Transportation Company Obligations
Guide for Transporters

This document is also available in PDF (3.5 MB) [help with PDF files]

Table of Contents

The Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) Guide for Transporters is designed to ensure that transporters are fully aware of Canada's immigration requirements and the immigration control documents that are required of visitors and immigrants travelling to Canada. It is also designed to ensure that transporters understand their obligations under Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the operational, procedural and financial liabilities set out in the accompanying Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

This guide has been updated to reflect recent changes to the IRPR, most notably, the introduction of the electronic travel authorization (eTA) as a prescribed travel document in the air mode. As of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will require an eTA. Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. A full list of eTA exemptions can be found on the Government of Canada website.

Foreign nationals who require an eTA can apply online and are normally approved within minutes, as long as no immigration concerns exist. Once approved, the eTA is electronically linked to the passport used in the eTA application. An eTA is valid for 5 years or until a person's passport expires, whichever comes first.

To validate this new eTA requirement, the CBSA has implemented the Interactive Advance Passenger Information (IAPI) initiative, which will allow the Agency to provide interactive board or no-board messages to commercial air carriers. These board/no-board messages serve to assist the commercial transporter in meeting their transporter obligations by validating whether its passengers have an eTA or visa, if required. These interactive messages are a tool to further assist airlines in their decision to board and do not replace the requirement for commercial transporters to physically examine a passenger's travel documents.

Note: This Guide is now offered only in electronic format, consistent with the Government of Canada Publishing Guidelines. It will be updated as required.

Transporters that carry passengers to Canada must adhere to specific transporter obligations and have certain liabilities as defined in IRPA and IRPR. Transporters are also responsible to pay for all prescribed costs and fees relating to these obligations. The obligations and liabilities are as follows:

Obligations

1. Obligation Not to Carry Improperly Documented or Prescribed Persons to Canada

Passengers carried by transporters must be properly documented for travel to Canada. Transporters must not carry to Canada any person who does not hold the prescribed documents required for entry. In addition, transporters must not carry to Canada any person who is prescribed or who an officer directs not to be carried. Failure to meet these requirements can result in the assessment of an administration fee, or in exceptional circumstances, the seizure of a transporter's vehicle. Prescribed documents include:

Prescribed persons include:

A transporter must require persons exempt from the legal requirement for a passport, visa or eTA, to present sufficient credible evidence to support all identity, citizenship and/or residency requirements.

The responsibility to ensure that a passenger is properly documented applies from the time the transporter boards the person at the final embarkation point before arrival in Canada until that person is presented for examination at a Canadian port of entry.

If there is doubt surrounding the authenticity of a travel document or whether the passenger is the rightful holder of a document, boarding should be refused and the person concerned should be referred to local control authorities.

2. Obligation to Hold Documents

To ensure that a person is properly documented when presented to an officer for examination at a port of entry, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act authorizes transporters to hold a passenger's travel documents. Where a commercial transporter has reasonable grounds to believe that the prescribed documents of a person it is carrying to Canada may not be available for examination at a port of entry, despite the apparent authenticity of the documents, the commercial transporter must hold the documents until examination and give the person a receipt for the documents.

Transporters may use form BSF575 (see Appendix I-4), Receipt for Prescribed Document under R260, which can be ordered via the CBSA website, or one of their choosing; the type of receipt used is at the transporter's discretion. A transporter who holds a passenger's documents must give the documents and a copy of the receipt to a CBSA officer when presenting the person for examination.

3. Obligation to Present and Hold Persons for Immigration Examination

Transporters are required to present all persons they carry to Canada for examination and to hold them until the examination is completed. The transporter has complied with the obligation to hold a person for examination when:

A CBSA officer may request a representative of the transporter to sign Form BSF453, Confirmation by Transporter Regarding Passenger(s) Carried (see Appendix I-5).

Transporters must immediately notify a CBSA officer if a passenger eludes or attempts to elude examination.

4. Obligation to Provide Facilities

Transporters must provide facilities for the holding and examination of persons being carried to Canada unless facilities for the examination and holding of persons are available at the port of entry. At international airports, transporters normally hold their passengers inside the terminal building, provided their passengers are not in transit. Persons arriving on cargo ships, however, must always be held aboard until examinations are completed.

Transporters are required to provide, equip and maintain facilities at ports of entry for the holding and examination of persons being carried to Canada. This requirement applies to commercial transporters and transporters who operate an airport, international bridge or tunnel.

5. Removal Obligations – Carrying Inadmissible Persons from Canada

In certain circumstances, commercial transporters must carry from Canada inadmissible foreign nationals that they bring to Canada. This requirement applies to foreign nationals who:

Transporters must transport foreign nationals—subject to enforceable removal orders—from wherever they are situated in Canada to the vehicle in which they will be carried from Canada.

Exemptions

A transporter is not required to carry a foreign national from Canada, if the foreign national at the time of their examination:

  1. was authorized to enter and remain in Canada on a temporary basis;
  2. held a temporary or permanent resident visa; or
  3. was prescribed under section 258 of IRPR and the commercial transporter was not notified before the person was carried to Canada.

A transporter is always required to carry from Canada a foreign national carried to Canada as a crew member, or to become a crew, a member regardless of whether entry was authorized.

Arrangements

CBSA officers will notify transporters of their obligation to carry an inadmissible foreign national from Canada as soon as a removal order becomes enforceable. Form BSF502, Notice to transporter (see Appendix I-7), will normally be the means by which notification is served. Where applicable, the officer will inform the transporter of its obligation to provide an escort or will arrange for the carriage of an escort assigned by the Minister.

After being notified, the transporter must, without delay, notify an officer of the removal arrangements made and carry the foreign national from Canada within 48 hours thereafter. To be acceptable, the arrangements must meet these requirements:

Should the transporter fail to make the necessary removal arrangements, a CBSA officer may do so at the transporter's expense.

Costs

Transporters are required to pay the costs of removing from Canada any foreign national who they carry or cause to be carried from Canada, unless the foreign national falls under one of the removal exemptions outlined earlier in this Guide. Transporters are liable for all costs related to the departure from Canada of a crew member, regardless of the circumstances.

A transporter's liability for removals and the associated removal costs continues until a foreign national's immigration case has been resolved, which may take several years in some circumstances.

Removal costs for which a transporter may be liable include:

6. Obligation to Provide Information upon Request

On request of a CBSA officer, transporters are required to provide the following documents without delay, provided the request is made within 72 hours after the presentation for examination of the person in Canada:

7. Requirement to Deposit Security

In accordance with the Act and the Regulations, transporters are obligated to deposit security if they are directed to do so. Security must be in the form of a cash deposit in Canadian currency. Alternative forms of security will not normally be considered. However, exceptions may occasionally be made if the CBSA has entered into a Regulation 280 Memorandum of Understanding (R280 MoU) with the transporter, provided that the agreement stipulates what type of alternate security would be acceptable (R280 MoU is explained in Part 3).

There are two forms of security:

When a commercial transporter fails to comply with a direction to post security, the following actions may be taken to enforce the direction:

Should enforcement action be required, Form BSF775, Notice of Detention or Seizure of Vehicle or Prescribed Good will be issued to the transporter.

Where no security has been deposited, detention or seizure of a vehicle or other prescribed good can also be used to collect unpaid liabilities. The transporter is liable to pay all costs associated with the detention or seizure of one of its vehicles.

Immigration Processes at the Port of Entry

Disembarkation Checks – Commercial Air Transporters

Disembarkation checks are conducted on selected flights to identify persons who may have disposed of their travel documents prior to or during the flight. The disembarkation check takes place upon arrival at the port of entry. Persons aboard may be asked to show their travel documents to a CBSA officer before disembarking, or they may be met at the gate. An officer has authority to board and inspect a vehicle and to examine and record documents carried by a person on board a vehicle.

To minimize delays for commercial air transporters, CBSA officers carry out disembarkation checks as quickly as possible. Aircraft are selected for disembarkation checks according to the extent of undocumented arrivals on particular routes, and the availability of CBSA personnel at the port of entry. Port of entry managers have been asked to give advance notice to airlines so that passengers may be notified that they must produce their documentation at disembarkation. Commercial air carriers are requested to cooperate with CBSA personnel in this regard.

Why Disembarkation Checks are Important

High-quality, forged documents or altered, borrowed or stolen genuine documents are often returned to smugglers immediately prior to boarding or to couriers aboard the same aircraft. In other cases, documents are destroyed or hidden aboard the aircraft by persons wishing to conceal their identity, thereby facilitating fraudulent refugee claims and complicating the removal of these persons.

In addition to confirming that undocumented or improperly documented passengers arrived aboard a given flight, disembarkation checks improve the chances of retrieving hidden documents and could lead to the apprehension of a document courier travelling on the same aircraft.

The Customs Act, the Passenger Information (Customs) Regulations, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations require commercial air carriers to provide API and PNR on all passengers destined to Canada and API for all crew members destined to Canada.

The IAPI initiative expands on the current API/PNR Program by requiring that commercial air carriers electronically transmit passenger and crew member information to the CBSA for international flights destined for Canada earlier in the travel continuum. The IAPI functionality gives the CBSA the capacity to provide a board/no-board message to commercial air carriers relating to the passengers onboard the commercial air carrier's flight. This assists commercial air carriers in determining whether or not to proceed with boarding a passenger pursuant to their transporter obligations.

There are three transmission methods available to commercial air carriers for the purpose of submitting API and PNR data:

  1. MQ/Direct Connect: A direct connection between the client and the CBSA or the client's service provider and the CBSA.
  2. IAG (Internet API Gateway): An internet portal used to submit API/PNR data online.
  3. Email: clients may email their API data to the CBSA.

Complete passenger API data must be submitted no later than passenger check-in. Any changes to this data must be re‑submitted prior to the flight's departure. Each successful transmission results in an automated board/no-board message from the CBSA to the commercial air carrier/service provider. Complete crew API data must be submitted no later than one hour prior to the flight's departure; however, a board/no-board message will not be provided for those identified as crew members. PNR data must be submitted at the time of flight departure.

To assist the transportation industry with the API/PNR program, the CBSA has established a client account support team (CAST) who is responsible for responding to inquiries and providing information to air carriers.

General (and Exemptions)

Commercial transporters are required to pay administration fees to partially defray the cost of processing certain categories of inadmissible foreign nationals which they carry to Canada. The fees apply when a commercial transporter carries a foreign national who:

Exemptions

Administration fees are waived in respect of:

If a transporter has carried an improperly documented foreign national, the transporter will be notified that it is in violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

An electronically generated preliminary notification will be sent to the liable commercial transporter (air mode only), informing them of the violation and providing as much detail as possible (see Appendix I-1).

Each time an administration fee is assessed against a commercial transporter, the company will receive a Notice of Assessment (see Appendix I-3), which is served by electronic transmission.

The transporter may contest the administration fee by filing a written submission within 30 days of receipt of the Notice of Assessment. The exact deadline for filing the submission is indicated on the Notice of Assessment. In its submission, a transporter must clearly indicate the reason for appeal and provide any information or material it is relying upon to dispute the transporter violation indicated on the Notice of Assessment. The CBSA's delegate will review each submission and confirm, cancel or vary the assessment. The final decision is conveyed in writing to the transporter. If a submission is not received by the deadline indicated on the Notice of Assessment, the assessment becomes final and the transporter is liable for the administration fee.

Note: Submissions are considered only in response to a Notice of Assessment. Transporters should not make submissions in response to receipt of the aforementioned electronic preliminary notification.

Regulation 280 Memorandum of Understanding

The R280 MoU Program is a collaborative program whereby the CBSA and a commercial airline enter into an agreement in an effort to prevent and reduce the number of improperly documented foreign nationals who are carried to Canada.

Both parties agree to certain undertakings that are designed to enhance the effectiveness of document screening and fraud detection. For example, commercial transporters are required to use trained personnel to screen documents, while the CBSA undertakes to provide appropriate training to enable them to do so effectively. A commercial airline that agrees to implement effective and ongoing document screening and fraud detection procedures may benefit from reduced administration fees. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations lists the elements that must be included in the MoU.

Commercial airlines are also required to perform a secondary examination of documents, known as a gate check. This ensures that the documents are still in the person's possession upon boarding the vehicle and have not already been returned to a smuggler for "recycling."

Commercial airlines also agree to establish formal reporting procedures in order ensure that each intercepted person identified and prevented from boarding is reported to the CBSA.

The administration fees assessed against commercial airlines that remain compliant to the terms of the MOU may be reduced by 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent or 100 percent. The actual reduction will be determined based on the commercial airline's degree of success in adhering to the performance standards set out in the MoU.

There are three main categories of persons defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, in terms of requirements when seeking entry into Canada:

1. Canadian Citizens, Permanent Residents and Registered Indians

Canadian citizens, Permanent Residents of Canada and Registered Indians in Canada can enter Canada by right. To be accepted for travel, Canadian citizens, Permanent Residents and Registered Indians must be able to produce satisfactory evidence of their identity and status.

A Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted identification document that proves that the holder has a right to return to and enter Canada. The Government of Canada recommends that Canadian citizens and Canadian-born Registered Indians travel with a valid Canadian passport for all visits abroad, including the United States.

Commercial transporters should refer Canadian citizens making international travel bookings to the "Traveller's Checklist" on the Global Affairs Canada website at www.travel.gc.ca.

Canadian Citizens

The following travel documents are proof of Canadian citizenship for the purpose of international travel:

Note: Documents such as Canadian Citizenship Certificates (CCC), birth certificates and driver's licenses are not travel documents. Transporters should perform their due diligence when faced with a passenger claiming to be a Canadian citizen but not possessing a Canadian travel document.

The Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) and Enhanced Identification Card (EIC) (non-drivers) are alternative travel documents denoting the holder's identity and citizenship for border-crossing purposes solely at U.S. land and marine POEs.

Registered Indians

The Certificate of Indian Status (CIS) or the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) is not a travel document, nor is it proof of Canadian citizenship. It is an identity document issued by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to confirm that the cardholder is registered as a Status Indian under the Indian Act.

Permanent Residents of Canada

Permanent Residents (PRs) of Canada must travel with a valid Canadian Permanent Resident card. Transporters should not board passengers claiming to be Canadian PRs who are not in possession of proof of their status, or who are travelling with an expired PR card.

The following documents are considered proof of Canadian permanent resident status:

2. Foreign Nationals Travelling to Become Permanent Residents (Intending Immigrants)

Foreign nationals from visa-required countries and protected persons selected abroad, regardless of their nationality, require a PR visa when travelling to Canada to become a PR.

In addition to the PR visa counterfoil, a foreign national travelling to Canada to become a PR must hold one of the following documents as prescribed by section 259 of the IRPR:

Regular passports

Regular passports are acceptable for foreign nationals seeking to become PRs so long as the passport is issued by the country of which the foreign national is a citizen or national. As some countries occasionally issue passports to non-citizens, it is important to check the passport holder's nationality, as indicated on the biographical page of the document.

Note: Diplomatic, official or similar passports are not acceptable documents for foreign nationals seeking to become permanent residents.

Single Journey Document for Resettlement in Canada

This document is a temporary Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) travel document issued by a Canadian mission abroad to foreign nationals who are determined to be members of the Convention Refugees abroad or the humanitarian-protected persons abroad classes who are travelling to Canada for resettlement and who hold a permanent resident visa.

The document is printed on form IMM 5485B. It is signed and dated by the issuing visa officer. A photograph of the holder is attached to the form and covered by a clear immigration protective seal. The form must contain a valid and subsisting permanent resident visa, which is also covered by a separate immigration protective seal.

International Committee of the Red Cross Travel Document

This document is an acceptable travel document for foreign nationals who are seeking to travel to Canada to become permanent residents. The PR visa must be affixed to the document.

It is acceptable for only one trip to Canada, within the validity period of the document.

Note: It is not acceptable for foreign nationals seeking to become temporary residents.

3. Foreign Nationals Travelling to Become Temporary Residents (Visit/Study/Work)

A foreign national travelling to Canada to become a temporary resident must hold one of the following prescribed documents as per section 259 of the IRP Regulations:

In addition to one of the above documents, a foreign national must also hold:

Regular passports

Regular passports are acceptable for foreign nationals seeking to become temporary residents so long as the passport:

Diplomatic and official passports

Diplomatic and official passports are acceptable for foreign nationals seeking to become temporary residents only in cases where the passport does not prohibit travel to Canada and guarantees re-entry of the foreign national into the issuing country during the validity period of the document. The issuing authority must be recognized by Canada.

Group passport

Group passports with a limited validity are issued by some countries to provide an easy and cost-effective way for groups of young people to attend events in other countries or to participate in organized school tours of other countries. Other purposes for group passports include facilitating the management of travel by sports teams or religious pilgrims to destination countries, and ensuring that nationals of the issuing country enter and leave the destination country as a group. A group passport is acceptable only for temporary resident purposes, provided it is issued to members of organized parties and athletic teams, and that it meets the following conditions:

Certificate of Identity

The Certificate of Identity is acceptable for foreign nationals with temporary resident visas seeking to become temporary residents, provided that:

Laissez-passer issued by the United Nations

The United Nations (UN) laissez-passer is issued by the United Nations to its officials, under Article VII of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. The laissez-passer is issued exclusively to UN officials travelling on official UN business that is paid for or authorized by the UN or a specialized agency of the UN.

The laissez-passer is usually used in conjunction with the officials' national passports. Temporary resident visas should be affixed to the UN laissez-passer if the visa-required holder is planning to enter Canada by way of that document rather than a national passport.

Note: eTAs are not issued to a UN laissez-passer. Therefore, eTA-required foreign nationals must travel with their foreign passport that is linked to a valid eTA.

Official Travel Document issued by the Organization of American States (OAS)

The OAS Official Travel Document is acceptable for foreign nationals seeking to become temporary residents with a temporary resident visa, if applicable to their nationality. The OAS Official Travel Document is issued to officials of the Organization of American States travelling on OAS business. It is a dark blue booklet containing the name, date of birth and photograph of the holder, and identifies the holder as travelling on official OAS business. Temporary resident visas should be affixed to the OAS travel document if the visa-required foreign national is planning to enter Canada by way of that document rather than a national passport.

Note: eTAs are not issued to an OAS travel document. Therefore, eTA-required foreign nationals must travel with their foreign passport that is linked to a valid eTA.

Refugee Travel Document

Refugee Travel Documents are acceptable for foreign nationals with temporary resident visas (if required) seeking to become temporary residents.

Note: eTAs are not issued to passengers with Refugee Travel Documents.

Single Journey Travel Document

IRCC may issue a Single Journey Travel Document (SJTD) in limited circumstances to persons who are unable to obtain a prescribed travel document. The document, which is a paper form resembling the Single Journey Document for Resettlement to Canada, will always be endorsed with a Canadian visa counterfoil covered with an immigration protective seal and a photograph of the holder covered with a protective seal.

The SJTD is issued to individuals, not families. Children are not included in their parent's document, but receive their own. Individuals approved by a visa officer for temporary or permanent residence who are inadmissible due to the lack of a prescribed document and are therefore approved for temporary resident permit issuance may be issued a SJTD. Because of the lack of a prescribed document under R259, a temporary resident permit counterfoil coded PA-1 must be affixed to the SJTD. The individual coming to Canada temporarily under a SJTD must have documents valid for return to their country.

Travel Document Exemptions for Temporary Residents (Visitors)

As per subsection 52(2) of the Regulations travel documents are not required by:

Crew licenses and crew member certificates are acceptable in lieu of passports or travel documents and in lieu of a temporary resident visa. It is issued in accordance with ICAO specifications, is a certificate issued by the State in which the aircraft is registered. The certificate is approximately 6 x 4 inches and shows the name, address, date and place of birth, nationality or citizenship, name of the employing airline and description of duties, as well as the photograph and signature of the holder. Although the return of the holder to the territory of the issuing country is guaranteed, the certificate is valid for use only during the term of employment and while the holder is actually serving as a member of the operating crew of an aircraft.

U.S. Citizens/Nationals

Although exempt from document entry requirements, U.S. citizens must satisfy a CBSA officer of their status and identity. Documents that can be used for proof of U.S. citizenship are:

U.S. Permanent Residents

All permanent residents of the United States are required to carry an eTA. Therefore their foreign passport must be linked to a valid eTA. They must also travel with proof of their permanent resident status in order to substantiate their visa exemption.

The following documents are proof of U.S. permanent residence:

Note: In some situations, a passenger may have an extension sticker placed directly on their U.S. PR card in lieu of a traditional I-551 stamp. Although considered acceptable for proof of U.S. PR status, transporters should exercise their due diligence when boarding these passengers.

4. Temporary Resident Visa Exemptions

Temporary resident visa exemptions are granted to the following: nationals of designated countries; holders of certain documents; and to certain foreign nationals. Exemptions are based on the purpose of their travel.

Nationals of designated countries

The requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa is waived for citizens of certain countries. The Government of Canada provides a complete and up-to-date listing of persons who do and do not require visas to travel to Canada.

Holders of certain documents

Holders of the following documents are exempted from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa:

Purpose of travel:

Foreign nationals travelling for the following specified purposes are exempted from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa:

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Exemptions

Most foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries now require an eTA to travel to or transit through Canada.

For a full, up-to-date listing of all foreign nationals that are exempt from the requirement to hold an eTA, visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

Temporary Resident Permits

All temporary resident permits are printed in Canada; however, under certain circumstances they may be issued at a Canadian mission overseas in advance of a foreign national's arrival in Canada. When issued overseas, a visa-required foreign national will have a visa counterfoil placed inside of their travel document. Foreign nationals that are eTA-required will have an eFoil linked to their travel document. This eFoil is not a physical document, instead, it functions in a similar manner to an eTA and will allow the foreign national to be verified through the CBSA's Interactive Advance Passenger Information System.

Once the foreign national arrives at the port of entry the CBSA officer will process and print the temporary resident permit. The printed permit is not a travel document, even though it may authorize re-entry to Canada. If the temporary resident permit holders leave Canada, they are subject to regular document requirements.  

5. Crew Members

Foreign nationals entering Canada as crew members, or to become members of a crew, must join the vessel or other means of transportation within the period imposed or, if no period is imposed, within 48 hours. Crew members must leave Canada within 72 hours after ceasing to be crew members.

Notification Requirements

A transporter must immediately notify a CBSA officer at the nearest port of entry when a foreign national granted entry as, or to become, a crew member fails to become or ceases to be a crew member. This information must be provided in writing at the request of an officer. Persons cease to be members of a crew if:

Financial Liability for Crew Members

Regardless of the circumstances, commercial transporters are liable for all costs related to the departure and removal of their crew members from Canada. They are also liable for the costs of all medical treatment administered in Canada. If a crew member remains in Canada illegally after ceasing to be, or failing to become a crew member, the commercial transporter is liable to pay an administration fee.

Document Exemptions for Crew Members

Exemptions from passport requirement

The following do not require a passport:

Exemptions from temporary resident visa requirement

The following do not require a temporary resident visa:

Employment letters containing ship-joining instructions do not meet the documentary requirements for crew members. Carriers should not board persons presenting such letters unless the holders also carry the passports and visas required for travel to Canada.

Exemption from work permit requirement

Foreign nationals working as crew members of ships in Canada do not require a work permit, provided that the ship on which they are employed, or are to join, is of foreign registry and is engaged in international transportation or other activities. Crew members may not, however, work aboard vessels which require coasting trade licenses or perform dockside functions such as the loading or unloading of cargo, without a work permit. Foreign nationals working as crew members aboard any ship of Canadian registry (e.g. fishing vessel, research vessel or pleasure yacht) require a work permit. For more information see Section 5, Crew Members.

Exemption from eTA requirement

The following are exempt from the requirement to obtain an eTA:

6. Minors

Travel Document and Visa/eTA Requirements

Minor children are subject to the same travel document and visa/eTA requirements as adults.

Minor Children Travelling Alone or With Persons Other Than Both Parents

When travelling with children, a consent letter is strongly recommended and may be requested by immigration authorities when entering or leaving a foreign country or by Canadian officials when re-entering Canada. The letter should contain:

Adoptive parents, legal guardians or persons separated or divorced are advised to keep legal and other relevant documents available in order to clarify custody rights.

Suspected Abduction

If you suspect child abduction, you should establish whether or not the traveller possesses a consent letter for travel with the child. If an adult claims to be a parent with legal custody, ask him or her to produce a copy of a separation or divorce agreement, or a custody order.

You can refer to the Canada's Missing website to verify whether or not a child has been listed. Police authorities in the country of embarkation may also be able to provide assistance in this regard.

Refer to the Government of Canada's travel website for more Information on travelling with children.

When examining documents presented by a person for travel to Canada, check them carefully to determine that they are:

1. Seven Steps for Examining a Passport

Step 1: Examine the cover

Step 2: Examine the binding

Step 3: Count the pages

Step 4: Assess the quality of the paper

Step 5: Assess the quality of the printing

Step 6: Biographical data page

Step 7: Examine the photograph

2. Visa Examination

When examining a passport, you should also look for a temporary resident visa if one is required (see www.cic.gc.ca for lists of countries and territories whose citizens require a temporary resident visa).

Here are a few steps that will help establish the authenticity of a temporary resident visa.

3. Identifying Impostors

An impostor is someone who carries genuine, unaltered documents that belong to someone else. If you suspect a person is an impostor, take the following steps.

Remember that hair and weight can change over time and are not reliable for impostor identification.

Transit Without Visa Program

The CBSA and IRCC have established the Transit Without Visa (TWOV) program. The program allows certain foreign nationals to transit a participating Canadian international airport, on their way to and from the United States, without a Canadian temporary resident visa or eTA if they meet specific requirements.

Foreign Nationals from the following countries qualify for the Transit Without Visa (TWOV) program:

All foreign nationals who qualify for the TWOV program must also meet these conditions:

In addition to the conditions above, there are specific program requirements depending on whether a TWOV eligible foreign national is travelling to the United States or travelling from the United States. Approved airlines must also ensure that its TWOV-eligible passengers arrive at an approved Canadian airport during the hours of operation of the United States in-transit pre-clearance facility.

Travellers who miss their connecting flight or arrive after hours when the U.S. in-transit pre-clearance facility is closed are no longer eligible to transit Canada under the TWVP and must proceed to a CBSA officer for examination.

For additional information, consult Transit Without Visa Program.

China Transit Program

The China Transit Program is similar in principle to the TWOV program. The CTP permits certain Chinese nationals to transit a participating Canadian international airport on their way to or from the U.S. without a Canadian temporary resident visa or eTA if they meet the following requirements:

In addition to the conditions above, there are specific program requirements depending on whether a CTP-approved Chinese national is travelling to the United States or travelling from the United States. Approved airlines must also ensure that its CTP eligible passengers arrive at an approved Canadian airport during the hours of operation of the United States in-transit pre-clearance facility.

Travellers who miss their connecting flight or arrive after hours when the U.S. in-transit pre-clearance facility is closed are no longer eligible to transit Canada under the CTP and must proceed to a CBSA officer for examination.

For additional information consult China Transit Program.

The CBSA trusted traveller programs provide low-risk travellers with an alternative means of examination when crossing the border. Approved members use automated self-serve kiosks at participating airports, dedicated lanes at land border sites and telephone reporting in the marine mode to clear the border with minimal delays. Program participants must comply with the requirements of the IRPA and IRPR, the Customs Act and Regulations and laws/regulations enforced by the CBSA and its U.S. counterpart, Customs and Border Protection, for bilateral programs.

1. NEXUS

The NEXUS program is jointly administered by the CBSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Citizens and permanent residents of Canada and the U.S. who are holding a valid NEXUS card can enter Canada or the United States at a NEXUS designated lane.

If you are not a NEXUS member or are transporting persons into Canada that are not NEXUS members, you must use conventional processing lanes.

Valid NEXUS cards may be used as proof of identity and as a document denoting citizenship for Canadian and U.S. citizens only, when entering Canada whether in NEXUS designated lanes or conventional ones, whether arriving from the U.S. or outside of the U.S.  

Note: Only one citizenship is listed on a NEXUS card. As such, when using non-NEXUS lanes, members with dual citizenship may be required to present proof of their second citizenship. NEXUS members must always comply with all document requirements.

2. CANPASS

CANPASS offers a suite of domestic programs. CANPASS-Air is a domestic trusted traveller program administered solely by the CBSA and is available only for travellers using commercial air carriers. Members of the program are able to use self-serve kiosks at eight Class 1 airports in Canada to expedite their border clearance procedures. Members are issued a CANPASS Air membership card and have their iris biometric photographed, which facilitates their use of the automated kiosks. Program guidelines indicate that members must carry appropriate documents to confirm their identity and citizenship/permanent resident status, such as a Canadian passport or a Canadian permanent resident card. The program does not offer members expedited passage privileges in other modes of transportation.

CANPASS Private and Corporate Air are programs from the CANPASS suite which are administered solely by the CBSA and are designed to facilitate and expedite the passage of Canadian and United States citizens and permanent residents arriving in Canada using non-commercial carriers at designated airports. Members of these programs must carry appropriate documents to confirm their identity and citizenship/permanent resident status, such as a Canadian passport or a Canadian permanent resident card, and the memberships cannot be used to expedite passage when using commercial carriers.

CANPASS Private Boats is also solely administered by the CBSA and is designed to facilitate and expedite the marine arrival of Canadian and United States citizens and permanent residents arriving in Canada on private watercraft. Members of these programs must carry appropriate documents to confirm their identity and citizenship/permanent resident status, such as a Canadian passport or a Canadian permanent resident card, and the membership cannot be used to expedite the passage in other modes of transportation.

This guide is one of several CBSA initiatives to help transporters meet their obligations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

This section outlines the other types of support offered by the CBSA.

1. Advice and Training Available Overseas

Overseas, a transporter's point of contact is the closest Canadian mission. CBSA Liaison Officers (LOs) are specially trained officers stationed at selected embassies and consulates around the world. They are mandated to gather information on illegal migration trends in their area and to provide support and assistance to transporters.

This support may include training transporter staff who are directly responsible for document screening, responding to transporter inquiries regarding problematic situations, and providing advice to boarding agents at airports. It is important to note that the support offered by the LO network is focused on document screening and fraud detection. Transporters and their staff should refrain from contacting LOs for technical questions (such as visa requirements), or to simply have an LO validate their decision to board or deny boarding to a passenger.

The CBSA offers training and assistance to transporter personnel for the following: Canadian document requirements; document screening; fraud detection; security measures (marine); and the use of technical aids, such as ultraviolet lights. Requests for training should be addressed to the appropriate CBSA LO.

2. Intelligence Information and Trend Analysis

The CBSA aims to keep transporters informed of the latest illegal migration trends. Transporters are encouraged to contribute intelligence data by reporting all confirmed interceptions, either to the CBSA or to another contact person at a Canadian embassy or consulate abroad.

Rwgion Mission Telephone Areas of responsibility
Africa and Middle East Accra (233-30) 221-1544 Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, St. Helena, Sao Tome and Principe, Togo
Africa and Middle East Amman (+962-6) 590-1527 Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories (Gaza), Palestinian Territories (West Bank), Syria
Africa and Middle East Dubai (971-4) 404-8514 Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
Africa and Middle East Istanbul 90 212 385-9711 Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Africa and Middle East Nairobi (254-20) 366-3000 ext. 3426 Burundi, Comoros Islands, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Republic of South Sudan, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda
Africa and Middle East Pretoria (27) 12 422-3026 Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Réunion, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Africa and Middle East Rabat 212 537 544870 Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Gambia, Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Guinea, Chad, Senegal
Europe Berlin (49-30) 20312-422
(49-30) 20312-424
Belarus, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia
Europe Brussels (32) 2 741 0665 European Union (World Customs Organization, European Union-Commission, Council, Parliament, Frontex, OLAF, Europol)   
Europe London (44) 207 004 6220
(44) 207 004 6072
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom
Europe Paris (33-1) 4443-2432 Andorra, France, Gibraltar, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland
Europe Rome (39-06) 85444-3530 Albania, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, San Marino
Europe The Hague (31-70) 311-1685 Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands
Europe Vienna (43-1) 531 38-3403
(43-1) 531 38-3402
Armenia, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine
North and Central America Los Angeles (213) 346-2783 United States (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington State, Wyoming)
North and Central America Mexico City (52-55) 9182-1543 Mexico
North and Central America Miami (305) 579-1614
(305) 579-1617
Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, Bonaire, Costa Rica, Curacao, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, United States  (Florida, Virgin Islands)
North and Central America New York (212) 596-1715 Bermuda, St. Pierre & Miquelon, United States (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York State, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont)
North and Central America Panama City (507) 294-2525 Colombia, Ecuador, Panama
North and Central America Washington, D.C. (202) 682-7600 United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin)
South America and Caribbean Kingston (876) 733-3425 Barbados, Cayman Islands, Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, Republic of Suriname, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
South America and Caribbean Lima (511) 319-3370 Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay
South America and Caribbean Port-au-Prince (509) 2812-9000 ext. 3414 Antigua & Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Saint Martin (France), St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia,  Sint Maarten (Dutch), Turks & Caicos Islands
South America and Caribbean Santo Domingo (809) 262-3123 Dominican Republic, Republic of Cuba
South America and Caribbean Sao Paulo (55-11) 5509-4334 Brazil
South Asia Colombo (94-11) 522-6232 ext. 3407 Maldives, Sri Lanka
South Asia Islamabad (92-51) 208-6417 Afghanistan, Pakistan
South Asia New Delhi (91-11) 4178-2430 Bhutan, India, Nepal
South East Asia Bangkok (66-2) 646-4349
(66-2) 646-4348
Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Union of Myanmar
South East Asia Canberra (61-02) 6270-4058 Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
South East Asia Manila (63-2) 857-9111 Philippines
South East Asia Singapore (65) 6854-5920 Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Timor Leste, Vietnam
East Asia Beijing (86-10) 5139-4380
(86-10) 5139-4206
Mongolia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), Republic of Korea (South Korea), People's Republic of China
East Asia Hong Kong (852) 2847-7405
(852) 2847-7421
Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan
East Asia Shanghai (86-21) 3279-2842 People's Republic of China (Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shanghai, Zhejiang provinces)
East Asia Tokyo (81-3) 5412-6465 Japan, Guam

1. Canada – Regular Passport

2. Canada – Special Passport

3. Canada – Temporary Passport

4. Canada – Emergency Travel Document

5. Canada – Single Journey Travel Document

6. Canada – Single Journey Travel Document for Resettlement to Canada

7. Canadian Certificate of Identity

8. Canada – Travel Document

9. Canada – Visa

10. Canada – Permanent Resident Card

11. Canada – Secure Certification of Indian Status

12. Canada – Diplomatic Passport

13. Canada – Acceptance Counterfoil (Global Affairs Canada)

14. NEXUS Card

15. U.S. – Passport Card

16. U.S. – Permanent Resident Card

17. U.S – Passport

18. U.S. – Visa

19. CBSA form entitled "Preliminary Notification of the Carriage of an Improperly Documented Foreign National."

20.  CBSA letter template entitled, "Notice of Assessment"

21.  CBSA form BSF 575, entitled "Receipt for Prescribed Document under Section 260 of the IRPR."

22.  CBSA form BSF 453, entitled "Confirmation by Transporter Regarding Passenger(s) Carried."

23.  CBSA form BSF 577 entitled "Official Receipt – Cash Security Deposited by a Transporter"

Date modified: