What’s the best part about traveling internationally? If you answered “the long wait times,” you’d be the only one. Canada uses a program called ArriveCAN to make the process of entering the country go more quickly and smoothly. Read on to find out what ArriveCAN is, how to use it, and who is required to use it.
While ArriveCAN will be necessary for you to enter Canada, it’s not the only thing you’ll need to cross the border. Be sure to check out our pages on the other documentation you’ll need and tips for the customs inspection experience.
What is ArriveCAN?
ArriveCAN is an app that you’ll use to provide information about yourself and your trip to Canada for customs agents. You will answer questions such as:
- Contact information for you and anyone traveling with you
- The reason you’re traveling (eg, work, vacation, schooling, etc.)
- Travel details
- Date and time you’ll arrive
- Arriving by land: which border crossing port you’ll be using
- Arriving by airplane: your flight number, airline, and destination airport
- Arriving by boat: where and when you boarded your boat or cruise ship
Giving Canadian Customs this information before you reach the border allows the customs agents to quickly verify your information and admit you to the country more smoothly. However, you will still need to provide your passport or other proof of your identity, as well as any other required paperwork you didn’t submit through the app.
How to use ArriveCAN
You should use ArriveCAN within 72 hours of your arrival to Canada. If your plans change, you can use the app again and create a new submission. The old one will be removed automatically.
The first step is to download the official app to your smartphone or tablet. Important: you must make sure that you are using the official app provided by the Canadian government! Third-party apps won’t be accepted, and might be used to scam you. The ArriveCan app is free and will never ask you to submit payment.
If you don’t have access to to a smartphone, you can also enter your information on the website. You’ll need to print out your receipt and bring it with you to the border.
Traveling with family? You can enter information for up to 8 people, including yourself, your spouse / common law partner, your children under 18 years old, and adults for whom you are a legal guardian.
Tip: Use the “saved traveller” feature! Every new trip, you’ll need to enter your information all over again. If you want the app to remember you and reuse travel documents, use this feature to save yourself some time.
Everyone entering Canada has to use ArriveCAN
It’s mandatory for everyone entering Canada to use ArriveCAN. You can enter your information as soon as you arrive in the country, but it’s a good idea to do it before your trip so you know you’ll have enough time and can troubleshoot problems if needed. Just make sure you’re within 72 hours of your arrival.
If you don’t enter your travel information through ArriveCAN, you could either be denied entry or have to face extra screening and a long wait before they let you in. There’s a chance you could even face fines or enforcement action.