US Visitors to Ontario
Travel by Air
All persons, including U.S. Citizens, travelling by air between the United States and Canada (including in transit passengers who are transferring planes in the U.S.) are required to present a valid passport or NEXUS card, according to an American law, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).
Frequently Asked Questions for Americans are available at: www.travel.state.gov
Travel by Land or Water
New WHTI requirements now state that all US citizens must present a passport book, passport card, or other WHTI-compliant document for entry into the U.S. by land and water. Children under age 16 will be able to continue crossing land and sea borders using only a U.S. birth certificate or other form of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate.
See the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready, Set, Go! for more information on the changing travel requirements.
The passport card will facilitate entry and expedite document processing at U.S. land and sea ports-of-entry when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. The card may not be used to travel by air. It will otherwise carry the rights and privileges of the U.S. passport book and will be adjudicated to the exact same standards.
Final document requirements for travel by land and water were implemented on June 1, 2009. Click here for more information or visit the US Department of State at www.travel.state.gov or the Canadian Border Services Agency.
All Other Visitors to Ontario
Citizens of other countries, except Greenland, and residents of St-Pierre and Miquelon, must have a valid passport (some also require a visitor’s visa). Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website at www.cic.gc.ca for a complete list of countries whose citizens require visas to enter Canada.
Travellers under the age of 18 and unaccompanied by a parent need a letter of permission to travel in Canada from a parent or guardian. If you are travelling with children, you should carry identification for each child. Divorced parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents.
Non-residents of Canada visiting Ontario are allowed to bring in any reasonable amount of personal effects, a reasonable supply of food and a full tank of gas. (Reasonable means enough for personal use for the length of the stay.) Please note that any unreasonable amounts are subject to duty.
Many agricultural items are restricted or prohibited entry to Canada. Canadian law requires that you declare all agricultural products you bring into Canada to Customs officers when you arrive, whether it is by land, water or air. Permission is required to import plants to Canada, with the exception of houseplants from the United States.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides more information.
• To locate your nearest customs office, please call the Border Information Service (BIS).
• From within Canada, call: 1 800 461-9999 (toll free)
• From outside Canada, call: (204) 983-3500 or (506) 636-5064 (long-distance charges apply)
Visitors arriving in Ontario who are 19 years of age or older may import, duty and tax free, for personal use, either: 1.5 litres (52.7 oz.) of wine or 1.14L (40 oz.) of liquor or spirits; or 24 x 355 mL (12 oz.) cans or bottles of beer, ale, or their equivalent. Visitors can import more alcoholic beverages (up to 45 litres or 11.9 U.S. gallons), if they are willing to pay the Ontario fees and taxes in addition to the duties that apply.
Visitors arriving in Ontario who are 19 years of age or older may import, duty and tax-free:
• 200 cigarettes;
• 50 cigars;
• 200 grams (7 oz) of manufactured tobacco; and
• 200 tobacco sticks
If visitors bring in more tobacco products, they will have to pay the Ontario taxes and duties that apply, as specified by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Duty- Free Limits for Returning Residents of Canada
The following duty-free allowance (in Canadian dollars) apply as of June 1st, 2012:
Goods (Souvenirs, etc.)
• $200 (excluding alcohol and tobacco) any number of times per year, after a minimum 24-hr absence
• $800 any number of times after a minimum 48-hr absence
Learn more about duty-free allowances.
• 1.5 litres of wine, or 1.14 litres (40 oz.) of liquor, or 24 X 355 mL (12 oz.) bottles or cans of beer or ale (288 oz. Or 8.2 litres)
Goods (Souvenirs, etc.)
• 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or cigarillos, 200 tobacco sticks and 200 grams of manufactured tobacco.
Note: Minimum age requirement for tobacco is that of the province where the traveller clears customs. Tobacco and alcohol must be included in the total dollar allowance of $200 or $500 and must be carried in-hand or checked baggage.
Duty-Free Limits for Returning Residents of the United States of America
U.S. residents returning to the United States after 48 hours can take back $800 US worth of merchandise, duty free, every 30 days. This may include one litre (33.8 fl oz.) of alcohol (provided the resident is 21 years or over), 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars that are not of Cuban origin. Members of a family travelling together may combine their personal exemptions. After a visit of less than 48 hours, or if the $400 allowance or part of it has been used within the previous 30 days, an exemption of $200 US is allowed (may not be combined by family members), including 150 mL (4 fl. oz.) of alcohol, 150 mL of perfume and no more than 50 cigarettes or 10 cigars, not of Cuban origin. Articles brought back into the U.S. as part of an exemption must be for personal or household use. They must be brought with the person and properly declared. They must not include prohibited or restricted items. Duty charged varies according to the country the article was made in and the type of article.
More information about entering or re-entering the U.S. is available through U.S. Customs.
Duty-Free Limits for Returning Residents of Great Britain, Germany, France
Residents from these countries who are returning home from Canada are entitled to import the following items duty-free per person (amounts may not be pooled among individuals travelling together):
Goods (total value):
• Great Britain: 145 Pounds Sterling
• Germany: 175 euros, for persons 17 years of age or older
• France: 175 euros, for persons 15 years of age or older
• One litre of liquor over 22% alcohol by volume or two litres of liquor under 22% alcohol and two litres of still table wine.
• 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 250 grams of tobacco or 50 cigars.
• 50 grams (2 oz.) of perfume and 250 grams (9 oz.) of eau de toilette.
Duty Free Limits for Returning Residents of Japan
Residents of Japan returning home from Canada are entitled to import the following items duty-free:
Goods (total value):
• 200,000 yen
• 3 bottles, 750 cc each
• 100 cigars or 400 cigarettes or 500 grams of tobacco
• 2 oz. of perfume
A number of resources can provide you with up-to-date information about border crossing to and from Ontario/Canada:
It is recommended that visitors use Canadian funds in Ontario. Currency exchange offices, conveniently located at most Ontario Travel Information Centres at the U.S./Ontario border, offer a good rate of exchange and are open daily. A good rate of exchange is also offered at the currency exchanges at international airports (Toronto, Ottawa) and at all banks, trust companies and credit unions. Banks are generally open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday; to 6 p.m. Friday. Most trust companies are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and Saturday mornings.
Here’s a handy currency converter to help you make quick and easy conversions between currencies.
Things to Know About Ontario’s Taxes
Effective July 1, 2010, Ontario has a 13% HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) that replaced the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) and the GST (Goods and Service Tax) and is applicable to most goods, purchased gifts, food/beverages, and services. 8% of the HST is the provincial portion and 5% is the federal portion.