Most of the items you bring into Canada for your personal use during your visit will be considered "personal baggage" by Canada Customs. Some examples are food, fishing tackle, cars, boats and motors, snowmobiles, sports equipment, computers, and cameras.
You are not allowed to carry a weapon, such as a firearm or mace or any other spray that may be used against humans or for self-defense, in Canada. Click here for more information on firearms.
Canada Customs' chief concern is to establish that you really are bringing the goods in for your personal use. If you are going to be carrying large amounts of consumable products, such as food or fuel, please contact a Canada Customs office before you begin your trip to determine what special measures you should take.
You may bring bona fide gifts worth up to Canadian $60.00 each per person for your friends in Canada without paying duty, provided these do not consist of tobacco or alcoholic beverages.
- 1.5 litres of liquor or wine; OR
- 24 cans or bottles at 355 milliliters each (12 ounces) of beer or ale
To include alcohol in your personal exemption you have to:
- carry it in your personal luggage or checked baggage;
- meet the minimum age requirement of the province or territory you enter;
- not be claiming any other alcoholic beverages in your personal exemption; and
- be returning after an absence of at least 48 hours if you are a Canadian resident.
To bring in tobacco products, you must be at least 18 years old, except in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and British Columbia, where you must be 19 years old. Visitors meeting the age requirements of the province or territory of entry may bring the following amounts of tobacco into Canada without paying duty:
- 200 cigarettes
- 50 cigars
- 200 grams (7 ounces) of loose tobacco
- 200 tobacco sticks
Any additional quantities are subject to duties, provincial fees and taxes. Some provinces may also limit the total amount of tobacco that may be brought into their jurisdiction.
Drugs for Medical Use
Prescription drugs should be clearly identified and carried in the original packaging with a label specifying both what they are, and that they are being used under prescription. It is also a good idea to bring a copy of your prescription and a contact number for your Doctor.
Diabetics and others who have to bring syringes with them should carry some evidence of their need for using these.
If you have an American operator's license, you may use your aircraft, marine or amateur radio while visiting Canada without a Canadian license. All other types of radio transmitting stations may only be used in Canada if accompanied by a letter of registration from Industry Canada's Radio Regulatory and Broadcasting Branch. Call (613) 998-3372 for more information.
All pets must be accompanied by their owners when entering Canada. Owners of dogs and cats must bring a rabies certificate issued by a licensed American or Canadian Veterinarian clearly identifying the pet (breed, coloring, name) and certifying that it has been vaccinated against rabies some time during the previous 36 months prior to crossing the border. An exception is made for puppies or kittens that are younger than three months old, however, they must also appear in good health.
If you are traveling with your pet(s) to Canada via airplane, please be advised that the airline may ask for a health certificate from your veterinarian before allowing your pet(s) to board the airplane. It is advised that you contact the airline you will be traveling with to ensure whether or not a health certificate is required.
Seeing-eye Dogs are allowed into Canada without restriction. Canadian law also guarantees that anyone using seeing-eye dogs may bring them into restaurants, hotels and other businesses.
For information on pets, agriculture or forestry items, please contact any one of the following:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Import Service Centres (ISC):
Note: Toll-free numbers apply only within Canada and the United States
Eastern ISC (Montreal): Tel. (877) 493-0468 or
Central ISC (Toronto): Tel.(800) 835-4486 or
(905) 612-6282 (7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time) Fax. (905) 612-6280
Western ISC (Vancouver): Tel. (888) 732-6222 or
(604) 541-3370 (7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time) Fax. (604) 541-3373
A CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) permit is required for any endangered species brought into Canada, including those kept as pets, and for any items made from them, such as coats, handbags or shoes. For further information on how to obtain one of these permits, please call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (703) 358-2104.
For more information about Canadian laws regarding endangered species, please contact the:
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
Canadian Wildlife Service
Tel. (819) 997-1840
There are many measures in place to prevent plant pests from entering Canada and causing serious damage to crops and forests. As as rule, it is probably better not to bring any live plants, bulbs, seeds, or other propagative material with you into Canada. If you do, you should first contact one of the CFIA Import Service Centres listed on this page. You should also check with the nearest office of the US Department of Agriculture before your departure to determine whether there are any special requirements for or restrictions on taking plants from your area with you.
Restrictions on Bringing Firearms Into Canada
Canada has strict laws governing the cross-border movement, possession, and use of firearms. All firearms must be declared to Revenue Canada Customs at the first point of entry.
A visitor may import a non-restricted firearm, such as a sporting rifle and shotgun, ONLY for the following purposes:
- sporting or hunting use while in Canada
- bona fide competition use;
- transport through Canada to another country;
- protection against wildlife in remote areas of Canada (excluding National Parks) if the Customs Officer is satisfied that the circumstances warrant the firearm's importation.
Special documentation is currently required to import non-restricted firearms. Please click on the 'Gun Control' tab at the top of this page for detailed information on the importation of firearms for the purpose of hunting in Canada. Only non-restricted firearms may be brought in for hunting purposes. These non-restricted firearms are sporting rifles and shotguns that are at least 660 mm (approximately 26 inches) long, have barrels that are at least 470 mm (approximately 18.5 inches) long, and do not otherwise fall into a restricted or prohibited category.
Most handguns are classed as restricted firearms and may be imported only for use at approved shooting competitions. An Authorization to Transport is required. The form may be obtained by calling toll-free (800) 731-4000.
Requests for an Authorization to Transport restricted firearms (e.g. most handguns) through Canada to other parts of the US, including Alaska, or another country are normally denied. Before leaving for Canada, visitors who require an Authorization to Transport should discuss their options with a firearms officer for the Canadian province you intend to enter.
Certain handguns and all automatic weapons are classed as Prohibited firearms and are banned from entering Canada. Severe penalties and confiscation apply to the possession of illegal firearms in Canada.
The Government of Canada is actively reviewing possible changes to the rules for the importation of firearms. Before importing a firearm, you should check with a Firearms Officer. For more information, call (800) 731-4000 or click here for information transporting firearms to Canada
For further information on current procedures regarding the entry of firearms, you may write to:
Canada Revenue Agency
Interdepartmental Programs, Section A
Connaught Building, 5th Floor
CANADA K1A 0L5
Canada Customs Regional Office numbers:
|Halifax, Nova Scotia
|Moncton, New Brunswick
||Quebec City, Quebec
||Vancouver, British Columbia
Transporting Goods Through Canada
Goods "in transit" (but not handguns) may be brought through Canada by Americans seeking a convenient route to other parts of the mainland US or Alaska. To facilitate your border crossings, you should carry three copies of a list of all the goods you are bringing with you, including values and serial numbers, if applicable. Consumable goods, such as alcohol, tobacco and food should be packed in containers that can be corded and sealed by Canada Customs at the time of entry.