Border Control: What to Expect When You Come to Canada

Canadian citizens are free to move in and out of their country, sure, but what about foreign nationals?

If you want to come to Canada, in 2021 or beyond, it is possible, especially if you have applied to move to Canada.

Many people all around the world are interested in moving to what is considered to be one of the greatest nations in the world, if it is possible to do so during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially with a rise of infections with a third Covid-19 strain present in many countries right now.

Since the pandemic doesn’t seem to have an end, foreign nationals worldwide want to know if they can immigrate to Canada in 2021, and the answer is yes.

With Covid-19 that seems to be worsening, Canada is the leading country vaccinating more of its residents in one day compared to any other country, which gives the world hope and reassurance that it is indeed a country that looks after its residents. This also makes Canada one of the most attractive countries to people from all parts of the world as many would like to improve the overall quality of their lives too.

What is Port of Entry (POE)?

How do you enter the Canadian border during Covid-19 as an immigrant?

Well, of course, being an immigrant, you can’t just buy an airplane ticket and present your passport before you board the plane in your home country and again when you arrive in Canada. When you arrive at your destination, you will be at your Port of Entry (POE), which is your entry point into Canada by the Canadian government.

The Port of Entry is the first airport that you stop at in Canada. For instance, if you stop in one province in Canada before you get to the province that is your final destination, then the first province’s airport is your POE. When you reach your POE, you must get an examination from a Border Services Officer (BSO), which is an employee of the Government of Canada’s Canada Border Service Agency. At this point, you will be asked to present your identification documents and to answer questions, including personal information to help determine if you can come to Canada. After this examination, you will receive a stamp in your passport and can ask the BSO to stamp your passport before leaving the POE.

If you are yet to apply for a work permit, you can do so at your POE.

Travel Documents Required By International Visitors

Travel documents (1)

To enter Canada, apart from proof of identification, such as an identity document and your passport, you will also be required to present a valid visa. A passport is preferred in Canada because it is a universally accepted travel and identification document for international travel. Anyone entering Canada must ensure they have the right documents on hand as they can easily be refused to enter Canada.

The documents you require will depend on where you are from, how you travel, and the type of documents that you travel with.

The Requirements based on the country you are from includes the following:

  1. Canadian citizens and dual citizens need a valid Canadian passport. American-Canadians are allowed to travel with a valid Canadian or U.S. passport.
  2. Canadian permanent residents need a valid permanent resident card or Permanent resident travel document.
  3. U.S. citizens need a valid U.S. passport to display a proper identification.
  4. Lawful permanent U.S. residentsneed an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to a Canadian airport.They have to have a valid passport or Green Card at their check-in point.
  5. .
  6. Visa-exempt travelers need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board a flight to Canada. These travelers don’t, however, require an eTA when entering by either land or sea, such as when driving from or traveling on a cruise ship from the U.S. These visa-exempt countries are listed here.

Note: For anyone travelling from one of these countries that are exempt from eTA’s but has official Canadian documents, must travel with a valid Canadian visa or a document that displays valid status in Canada (such as a visitor, worker, or student visa) that is re-entering the country after visiting the U.S. or St. Pierre and Miquelon.

Any foreign nationals in the following situations are also exempt from eTA’s:

  • French citizens that live in Saint Pierre and Miquelon that are flying directly to Canada.
  • Foreign nationals that are passengers yet to come or are coming from the U.S. on a flight that stops in Canada to refuel.
  • Foreign nationals with proper documents to enter the U.S.
  • Foreign nationals that have been lawfully admitted to the U.S.
  • Foreign nationals that are passengers on a flight that makes an unscheduled stop in Canada.
  • Foreign nationals that transit through a Canadian airport under the China Transit or Transit Without Visa Program.
  • Travel/ official representatives, including flight crew, accident investigators, and civil aviation that are or will be working in Canada, members of Armed Forces of a country designated under the Visiting Forces Act or Diplomats accredited by the Canadian Government.

Foreign nationals from the following countries require a visa that has been applied for and received before arriving in Canada.

Workers or students can also come to Canada but must meet the entry requirements. In either of these cases, a work or study permit needs to be presented with a valid visitor visa or eTA to enter Canada.

If this is your first time applying for a work or study permit, the Canadian government will issue you an eTA or a visa, should you need one to have your application to travel to Canada approved. When traveling to Canada, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Letter of introduction
  • Valid passport/ travel document - If you need a visa, it must have a visa sticker, but if you need an eTA and are flying to a Canadian airport, you must have the passport electronically linked to your eTA.

If you already have a work or study permit, you can present your current work or study visa, but you have to check if your visitor visa is still valid to leave Canada and then re-enter it. If you are flying to a Canadian airport and need an eTA, you must ensure that your passport is electronically linked to your eTA. You must always travel with a valid work or study permit, and a valid passport or travel document.

If you have a Canadian parent or grandparent, or have Canadian permanent residence or citizenship, you are likely eligible for a super visa, which can allow you to visit Canada for a maximum of two years at once. This is a multi-entry visa that is valid for up to 10 years.

Learn More About Applying for a Visa Today


Cross the Canadian border legally and with peace of mind by presenting the right documents to the Canadian Border Services Officers. To ensure you have all of the correct documents on hand before planning your trip to Canada, whether it be temporary or permanent, find out everything you need to know by consulting one of our affiliated Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs).

While getting a permanent visa to live and work in Canada may seem difficult, you can come to Canada and make it happen if you meet the requirements to become a permanent Canadian resident. With the right information and guidance, you can jet-set to the country of your dreams in no time!