How to prepare your travel papers and leave with peace of mind

Planning to leave Canada for work, rest or play? Then you'll need to prepare all your travel papers so you can leave with peace of mind. Here's some advice to help.

Getting stuck at a border because your paperwork is incomplete or missing altogether will quickly turn your dream trip into a nightmare. To find out which documents might be required and how to obtain them, make your enquiries well in advance. Leaving it until the eve of your departure will just guarantee stress. Here are a few tips to help your preparations.

Passport

  • As you no doubt already know, you will need a passport in order to cross into another country, including the United States. You’ll also need your passport to get back into Canada. For most people it’s now possible to get a Canadian passport that is valid for 10 years, which is very useful and economical.

Travel visas

  • Did you know that several countries require visitors to have an entry visa in order to be granted access, especially if it’s for a lengthy stay? When it’s time to prepare your travel documents, make sure you’re informed about your destination’s requirements.

Travel insurance

  • No matter which countries you’ll be visiting during your trip, it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a hefty bill to pay if you have an accident or become ill.

Proof of vaccination

  • Certain countries require that you be vaccinated, particularly against yellow fever. If this is true of the country you’ll be visiting, be ready to prove you’ve been vaccinated with an international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis.

For parents

  • Children travelling abroad without both their parents should carry a dated, notarized letter from the absent parent. It should indicate their consent for the child to leave the country with the other parent or guardian.

For frequent travellers

  • Do you travel to the United States on a regular basis? The NEXUS card can enhance your travel experience by saving you precious time at the border. And the CANPASS Air program allows certain passengers the use of automated kiosks to get through customs and immigration quickly if they’re flying on a commercial airline. Of course, these programs are intended for low-risk, pre-authorized passengers.

For permanent residents

  • Haven’t obtained your Canadian citizenship yet? When you begin to prepare your travel documents, don’t forget to include your permanent resident card. The card will be required for your re-entry into Canada.

For driving abroad

  • If you’re planning to rent a car during your trip, don’t forget to acquire an international driving permit from the Canadian Automobile Association.

Where to get all these travel documents

In most cases, it’s not as complicated as it all sounds.

  • Go to a Passport Canada office to obtain a passport. You can also obtain application forms at any Canada Post outlet or download them via the government's Passport Canada website.
  • Call foreign government offices in Canada about obtaining travel or entry visas.
  • Call a travel agency, insurance broker or your employer’s insurance company about travel insurance.
  • Contact the Canadian Automobile Association to secure an international driving permit.

All that’s left to do now is enjoy your trip!

How to prepare your travel papers and leave with peace of mind
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