Identification Documents at the First Point of Arrival in Canada

When you initially enter Canada to take up posting as a foreign representative, you must carry proper identification for yourself and any family member and domestic worker travelling with you, to assist in confirming your legal right or authorization to enter Canada. At the point of entry, whether land, air or marine, an officer of the Canada Border Services Agency (i.e. customs officer) may ask to see your passport and a valid visa (if you are arriving from a country from which one is required).

While a number of countries are visa-exempt, it is useful to obtain a diplomatic or official visa prior to arriving in Canada. Such visas are considered as a reliable indication to customs and immigration officers that the holder may be entitled to diplomatic, consular or official privileges and immunities. The possession of an appropriate visa, not the holding of a diplomatic, official, or special passport, is one of the best ways of ensuring the right processing on arrival in Canada and thereby avoiding unpleasant incidents.

Arriving at a Canadian Airport and Inspection Points

When you arrive in the Canada Customs area of a Canadian airport, you are entitled to use the diplomatic customs point or line. In addition to the obligation to have the above mentioned travel documents (passport + visa), you are required to submit the completed Customs Declaration Card (E311), which you were given during the flight. It has long been the view of the Government of Canada that persons enjoying immunity are not entitled to an exemption from the submission of the E311 Card.

Learn more about the formalities for arriving passengers at major Canadian airports:

The Canada Border Services Agency uses dogs in Canadian airports to detect the presence of prohibited or regulated substances, by sniffing travellers' luggage. The Detector Dog Service (DDS) helps protect Canada's health and safety through the detection of narcotics, firearms and illegal currency. In addition, the DDS prevents the spread of harmful pests and diseases through the detection of illegal plants, fruits, meat and animals.

Post-Arrival Formalities: the Accreditation Process

All foreign representatives, once effectively in Canada, are entitled to receive a multiple-entry Acceptance and an Identity Card. Both of these documents are issued by the Office of Protocol of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in accordance with the Guidelines on Accreditation.