriers tend to routinely check travel documents at the time of check in and at the boarding gate to ensure that you are the person named on the ticket, these checks do not protect you from the consequences of having incomplete documentation upon arrival in a foreign country.
Air carriers may refuse transportation to passengers who do not have appropriate or valid travel documents to enter a foreign country or to return to Canada.
For information on specific country entry and exit requirements, consult the Country Travel Report for your destination at www.travel.gc.ca.
Your passport is a valuable document – guard it carefully. Do not pack it in your checked baggage and do not leave it in your hotel room unless it is in a locked safe.
Be sure to make extra copies of your travel documents before leaving home – carry one extra copy with you (but keep it separate from the original travel documents) and leave the other copy with someone at home in case of a problem.
Identification for domestic flights
Airlines are required to screen all passengers who appear to be 18 years of age or older before boarding all flights originating from or destined for Canada in order to identify individuals who may pose a threat to aviation security.
Before boarding, you must present to your airline:
- One piece of valid government-issued identification that includes a photograph and the passenger's name, date of birth and gender;
- A Restricted Area Identity Card (RAIC) (a smart card issued to airport workers).
For additional information and examples of acceptable types of identification, consult www.passengerprotect.gc.ca.
While there are no identification requirements for younger passengers travelling within Canada, some carriers recommend that they present some form of valid, government-issued identification for identity screening purposes. Check with your carrier for its requirements before your departure.
Identification for international and trans-border flights
There is one general rule when you travel outside of Canada: ALWAYS carry a valid passport.
Even though some countries do not insist on the presentation of a passport, it is the only proof of your nationality and identity that is accepted in every country around the world. Your Canadian passport proves that you have a right to return to Canada. Canadian citizens returning to Canada who present other documents, such as a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, birth certificate, provincial driver’s licence, or foreign passport instead of a Canadian passport, may face delays and your air carrier may refuse to transport you.
For information on how to apply for a Canadian passport, consult www.ppt.gc.ca.
Make sure that the expiry date of your passport is more than six months after you plan to return to Canada as some countries will not admit someone whose passport is close to expiring. As well, you might also be required to provide proof of a valid return or onward ticket and other travel documentation identified below upon your arrival.
For more information, consult Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada at www.travel.gc.ca.
Travelling with Children: Persons under 18 years of age are considered children. All children travelling to a foreign country need their own valid, appropriate government-issued photo identification – a passport for most countries.
Customs officials and other authorities (both inside and outside Canada) look out for missing children and may ask questions about children travelling with you. When travelling with children or when a child is travelling alone, in addition to their own government-issued photo identification, they will also need a signed consent letter confirming that they have permission to travel abroad, supporting identification documents such as a birth certificate or citizenship card, other legal documents if applicable, as well as documents required by authorities of the countries they intend to visit and by Canadian authorities, to facilitate their return to Canada.
For information on the appropriate documentation required by Canadian and foreign authorities for children to travel abroad, consult Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada at www.travel.gc.ca.
Identification for non-Canadians
Canada issues two types of Canadian travel documents to non-Canadians living in Canada: a Travel Document, for persons in Canada with protected-person status; or, a Certificate of Identity for persons landed in Canada for less than three years who are stateless or unable to obtain a national passport.
Passport Canada offers a simple guide that will walk you through the entire travel document application process. It can be found at www.ppt.gc.ca/non-cdn.
Identification for permanent resident
For more information about identification for permanent residents, consult Citizenship and Immigration Canada atwww.cic.gc.ca.
Advanced passenger information
Many countries now require air carriers to provide additional information about passengers – such as the traveller’s name, date of birth, citizenship or nationality and passport and other travel document data – before they arrive in the country. Follow the air carrier’s guidance on what will be required and when it will be required to avoid any delays at check in.
For information about the Advanced Passenger Information program in Canada, consult Canada Border Services Agency atwww.cbsa.gc.ca.
Other travel document requirements
Depending on the nationality of your passport and your status in Canada, when entering or transiting certain countries, you may require visas, entry and exit permits, or health certificates. These documents may be difficult or even impossible to obtain when you land. To avoid delays or being denied entry to a foreign country, consult a travel agent or the nearest diplomatic mission or consular office of the countries concerned well before your travel date to identify what additional travel documents will be needed and to allow enough time for processing.
For the addresses and contact information of diplomatic and consular representatives accredited to Canada, consult the Country Travel Report for your destination at www.travel.gc.ca.