Where are you from? What is the reason for your visit? How long will you be staying? What is your citizenship?
All these are common questions asked of travelers when crossing into another country. That is why proper documentation is of the utmost importance. Without it you are, well, screwed.
We all know that proper ID is a necessity. Without it we can not prove that we are who we say we are. It is needed, among other things, for many daily activities such as driving, buying a cell phone plan, buying prescription drugs or going to a bar. As stated above, with travel it is imperative to have your proper ID and papers. This is regardless of how you enter a country (plane, train, foot, car, bus etc). There are only a few exceptions to traveling without proper documentation. If you are traveling within Canada you do not require proper ID if you are going by bus, train or getting a ride with someone in a car.
How about everywhere else? Let’s take a look.
Driving (within Canada):
If you are driving within Canada, be it a rental or your own vehicle, then you require a valid Driver’s License (DL) and car insurance. For visitors you to Canada, while you may be able to drive within Canada on your country issued valid DL for up to 3 months, it is STRONGLY advised that you obtain an International Driver’s License/Permit to have along with your country’s DL. Car insurance is mandatory in Canada.
To board an aircraft you must provide valid ID that matches the name on the reservation. This means that one will have to present either one piece of valid government-issued ID with the passenger’s photo, name, date of birth and gender OR two pieces of valid government-issued ID with one showing the passenger’s name, date of birth and gender.
A valid passport is required for international travel. Canada requires that all passengers traveling by air, including children, carry their own passport when traveling to another country. For more information on obtaining a passport and upcoming changes visit the Passport Canada website.
Regardless of how you cross a border (by air, train, water, foot, motor vehicle) Canadians will have to present a valid passport to enter a country. If you live in another country please check with your government agency to find out what the requirements are. Most countries require passports to enter.
According to the Canadian Government’s Travel website a Visa is:
“A visa is an official document, usually stamped or glued inside a passport, giving permission from a foreign authority for you to enter a country.
Visas are issued by foreign government offices in Canada. Requirements, fees and processing times vary, depending on the country and type of visa you need. The most common categories are business, work, student and tourist visas.
Remember that representatives from the country to which you are travelling need to see your passport before issuing a visa. If you cannot visit the foreign government office in person and must mail your passport, use secure mail services and enclose a stamped, self-addressed return envelope.”
So they are important. Not all Canadians require Visas for all countries. In many cases, a valid passport will suffice. Before you go, do some research to find out if you do require a Visa, what type (business, tourist, student, transit, etc), cost and how long the process will be. In many instances it is a quick and painless process. Other times it is a lengthy and expensive endeavour.
Buy it! You can never know what will happen when you are out of the country. You may get sick, have an injury or be involved in an accident. Out of country medical insurance can take care of the monetary aspect of your medical care so you can focus on getting well. Do not assume that Canada’s universal health care will cover you out of the country. It will not. If you do not have travel medical insurance you will have to pay for any medical expenses out of your own pocket should you be unfortunate enough to require care. If you have travel medical insurance on your credit card (or through other avenues) check the fine print for any exclusions or other pertinent information. Travel medical insurance can be purchased through a travel agent, when booking flights online and through some banks (e.g. RBC Insurance).
Other types of insurance to consider are Trip Cancellation and Interruption, Evacuation Insurance, Baggage Insurance and special considerations if you are an adventure sport enthusiast. DO YOUR RESEARCH!!
And finally, remember to carry all your documentation with you. It is also a wise idea to photocopy your documents and carry a copy in your luggage, away from the originals. Giving a copy to a trusted family member or friend who is not traveling with you is another option as well. Should you lose your documents then a quick phone call can give you the info you need to replace them.
I hope this has been helpful for you novice travelers. It may seem overwhelming but once you know what you need or where to get the information then you know.
For more detailed information, tips and travel health for Canadians, please visit the Canadian Government’s Travel website.
Disclaimer: The information provided on “Eeva’s Wanderings” is meant only as tips and suggestions. I, the author, am not responsible for any harm, injury, loss of life or property or any other misfortune that may occur should anyone act on, re-use or their interpretation of the information provided. I will try to provide up-to-date information but I am not responsible for any information that is out-of-date or incorrect. All opinions are my own and in no way are meant to mislead, defame, harm, humiliate or injure anyone.