Travel Documents

It is your responsibility to ensure that you - and any child travelling with you - have all the valid travel documents necessary to enter in, exit from or transit through, each country on your itinerary. Note that the documents required for the outbound portion of your travel may differ from those required for the return.

Along with the normal travel documents needed to enter Canada, additional documents may be required depending on your country of origin, even if they are used solely to land in Canada and re-board a connecting flight.

Visit the IATA Travel CentreOpens in New Window and Travel and Tourism CanadaOpens in New Window for detailed information on country-specific passport, visa and health requirements, or contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of each country on your itinerary.

Select from the options below to view identification requirements as they apply to specific itineraries.

Check-in Requirements:

Valid government-issued identification documents including name, date of birth and gender may be required when checking in for the flight. For examples and other important information, visit the Passenger ProtectOpens in New Windowwebsite.

Boarding Gate Requirements:

In accordance with government regulations, Air Canada must check identification at the boarding gate for all passengers who appear to be 18 years of age or older. The name on the ID must match the name used on the reservation or ticket. At the boarding gate, a passenger must present:

  • Two (2) pieces of valid government-issued non-photo identification with matching names, as long as at least one piece also includes the date of birth and gender; or
  • One (1) piece of valid government-issued identification with photo showing the name, date of birth and gender.

Carriage will be refused if the passenger:

  • Does not appear to be the age indicated by the date of birth on the government-issued identification,
  • Does not appear to be the gender indicated on the government-issued identification

Young Travellers:

For travellers younger than 18, an original birth certificate or non-government issued ID (e.g. a student card) is suggested but not mandatory, unless our Unaccompanied Minor Service is used.

Air Canada is legally required to compare a passenger's entire face with the photograph shown on the appropriate valid travel document, which must also include the passenger’s full name, date of birth and gender.

Carriage will be refused to any passenger who:

  • Refuses to present the appropriate valid travel document
  • Refuses to show his/her entire face
  • Does not resemble the photo on the travel document

For identification and security purposes, your booking must provide your full name as it appears on your travel document; as well, you may have to provide your date of birth and gender when completing your booking.

Secure Flight Program:

  • As required under the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)'s Secure Flight ProgramOpens in New Window,Secure Flight information must be provided at least 72 hours before travel, or at time of booking for reservations made within 72 hours of departure if you are travelling:
    • to, from or via the United States
    • on a flight that is flying over the continental United States (excluding flights between two points in Canada)

Travel Documents:

  • Canadian and U.S. citizens must present either a valid passport or a valid Nexus cardOpens in New Windowwhen travelling by air between Canada and the United States.
  • Canadians holding dual citizenship must travel to Canada with a valid Canadian passport. Certificates of citizenship and other documents previously used as proof of Canadian citizenship are no longer accepted for travel by air.
  • Canadian permanent residents/landed immigrants returning to Canada from the United States must carry a valid passport and a valid Canadian Permanent Resident Card (PR Card).
  • Canadian permanent residents/landed immigrants travelling to the United States as non-immigrants must have a valid passport and either a valid non-immigrant visa or an Electronic System for Travel AuthorizationOpens in New Window(ESTA) depending on their citizenship.
  • U.S. permanent residents/landed immigrants (including NEXUS cardOpens in New Windowholders) must have a valid Electronic Travel AuthorizationOpens in New Window(eTA) to board a flight to Canada. They must also carry a valid passport and a valid Permanent Resident/Resident Alien Card (form I-551).
  • Visa-exempt foreign citizens must have a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board a flight to Canada. To see if the citizens of your country need an eTA or to apply for one, visit the Government of Canada’s Electronic Travel AuthorizationOpens in New Windowwebsite.
  • Citizens from countries participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must have a valid Electronic System for Travel AuthorizationOpens in New Window(ESTA) to board a flight to the United States.
  • Chinese citizens holding a full term 10-year B1, B2 or B1/B2 United States visa must enroll in the Electronic Visa Update SystemOpens in New Window(EVUS) prior to travelling to the U.S.
  • Other foreign citizens must make sure they have all the necessary travel documents in hand (e.g. valid passport, visa, residence permit).

Air Canada is legally required to compare a passenger's entire face with the photograph shown on the appropriate valid travel document, which must also include the passenger’s full name, date of birth and gender.

Carriage will be refused to any passenger who:

  • Refuses to present the appropriate valid travel document
  • Refuses to show his/her entire face
  • Does not resemble the photo on the travel document

For identification and security purposes, your booking must provide your full name as it appears on your travel document; as well, you may have to provide your date of birth and gender when completing your booking.

Secure Flight Program:

As required under the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)'s  Secure Flight Program,open a new window Secure Flight information must be provided at least 72 hours prior to travel, or at time of booking for reservations made within 72 hours of departure if you are travelling:

  • to, from or via the United States
  • on a flight that is flying over the continental United States (excluding flights between two points in Canada)

Passengers transiting through Canada on their way to/from the U.S.:

Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express are approved air carriers participating in the Canadian government's Transit Without Visa (TWOV) program, and China Transit Program (CTP). This participation allows our customers who are citizens of certain Asian countries and who are transiting through Vancouver Airport, Calgary Airport or Toronto-Pearson Airport (Terminal 1 only) to travel to or from the United States without obtaining a Canadian temporary resident visa under certain specific conditions.

More about transiting through Canada without a visa.open a new window

Travel Documents:

  • Canadians holding dual citizenship must travel to Canada with a Canadian passport even for transit purposes. Certificates of citizenship and other documents previously used as proof of Canadian citizenship are no longer accepted for travel by air.
  • U.S. permanent residents/landed immigrants (including NEXUS cardopen a new windowholders) must have a valid Electronic Travel Authorizationopen a new window(eTA) to board a flight from Canada to the United States. They must also carry a valid passport and a valid Permanent Resident/Resident Alien Card (form I-551).
  • Visa-exempt foreign citizens must have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board a flight to Canada on their way to the United States. To see if the citizens of your country need an eTA or to apply for one, visit the Government of Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorizationopen a new windowwebsite.
  • Citizens from countries participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorizationopen a new window(ESTA) prior to boarding a flight to the United States.
  • Chinese citizens holding a full term 10-year B1, B2 or B1/B2 United States visa must enroll in the Electronic Visa Update Systemopen a new window(EVUS) prior to travelling to the United States.
  • Other foreign citizens must make sure they have all the necessary travel documents in hand (e.g. valid passport, visa, residence permit).

If you are travelling between Canada and Cuba and are a U.S. citizen, a U.S. permanent resident or other person subject to U.S. jurisdiction, please be advised that you will be asked to complete and sign an Affidavit for Cuba Travel formOpen PDF file at the airport prior to boarding your flight to Cuba. This form will be available at the departure gate.

The OFAC requires that travellers acknowledge that they are holders of a specific travel license for Cuba, or that their travel to Cuba is related to one of the following general license categories:

  1. Family visits
  2. Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  3. Journalistic activity
  4. Professional research and professional meetings
  5. Educational activities
  6. Religious activities
  7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions and exhibitions
  8. Support for the Cuban people
  9. Humanitarian projects
  10. Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  11. Exportation, importation or transmission of information or information materials
  12. Certain authorized export transactions

For specific information on the Cuba sanctions regulations including fact sheets on recent changes regarding Cuba, applying for an OFAC license online, and more guidance regarding travel to Cuba, please refer to this U.S Department of the TreasuryOpen PDF file document.

For travel-specific questions, please visit the official Office of Foreign Assets ControlOpens in New Window website.


Frequently asked questions:


Why do I need to document my travel reasons and where will the Affidavit form be collected?

The U.S. Government currently limits the reasons for which U.S citizens, U.S permanent residents and other persons subject to U.S jurisdiction may travel to Cuba. As such, these travellers must complete and sign an Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Affidavit form which will be provided at the departure gate from airports in Canada which offer service to Cuba.

The completion of the form is mandatory for U.S citizens, U.S permanent residents and other persons subject to U.S jurisdiction, as well as their family member (including infants and children). This document is required because the U.S. Government requires U.S. passengers to certify that they fall within one of the permitted travel categories and airlines to capture and store passengers’ reasons for travel.

How long will this Affidavit be required?

The Affidavit form will be required until the U.S. Government changes its policy.

Air Canada is legally required to compare a passenger's entire face with the photograph shown on the appropriate valid travel document, which must also include the passenger’s full name, date of birth and gender.

Carriage will be refused to any passenger who:

  • Refuses to present the appropriate valid travel document
  • Refuses to show his/her entire face
  • Does not resemble the photo on the travel document

For identification and security purposes, your booking must provide your full name as it appears on your travel document; as well, you may have to provide your date of birth and gender when completing your booking.

Flights over the United States:

Please see important information about the Secure Flight ProgramOpens in New Window if your itinerary includes a flight that is flying over the continental United States.

Flights over Russia:

The government of Russia requires airlines to supply the name, date of birth, gender and passport information of all passengers travelling on flights that fly over Russian territory.

Travel Documents:

  • Most travellers, including Canadian and U.S. citizens, must carry a valid passport to travel to a foreign country. A visa or electronic visa may also be required for some countries.
  • Canadians holding dual citizenship must travel to Canada with a Canadian passport. Certificates of citizenship and other documents previously used as proof of Canadian citizenship are no longer accepted for travel by air.
  • Canadian permanent residents/landed immigrants returning to Canada from abroad must carry a valid passport and a valid Canadian Permanent Resident Card (PR Card).
  • Students and temporary workers in Canada who are citizens of a country for which a visa is required to enter Canada must hold a valid visa to return to Canada from travel abroad (even if they hold a valid study or work permit). Citizens of a visa-exempt country require an Electronic Travel AuthorizationOpens in New Window (eTA) if they applied for and/or received their original study or work permit prior to August 1, 2015.
  • Visa-exempt foreign citizens must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) prior to boarding a flight to Canada. To see if the citizens of your country need an eTA or to apply for one, visit the Government of Canada’s Electronic Travel AuthorizationOpens in New Window website.
  • Other foreign citizens must make sure they have all the necessary travel documents in hand (e.g. valid passport, visa, residence permit).

Passports

A valid passport is required for travel to, from and via most countries, including for return travel to Canada. If you do not have a valid passport, we strongly recommend that you apply for one well in advance of travel.

Some countries require that your passport be valid for three or six months beyond your date of return. Visit the IATA Travel CentreOpens in New Window or Travel and Tourism CanadaOpens in New Window to determine whether the three- or six-month rule applies to your destination(s).

Passports must be in good condition: passports damaged beyond normal wear and tear will not be accepted. Examples of damage to a passport may be found on the Canadian Passport ProgramOpens in New Window website. If you are concerned about the condition of your passport, contact the Canadian Passport ProgramOpens in New Window or the appropriate embassy, high commission or consulate to get a new passport.

  • Canadian permanent residents/landed immigrants returning to Canada from abroad must carry a valid passport and a valid Canadian Permanent Resident Card (PR Card).
  • Canadians holding dual citizenship must travel to Canada with a valid Canadian passport. Certificates of citizenship and other documents previously used as proof of Canadian citizenship are no longer accepted for travel by air.

Visas

Visit the IATA Travel CentreOpens in New Window and Travel and Tourism CanadaOpens in New Window for detailed information on country-specific passport, visa and health requirements.

  • Consult with the appropriate embassy, high commission or consulate about the travel document requirements for any country that you plan to enter in, exit from or transit through.
  • Many countries no longer issue paper visas but rather electronic visas. Applications for electronic visas must be made online prior to travel. You should print your electronic visa and carry it with you when you travel as you may need to present it to immigration authorities at destination. Travel may be denied to travellers who are not in possession of a printed copy of their electronic visa.
  • Obtain visas well in advance of your anticipated departure date, as you may need to mail your passport to the visa-issuing mission.
  • Some countries require passports to be valid for a minimum period before they will issue a visa.
  • There may be an extended delay if you apply for a visa from a third country while you are travelling.

Entry and Exit Requirements

On your arrival in a foreign country, be prepared to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your intended stay and that you will be admitted to the next country on your itinerary. For example, have a visa for that country if it is required. Many countries will grant entry only if you are in possession of a return or onward ticket.

Some countries impose exit controls, which may include exit permits, proof of payment of local taxes if applicable, payment or sometimes very costly fines for visa overstays. In some countries, you must register with local authorities if you are not staying at a recognized hotel. Otherwise, your departure may be delayed, or you may be fined when you leave.

Passports

For travel to countries where a passport is required, all Canadians, including children, must carry their own passport. Canada does not allow children to travel on their parent's passport.

Entry and Exit Requirements

Prior to any international travel that includes a child, parents should visit the IATA Travel Centre and Travel and Tourism CanadaOpens in New Window, or contact the embassy high commission or consulate of all countries the child will be visiting to enquire about entry and exit requirements.

Other Travel Documents

Some countries require one or more of the following documents when travelling with a childopen a new window:

  • The child’s birth certificate showing the names of both parents.
  • Any legal documents (e.g. court order or letter of special circumstances) pertaining to custody.
  • A parental consent letter or affidavit authorizing travel (if the child is travelling with one parent, the letter must be signed and dated by the other parent; if the child is travelling without his parents, the letter must be signed and dated by both parents.)
  • A death certificate if one of the parents is deceased

Passport Signature for Minors Holding a Canadian Passport

Parents/legal guardians must never sign their child’s Canadian passport. Signing your child’s passport will make it invalid thus the signature block on page 3 must be left blank.

For more details, refer to the Canadian Passport ProgramOpens in New Window website.