Travel documents

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

Along with the normal travel documents required 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.


Boarding gate requirements

International travel and flights between Canada and the U.S.

At the boarding gate, Air Canada is legally required to compare a customer's entire face against the photograph shown on:
  • One (1) piece of government-issued identification with photo which also includes the name, date of birth and gender.
Carriage will be refused if the customer:
  • does not resemble the photograph on the government-issued photo identification;
  • refuses to provide government-issue photo identification;
  • refuses to show his/her entire face.
See specific itinerary links below for more detailed information.


Flights within Canada

At the boarding gate, a passenger must present:
  • Two (2) pieces of 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 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.
See the "Travel within Canada" link below for more detailed information.


Select from the options below to view travel document requirements as they apply to specific itineraries. Then read important information on passports, visas, travel documents for children and more.

Travel within Canada
  • Important: In accordance with government regulations, Air Canada is required to 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. The passenger must present:
    • Two (2) pieces of 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 government issued identification with photo showing the name, date of birth and gender.
  • 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 Protect website.
  • For travellers younger than 18, an original birth certificate or non-government issued ID (e.g. a student card) is suggested but not mandatory at this time, unless our Unaccompanied Minor service is used.
  • See the Travel documents for children section on this page for important information.
Travel between Canada and the U.S.
Secure Flight Program:
  • As required under the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)'s Secure Flight Program, Secure Flight information must be provided at least 72 hours prior to travel, or at time of booking for bookings made within 72 hours of departure if you are travelling:
    • to, from or via the U.S.
    • a flight that is overflying the continental United States (excluding flights between two points in Canada) *
  • Required information is as follows:
    • Full name as it appears on the passport (mandatory)
    • Date of birth (mandatory)
    • Gender (mandatory)
    • Redress Number (optional)
  • APIS information will be required at time of check-in if not provided ahead of time.
  • Bookings made directly with Air Canada*:
    Air Canada requires that travellers submit their additional information at time of booking in order to ensure that all necessary information is valid and provided on time, as well as for identification and security purposes.
  • Other types of bookings:
    If you booked your flight through a party other than Air Canada, Air Canada Vacations or Aeroplan, and your Secure Flight information was not collected (or you are not sure whether or not it was collected), we invite you to complete our online APIS form at least 72 hours prior to travel, or as soon as possible if your booking was made within 72 hours of departure.
  • We've answered some of the most commonly asked questions about the Secure Flight Program and the provision of personal information.

* Air Canada currently collects Secure Flight overflight information for reservations made via Air Canada Reservations. As of December 12, 2012, such information will also be required for online bookings.

Travel documents:
Travel to, from or via an international location
  • For identification and security purposes, you may be required to provide your full name as it appears on your passport, as well as your date of birth and gender when completing your booking.
    • Please see Secure Flight Program information in the “Travel between Canada and the U.S” section above if you are travelling on a flight that will be crossing the continental U.S.
  • A valid passport is required to travel to foreign countries for MOST travellers, including children. Some countries may even require a visa. For detailed information on travel to other countries, including entry and exit requirements and any travel advisories, please visit the Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade website, or contact the local consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting. Find a list of embassies on the Embassy World website.
  • Only Canadian permanent residents from non visa-waiver countries travelling outside Canada are required to carry a valid Canadian permanent resident (PR) card or a valid visa, in addition to a valid passport, to return to Canada. The IMM1000 Record of Landing is no longer acceptable. Without a valid Canadian PR Card or valid visa, these passengers are not permitted to board the aircraft, and will need to contact the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate to obtain a limited use travel document to re-enter Canada. For more information, please visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
  • See the Travel documents for children section on this page for important information.
  • Travel to and from Argentina:
    • Visit the Argentina Ministry of the Interior website to complete your migratory card; it is required for all travel to Argentina. Please note that although the migratory card form is in English, most content on the website is in Spanish.
    • Canadian, U.S. and Australian citizens must pay Argentina's reciprocity fee in advance of travel by visiting Argentina's Ministry of the Interior or Provincia Pagos website. Proof of payment (in the form of a receipt) is required upon arrival at Ministro Pistarini de Ezeiza Int. Airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires.
  • Travel to and from Australia:
    If you are travelling to Australia and you are not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand, you must obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or visa. To learn more or to apply online, visit the Australian Electronic Travel Authority website.
  • Travel to and from Chile:
    If you are a dual citizen of Chile and another country:
    • You may enter Chile with a passport issued by the other country. You will need to leave Chile with that same passport. While in Chile, you will be considered a tourist and your maximum stay will be 90 days.
    • You may enter Chile with your Chilean passport. You will need to leave Chile with the same passport. While in Chile, you will be considered a Chilean citizen, and no maximum stay restrictions will apply.
Travel to the U.S. via Canada from other countries
Secure Flight Program:
  • As required under the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)'s Secure Flight Program, Secure Flight information must be provided at least 72 hours prior to travel, or at time of booking for bookings made within 72 hours of departure if you are travelling:
    • to, from or via the U.S.
    • a flight that is overflying the continental United States (excluding flights between two points in Canada) *
  • Required information is as follows:
    • Full name as it appears on the passport (mandatory)
    • Date of birth (mandatory)
    • Gender (mandatory)
    • Redress Number (optional)
  • APIS information will be required at time of check-in if not provided ahead of time.
  • Bookings made directly with Air Canada*:
    Air Canada requires that travellers submit their additional information at time of booking in order to ensure that all necessary information is valid and provided on time, as well as for identification and security purposes.
  • Other types of bookings:
    If you booked your flight through a party other than Air Canada, Air Canada Vacations or Aeroplan, and your Secure Flight information was not collected (or you are not sure whether or not it was collected), we invite you to complete our online APIS form at least 72 hours prior to travel, or as soon as possible if your booking was made within 72 hours of departure.
  • We've answered some of the most commonly asked questions about the Secure Flight Program and the provision of personal information.

* Air Canada currently collects Secure Flight overflight information for reservations made via Air Canada Reservations. As of December 12, 2012, such information will also be required for online bookings.

Easier transit via Canada for travel to the U.S.

Air Canada is an approved air carrier participating in the Canadian government's Transit without Visa (TWOV) program, and China Transit Program (CTP). This participation allows Air Canada's customers who are citizens of certain Asian countries and who are transiting through either Vancouver Airport or Toronto-Pearson Airport to travel to or from the U.S. without obtaining a Canadian temporary resident visa under certain specific conditions.

Travel documents:
  • Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA):
    Effective March 15, 2010, citizens from countries participating in the US Visa Waiver Program who wish to travel by air to the United States must obtain approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) using the convenient ESTA online form. Passengers who have not obtained prior approval via ESTA prior to departure will be denied boarding.
    For a list of VWP countries or to learn more about ESTA, visit the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
  • Canadian permanent residents from non visa-waiver countries:
    Canadian permanent residents from non visa-waiver countries travelling outside Canada are required to carry a valid Canadian permanent resident (PR) card or a valid visa, in addition to a valid passport, to return to Canada. The IMM1000 Record of Landing is no longer acceptable. Without a valid Canadian PR Card or valid visa, these passengers are not permitted to board the aircraft, and will need to contact the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate to obtain a limited use travel document to re-enter Canada. For more information, please visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
  • Canadian Certificates of Citizenship are not valid for travel.
  • See the Travel documents for children section on this page for important information.
  • The Customs and Immigration Information page offers additional information for travel to and from the United-States.


Passports

Your passport remains the best internationally-accepted evidence of your citizenship. It may be required for any number of financial or legal transactions abroad, and can be replaced if stolen while you are away, unlike a birth certificate or driver's license.

You and your family need valid passports for travel to most countries, including return travel to Canada. Never assume otherwise. If you do not have a valid passport, we strongly recommend that you apply for a new one well in advance of travel plans.

Canadian and U.S. citizens must present a valid passport or a valid Nexus card when travelling by air between Canada and the United States.

Nexus card holders who are permanent residents of Canada or the U.S. must travel with a passport and proof of permanent residence, in addition to their Nexus card, and may be asked to present these documents upon arrival at the border.

Foreign nationals must ensure that they have all of the necessary documents in hand (e.g. valid passport, visa, permanent resident card).

Some countries require that your passport be valid for six months beyond your date of entry. You are advised to check the Voyage.gc.ca website to establish whether the six-month rule applies to your destination.


Travel documents for children

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

In addition, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has recommended a policy requiring every individual, including a child, who travels by air to have his or her own travel document.

A child must hold a valid passport for all international travel. Furthermore, prior to any international travel that includes a child, parents should contact the Embassy or Consulate of all countries the child will be visiting to enquire about entry and exit requirements.

The following documents are recommended for travel within Canada and may also be required for international travel to/from certain countries.

  • The child’s birth certificate showing the names of both parents.
  • Any legal documents pertaining to custody.
  • A parental consent letter 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

We invite you to view more information on travelling with an infant or child, and valuable information from the Government of Canada on children and travel.


Visas

You should check with your travel agent or the appropriate foreign diplomatic or consular missions about the visa requirements for the countries that you plan to visit or transit through.
  • Obtain visas well in advance of your anticipated departure date; this may involve mailing 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.
  • Visas can be quite expensive. You should include their cost in the budget for your trip. Make photocopies of your visas, and keep them separate from the originals.

For extensive details regarding country-specific visa & health entry requirements, you can visit the Star Alliance Visa & Health search tool in order to determine what you will need for your trip.


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's required.) Many countries will grant entry only if you're in possession of return or onward tickets.

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, etc. In some countries, you must register with local authorities if you're not staying at a recognized hotel. Otherwise, your departure may be delayed, or you may be fined when you leave.


Permanent resident (PR) cards

All Canadian permanent residents travelling outside Canada are required to carry a valid Canadian permanent resident (PR) card or a valid visa, in addition to a valid passport, to return to Canada by commercial carrier. The PR card provides proof of your immigration status. Without it, you will not be allowed to board the carrier back to Canada. Canadian citizens do not need a PR card.

The PR card is valid for five years. CHECK THE EXPIRY DATE AND APPLY FOR A NEW ONE AT LEAST TWO MONTHS BEFORE YOU TRAVEL.

For more information on valid Canadian travel documents and current application processing times, visit the Passport Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada websites.