The U.S. has a friendly relationship with its Canadian neighbor to the north, making visits between the two countries relatively easy and hassle-free. However, there are a few requirements to visit Canada that should be considered before your travel plans are finalized.
Proof of U.S. Citizenship
To be granted entry into Canada from the U.S., visitors will be required to show proof of U.S. citizenship. Accepted forms of proof include a valid U.S. passport book, a passport card, a "trusted traveler" NEXUS card, birth certificate or naturalization certificate.
Proof of Identity
Visitors entering Canada are required to show proof of identity upon entry. While a valid U.S. passport may be all that is required for proof of identity, visitors may also be asked to show a government-issued photo ID.
U.S. citizens visiting Canada for tourism purposes for a visit of less than 180 days are not required to obtain a visa before entering the country. U.S. citizens planning to stay in Canada for longer than 180 days, or who are visiting Canada for work or study purposes, should contact the Canadian Embassy to obtain the appropriate visa.
Criminal Record Check
U.S. citizens with a criminal record, including convictions for misdemeanors, may be denied entry into Canada unless they obtain a special waiver well in advance of travel. Visitors with criminal convictions should contact the Canadian Embassy to see if their prior criminal convictions will affect their entry into Canada.
U.S. Re-entry Requirements
Legislation enacted in June 2009 requires all United States citizens to present proof of U.S. citizenship and proof of identity before they will be granted re-entry to the country. U.S. passport books, passport cards, "trusted traveler" NEXUS cards and enhanced driver's licenses (only available in select U.S. states) are all accepted as proof of U.S. citizenship. A valid U.S. passport should suffice for proof of identity, but citizens may also be asked to present a second government-issued photo ID before they are granted entry.