Customs and Immigration
In most cases entry into Canada is straightforward for Americans. There are, however, a number of details to keep in mind.
You may be asked to prove your citizenship when you visit Canada, so have acceptable documents with you. A U.S. passport is by far the best proof of citizenship. If you do not have a passport, a U.S. birth certificate or naturalization papers may be accepted. Sometimes, but with far less certainty, other types of identification such as medical cards or a credit card may suffice, if they are accompanied by an official photo identification card such as a driver's licence.
In rare cases immigration officials may prevent the entry of visitors who appear to pose a health risk, those whom they doubt will be able to support themselves and their dependants during their visit, or those whose willingness and means to return to the U.S. or some other country following their stay in Canada they question.
Similarly, to be admissible to Canada, visitors must not have a criminal record. This includes any convictions for driving while intoxicated.
While it is rare for Americans visiting Canada to be challenged on any of these grounds, those with doubts about their admissibility into Canada should contact the Canadian embassy or the nearest consulate and ask to speak to an immigration officer.
Visitors from the U.S. who are not American Citizens
Permanent residents of the United States (anyone who has a Green Card) do not needed to carry a passport or travel documents to enter Canada from the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon.
Temporary residents of the United States (anyone who carries a Temporary Resident Card, Form 1-688, or Employment Authorization Card, 1-688A or 1-688B) must carry a passport and may also require a visa depending on their country of citizenship.
Citizens of Other Countries
Citizens of other countries who wish to enter Canada through the United States must also carry a passport and may require a visa, which they should obtain from a Canadian embassy or consulate outside Canada before attempting to enter the country.