Passport Requirements for Flying into Canada

Travelers from all countries must show a passport at the Canada border.

Canada Border Services Agency
Photograph: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Bottom Line: Travelers from all countries, including the United States, must show a valid passport or equivalent travel document to enter Canada by air.

Visitors from certain countries also require a visa to visit or travel through Canada.

As of September 2016, visitors who previously did not need a visa, have needed to show an Electronic Travel Authorization.​ 

Best Advice: If you are still unsure about the passport requirements for your flight to Canada, consult the airline with which you are traveling. Passengers must comply with the airline's regulations, which are spelled out on their websites.

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In Depth: Although the Canada Border Services Agency does not technically require U.S. citizens to have an American passport to enter Canada by air, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) — a U.S. plan introduced in 2004 to increase border security — does require U.S. citizens to present their passports upon re-entry. In this way, the U.S. and Canada border laws may be different on paper, but, in practice, they are the same because the airlines will require passengers to show a valid passport or other valid travel document: no sense going somewhere if you can't return home again.