Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to visit Canada for a stay of generally up to six months, provided that no work is undertaken (http://www.cic.gc.ca/engl...) and the traveller holds a passport valid for six months beyond their intended date of departure:
Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Holy See, Hong Kong BN(O Passport or SAR Passport), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel National Passport holders only, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania biometric passports only, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montserrat, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Poland biometric passports only, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, St. Helena, Sweden, Slovenia, Switzerland, Taiwan must be ordinary passport including personal identification number, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Kingdom including British (Overseas Citizens who are re-admissible to the UK and British subjects with the right of abode in the UK) and United States.
Please be aware that citizens of the above-mentioned countries that "do not need a visa" may need additional visas/permits if they have a criminal record and are thus considered "criminally inadmissible to Canada".
A visa exemption also applies to individuals holding nationalities that are not specified above if they are in possession of a US Green Card or can provide other evidence of permanent residence in the United States. Persons who do not require a visa and who are entering for any reason other than tourism must have a letter of invitation from the individual, business, or organization that they are visiting. See (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/business-checklist.asp for information about letters of invitation and what information they need to contain).
All others will be required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa to enter the country. This can be done at the applicants' nearest Canadian Visa Office. Applicants are required to submit, as part of their application (http://www.cic.gc.ca/engl...):
A valid travel document such as a passport
Two properly-formatted, passport-sized photos for all applicants
The application fee The fee per person is $75 for a single entry visa, $150 for a multiple entry visa or $400 for a family (multiple or single entry
Reservation confirmation for tourists or letter of invitation for everybody else.
Proof that you have enough money for your visit to Canada. The amount of money may vary, depending on the circumstances for your visit, how long you will stay and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives. You can get more information from the visa office.
Other documents as required. These documents could be identification cards, proof of employment, or a proposed itinerary. Check the website of the visa office responsible for the country or region where you live for more information.
If you plan to visit the United States and do not travel outside the borders of the US, you can use your single entry visa to re-enter as long as the visa has not passed its expiry date.
Working while in the country is forbidden without a work permit, although Canada does have several temporary work permits for youth from specific countries. See "Work" below.
United States citizens traveling by land vehicle, rail, boat or foot to Canada need only proof of citizenship and identification for short-term visits. In addition to a passport, a number of other documents may also be used to cross the border:
United States Passport Card issued by the Department of State
Enhanced Drivers License or Non-Driver Photo ID card currently issued by Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Washington State
Enhanced Tribal ID Card
Trusted Traveler Cards issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the Canadian Border NEXUS and FAST.
DHS issued cards for the Mexican Border SETRI and for international air travelers Global Entry cannot be used to enter Canada, but they are acceptable to re-enter the United States and may be used in the dedicated NEXUS lanes into the US, where available.
Prior to 2009, it was possible to travel across the U.S.-Canada border with just a birth certificate and a driver's license. Birth certificates are technically still acceptable to enter Canada, but United States Customs and Border Protection stopped accepting birth certificates when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative WHTI went into effect. This is due to the fact that many especially older certificates are little more than a typewritten piece of carbon paper with no security. If you try to re-enter the United States with your birth certificate, you will eventually be let in, but only after significant delays while CBP verifies the information on it with the issuing department, you may also be fined or prosecuted for non-compliance, although anything more than a written warning is unlikely for a first time violator.
Upon entry to Canada, the standard questions will include your intended itinerary, if you have been to the country before, and if are in possession of any firearms. Under no circumstance is a good idea to try to carry weapons over the frontier. If you are driving you should have proof of insurance coverage ready to go and you should have some listed hotels or places to stay ready to present if ask.
Residents of Greenland, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and some Caribbean nations are not required to present a passport if they can prove nationality and identity via some other means.
Residents of Greenland, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and the United States also benefit from arrangements where applications for work and study permits can be made upon arrival in Canada at the Immigration Office at the port of entry without the need for an advance Temporary Resident Visa or advance application at a consulate. However, all the paperwork normally needed for such a permit has to be submitted at the port of entry as it would at a consulate, including a letter of introduction/invitation, the appropriate paperwork issued by the institution/employer, and the appropriate fees.
Greyhound Canada (http://www.greyhound.ca) serves many destinations in Canada, with connecting service to regional lines and U.S. Greyhound coaches. Be sure to inquire about discounts and travel packages that allow for frequent stops as you travel across Canada. Many routes connect major Canadian and American cities including Montreal - New York City which is operated by New York Trailways (http://www.trailwaysny.com/), Vancouver - Seattle operated by Greyhound and Toronto - New York City via Buffalo, this route in particular is operated by a number of bus companies: Greyhound, Coach Canada (http://www.coachcanada.com), New York Trailways, Megabus (http://us.megabus.com), and Ne-On (http://www.neonbus.com).
From The United States
If you are travelling to Canada from the United States and you are not a permanent resident of either country you need to be careful to satisfy the U.S. authorities on any subsequent trip that you have not exceeded their limits on stays in North America. Your time in Canada counts towards your maximum allowed United States stay if you are returning to the U.S. prior to your departure from North America.
If you are returning to the U.S. in this trip, keep your visa documents. Do not hand over your US visa or visa waiver card I-94 or I-94W to border control. You can enter the U.S. multiple times during the time allocated to your visa for Western tourists, normally 90 days, but you need to have the immigration document as well to validate the visa. If you come back from the U.S. without that document, you will not only have to apply again for a visa or visa waiver but also will also need to satisfy U.S. immigration of the validity of your trip meaning to show them that you will not intend on immigrating there.
If your default U.S. time is going to run out while you are in Canada, and you want to return to the US direct from Canada, you need to apply for a U.S. visa with a longer time period eg B-1/B-2, or a C-1 transit visa before your first trip through the U.S.. For example, if you are going to stay in Canada for six months, and you transit through the US on a visa waiver, then the U.S. will regard your six months in Canada as not allowing you to return to the U.S. without leaving North America first, as you have stayed more than 90 days in North America in total. Note that in this scenario, you have not done anything wrong by visiting the U.S. and then staying in Canada for a long time, simply that the U.S. will not allow you to return directly from Canada, you have to reset their clock by leaving North America. Visa waiver travelers may be able to avoid this by returning their I-94W green form to their airline upon departing the U.S., or to the Canadian immigration inspector if entering Canada by land; since the U.S. has no outbound immigration check, it's up to the traveler to remember this.
If you are intending to leave North America entirely without returning to the U.S. on this trip, return any visa documents at the time of leaving the U.S. for Canada. This means handing over your I-94 or I-94W card to airline staff at the check-in counter if departing by air, or to the Canadian immigration inspector if departing by land. If you do not, you will need to prove (http://help.cbp.gov/cgi-b...) to the U.S. that you didn't overstay to be admitted on future trips the US CBP (http://help.cbp.gov/cgi-bin/customs.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=752 website has information on how to correct this mistake).
If you leave Canada to briefly visit the United States and wish to re-enter Canada in a short period of time, you generally may do so without getting a new Canadian visa as long as you return within the initial period authorised by the immigration officer or have a valid temporary residence permit authorising you to re-enter, and you do not leave US soil before returning to Canada i.e. not even during a cruise which begins and ends at a US point but crosses international waters in-between. If you leave US soil for a third country for any reason on a single-entry Canadian visa, you will have to apply for a new visa before re-entering Canada.
In British Columbia, you can enter Canada by ferry from Alaska and Washington. Alaska Marine Highway serves Prince Rupert, whereas Washington State Ferries serves Sidney near Victoria through the San Juan islands. There is a car ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles run by Black Ball; there are also tourist-oriented passenger-only ferries running from Victoria to points in Washington.
There is a passenger ferry running from Fortune in Newfoundland to Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
A small car ferry operates between Wolfe Island, Ontario near Kingston and Cape Vincent, NY.
A small car ferry operates between Pelee Island Ontario, Kingsville Ontario and Sandusky Ohio when ice and weather allows.
The CAT car ferry between Rochester, NY and Toronto, Ontario was discontinued in January 2006 because of poor ridership. The Bay Ferries route from Bar Harbor in Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, also called the CAT, was discontinued in 2010 due to a lack of funding. Bay Ferries does still run a New Brunswick to Nova Scotia ferry.
Several cruise lines run cruises between the eastern United States and Halifax. Most freight routes run to Montreal on the east coast and Vancouver on the west coast. International passengers will be required to pass through customs in their port of arrival.
Via Rail (http://www.viarail.ca) is Canada's national passenger rail service. Amtrak (http://www.amtrak.com) provides connecting rail service to Toronto from New York via Niagara Falls, Montreal from New York and Vancouver from Seattle via Bellingham. The train is an inexpensive way to get into Canada, with tickets starting from as low as US$43 return to Vancouver. There is also thruway service between Seattle and Vancouver.
Be wary though: Not many private citizens in Canada take the train as a regular means of transportation. Most citizens simply drive to where they want to go if the distance is short which in Canada can still mean hundreds of kilometres!, or fly if the distance is long.
Important: If you're traveling cross-border on Amtrak service, you must have your tickets validated prior to boarding. Pick up your tickets from the window not the Quick-Trak kiosk and show your passport or travel document to the agent your travel document information is sent ahead of time on a manifest to border services to facilitate crossing procedures. Some stations, such as New York City have a dedicated window for international passengers.
See also: Rail travel in Canada