Road Conditions and Safety: As in the United States, all emergency assistance in Canada can be reached by dialing 911.
For detailed information on road conditions throughout Canada, as well as links to provincial government websites, please see the Transport Canada website or the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) website. The CAA honors American Automobile Association membership. Automobile warranties of vehicles purchased in the United States may not be valid in Canada.
Driving in Canada is similar to driving in many parts of the United States. Distances and speeds, however, are posted in kilometers per hour and some signs, particularly in Qu?bec, may only be in French. U.S. driver?s licenses are valid for visitors in Canada. Proof of auto insurance is required. U.S. auto insurance is accepted as long as an individual is a tourist in Canada. For specific information concerning Canadian driving permits, mandatory insurance, and entry regulations, please contact the Canadian National Tourist Organization.
- Some provinces require drivers to keep their vehicles? headlights on during the day and some have banned driving while using a hand-held cell phone. Motorcycles cannot share a lane, and safety helmets for motorcycle riders and passengers are mandatory.
- Running a red light is a serious concern throughout Canada and motorists are advised to pause before proceeding when a light turns green.
- It is illegal to take automobile radar detectors into Qu?bec, Ontario, Manitoba, the Yukon, or the Northwest Territories, regardless of whether they are used or not. Police there may confiscate radar detectors, operational or not, and impose substantial fines.
- Winter travel can be dangerous due to heavy snowfalls and hazardous icy conditions. Some provinces require snow tires. The CAA has tips for winter driving in Canada. Both winter conditions and wildfires may prompt the sudden closure of highways. Provincial ministries of transport typically post closures and other alerts about road conditions on their websites.
- Drivers approaching border crossings into the United States may encounter traffic backups. Drivers should be alert, as lane restrictions at border approaches exist for drivers in NEXUS and FAST expedited inspection programs.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of Canada?s national authority responsible for road safety.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Canada?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Canada?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Canada should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts on the Maritime Administration website. Information may also be posted to the websites of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Geospace Intelligence Agency (select ?broadcast warnings?).
For emergency services in Canada, dial 911. Ambulance services are widely available.
We do not pay medical bills. U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription.
Healthcare in Canada: The level of public health and sanitation in Canada is high. Canada?s medical care is of a high standard but is government controlled. Quick and easy access to ongoing medical care is difficult for temporary visitors who are not members of a Canadian province?s government-run health care plan. Many physicians will not take new patients. Access to a specialist is only by referral and may take months to obtain. Although trauma-care is on par with that available in the United States, emergency room waits for non-life threatening problems can be very long. Some health care professionals in the province of Qu?bec may only speak French.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit Airnow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and consulates.
Health facilities in General: Adequate health facilities are available throughout Canada.
Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery: We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
Pharmaceuticals: U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.
Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy: If you are considering traveling to Canada to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad Page.
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Furthermore, you may be prosecuted in the United States for some offenses even if your actions are not illegal under local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. embassy or consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Controlled Substances: Canadian law prohibits possession and trafficking of controlled substances and narcotics, including some substances that may be legal to possess under the law of certain U.S. states. On October 17, 2018, Canada legalized the personal consumption of recreational cannabis, but Canadian law prohibits taking cannabis across Canada?s national borders, whether you are entering or leaving Canada. Drug smugglers risk substantial fines, a permanent bar from Canada, and imprisonment.
Importation of Firearms: Canada more strictly controls firearms than does the United States. Violation of firearms restrictions may result in prosecution and imprisonment.
Visitors bringing any firearms or ammunition into Canada must declare the firearms in writing using a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration form. If you plan to borrow and use a firearm in Canada, you must obtain a Temporary Firearms Borrowing License in advance. You must present these forms in triplicate and sign them in front of a CBSA officer at the border. (It is not possible to make photocopies at the border). Full details and downloadable forms are available at the Canadian Firearms Program website.
Canadian law requires officials to confiscate firearms, ammunition, and other weapons from persons crossing the border who do not declare having the items in their possession. Officials will not return confiscated firearms, ammunition, and weapons and possession of any of these items may result in your arrest and imprisonment. You should inspect all belongings thoroughly before traveling to Canada to avoid the accidentally importing firearms, ammunition, or other weapons.
Pornography: Canada has strict laws concerning child pornography, and in recent years there has been an increase in random checks of electronic media of travelers entering Canada.
Canadian officials may search your computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices without a warrant at the border and illegal content can result in the seizure of the device as well as detention, arrest, and prosecution of the bearer.
Alcohol and cannabis related driving offenses, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving while ability-impaired, and driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or cannabis, are criminal offenses in Canada. Penalties are heavy, and any prior conviction (no matter how old or how minor the infraction), is grounds for exclusion from Canada. If you have a DWI record, you will not be able to enter Canada without being found by Canadian authorities to be ?rehabilitated.? To determine whether you may be inadmissible to Canada, and how to overcome this finding, please refer to the CIC website. If you must apply in advance for individual rehabilitation, the application can take over a year to process.
Tax Issues: For information on U.S. Federal tax issues, please refer to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website for international taxpayers.
- Refer to this link for reporting requirements regarding Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).
- Refer to this link for information on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
- Refer to this link for information about the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Agreement (OVDI). For answers to commonly asked questions about the OVDI, please follow this link to OVDI FAQ.
Please see our Customs Information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report .
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Canada. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Although Canada has effectively implemented laws mandating access to buildings for persons with disabilities, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation in some areas different from what you find in the United States.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
911 is the emergency telephone number in Canada.
Crime: Although Canada generally has a lower crime rate than the United States, violent crimes occur throughout the country, especially in urban areas. Criminals may target parked cars, especially in large cities and popular tourist destination, for opportunistic smash-and-grab thefts. Do not leave unattended possessions in a vehicle, even in the trunk. Some jurisdictions such as Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver may fine you for leaving your car doors unlocked or for leaving valuables in view. Pickpockets may target you, especially in popular tourist areas. Exercise caution. Safeguard yourself and your property.
Canada has robust protections for an individual?s right to freedom of speech and assembly. As such, there are frequent protests throughout the country on various topics of local and international concern. While there is a very small likelihood of violence at a political gathering in Canada, we strongly encourage U.S. citizens to avoid all protests and demonstrations and maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad.
If you are considering travel outside of populated areas, particularly in the northern Arctic territories, you need to know that search and rescue capabilities are limited because of extreme isolation and the harsh climate. You must be prepared for significant delays in receiving emergency assistance in these areas and plan accordingly.
Counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available in many countries around the world, but you should not buy them. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States, and you may also violate local law if you purchase them.
Victims of Crime: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the U.S. embassy or consulate. Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim?s compensation programs in the United States
- in cases of destitution, provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. Call 911 if you are immediate danger or for emergency assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is regulated with regularly enforced rules, best practices, and safety inspections. Appropriate signage identifies hazardous areas/activities and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available in or near urban areas of the country. Canada has vast, remote areas where cell phone coverage may be intermittent or nonexistent and sophisticated medical care may be several hours away by road or air. In these remote areas, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. The safest option for travelers to these destinations, particularly in the northern Arctic territories, is to travel with a group and hire the services of an experienced guide, reputable outfitter, or tour company that is familiar with local conditions and prepared for emergency situations specific to the location. U.S. citizens should consider purchasing medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
For tourist visits to Canada of less than 180 days, U.S. citizens do not need visas. Other types of travel (e.g., to work, study, or immigrate) generally require visas. For complete information on visa categories and requirements, consult the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website.
If you have a criminal record (including misdemeanors or alcohol-related driving offenses), you may not be able to enter Canada without first obtaining an ?approval for rehabilitation? well in advance of any planned travel. To determine whether you may be inadmissible and how to overcome this finding, please refer to the CIC website.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials determine if you can enter Canada in accordance with Canadian law. Please see the CBSA?s website for full details.
Travel Programs: Both the U.S. and Canadian governments urge frequent travelers to join the NEXUS trusted traveler program.
Entry into Canada: Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens.
Children under 16 need only present proof of U.S. citizenship.
Entry into the United States: When traveling by air from Canada, U.S. citizens are required by U.S. law to present a U.S. passport book or other approved identification document. A full list of documents that can be used to enter via air, or at land and sea borders, are provided on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.
Travel with Minors: If you plan to travel to Canada with a minor who is not your own child or for whom you do not have full legal custody, CBSA may require you to present a notarized affidavit of consent from the minor?s parents. Please refer to the CBSA website for more details.
Travel for Private Boaters and Recreational Vessels: Canadian law requires all foreign private boaters, including recreational vessels, to present themselves upon their arrival in Canada to the CBSA. See the CBSA website for information regarding reporting requirements upon entry to Canada by boat. Boaters may report their arrival and/or apply for a registered boater program may use the CBP ROAM app. Current SVRS registration numbers may be used within the CBP Reporting Offsite Arrival – Mobile (ROAM) for expedited processing. Boaters may also continue to report their arrival via designated telephone reporting numbers, if desired. For more information about the CBP ROAM application, please visit the CBP ROAM webpage.
Travelers with HIV/AIDS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to Canada. There are some additional restrictions or processes for foreign residents of Canada, which are explained on the CIC website.
Dual Nationals: Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international parental child abduction, and customs information on our websites.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Canada for additional information on U.S.-Canada relations.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
490 Sussex Drive
Ontario, K1N 1G8
Telephone: +(613) 688-5335
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(613) 238-5335
Fax: +(613) 688-3082
The Ottawa consular district includes the counties of Kingston, Lanark, Leeds, Prescott, Refrew, Russell, and Stormont in Eastern Ontario, and those parts of the Qu?bec regions of Outaouais and Abitibi-T?miscamingue near Ottawa.
U.S. Consulate General Montreal
1134 Rue Ste- Catherine West
Montr?al, Quebec H3B 1H4
Telephone: +1 (514) 398-9695
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (416) 645-9124
Fax: +1 (514) 398-9748
The Montreal consular district includes Greater Montreal and the regions of Southern Quebec Province (Laurentides, Lanaudiere, Laval, Montreal, Montregie, Estrie, and the southern parts of Centre-du-Quebec), including Joliete, Drummondville, and Sherbrooke.
U.S. Consulate General Toronto
360 University Ave
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1S4
Telephone: +1 (416) 595-1700
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (416) 595-6506
Fax: +1 (416) 595-5466
The consular district includes the province of Ontario except for the counties of Kingston, Lanark, Leeds, Prescott, Refrew, Russell, and Stormont, which are served by the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.
U.S. Consulate General Vancouver
1075 West Pender Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Telephone: +1 (604) 685-4311
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (604) 685-4311
Fax: +1 (604) 685-7175
The consular district includes British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.
U.S. Consulate General Halifax
Purdy’s Wharf Tower II
1969 Upper Water Street, Suite 904
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3R7
Telephone: +1 (902) 429-2480
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (902) 429-2480, Press 1
Fax: +1 (902) 423-6861
The Halifax consular district includes New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
U.S. Consulate Winnipeg
201 Portage Avenue, Suite 860
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 3K6
Telephone: +1 (204) 940-1800
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (403) 266-8962 and press "0" for assistance (Consulate General Calgary)
Fax: +1 (204) 940-1809
The Consulate in Winnipeg provides only emergency services for U.S. citizens. Routine services such as visas, passports and notarials are handled at other U.S. Consulates General, primarily Calgary.
U.S. Consulate General Quebec
2, rue de la Terrasse Dufferin
(Vieux Quebec, behind Chateau Frontenac)
Quebec, Quebec G1R 4T9
Telephone: +1 (418) 692-2095
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +1 (418) 692-2096
Fax: +1 (418) 692-4640
The consular district includes Quebec City and those regions of Quebec Province to the North and East of the Montreal and Ottawa Districts (indicated above) ? to include the area around Saguenay/Lac Saint-Jean, Rimouski and the Gasp? Peninsula ? as well as the Territory of Nunavut.
The consular district includes Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories, excluding Nunavut.