CUSTOMS & IMMIGRATION
All travelers — regardless of age or citizenship — flying between the United States and Canada in either direction are required to present a current, valid passport book.
- Effective April 1, 2022, the Canadian government dropped the requirement for fully-vaccinated travelers to provide a negative COVID test to enter Canada by land, water, or air. Travelers will not need a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated. You must still use ArriveCAN within 72 hours before your arrival to Canada, and you may reference our step-by-step guide for assistance. Please arrive at check-in prepared with the following documents:
- Passport Book
- ArriveCAN QR Code
- Travel visa | eTA (foreign passports)
- New Canadian entry requirement now in effect: visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly or transit through Canada are expected to have Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
- US Passport holders do not need an ETA. US Permanent Resident (green card) holders need an ETA. If you have a travel-visa, you do not need an ETA.
- Kenmore Air is prohibited from accepting documents such as passport cards, NEXUS cards, and enhanced driver’s licenses, even though they are acceptable at some border-crossing locations.
- All travelers flying between the United States and Canada are subject to customs inspection including a search of their persons and baggage.
There are certain crimes that are considered misdemeanors in the United States but are felonies in Canada. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are common examples. If you have been convicted of any crime, you may be denied entry into Canada. Please visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada for more information on inadmissibility.
Canadian Border Services Agency require additional documentation for any minor children entering Canada unless accompanied by both parents or their legal guardian. The Government of Canada provides resources on this topic including a recommended consent letter.
It is each passenger’s responsibility to ensure that he/she is in compliance with all applicable regulations for the country he/she is entering. In the event that you are denied entry into the United States or Canada for any reason, you are liable for the cost of your return flight to the country of origin. Kenmore Air cannot be liable for any expenses or inconveniences arising from denied or delayed entry.
What do I need to cross the US/Canada border?
With a handful of very limited exceptions, ALL travelers — regardless of age or citizenship — flying between the United States and Canada in either direction now require a passport. And “passport” in this context, means a passport booklet, not a so-called “passport card” or “enhanced driver’s license”; these documents are not valid for air travel.
Washington and some other states are issuing “enhanced driver’s license.” Isn’t that as good as a passport?
No, not for airline passengers. Air travelers are being held to a higher standard than those using any other mode of transportation. Enhanced driver’s licenses will meet identification and citizenship requirements at land and sea border crossing but will not be acceptable for air travel.
What about a Nexus Card?
Although NEXUS cards are acceptable in lieu of a passport at some international airports, none of the ports of entry used by Kenmore Air is equipped to accept NEXUS cards.
Your Customer Service Agent sure asked a lot of questions. What’s up with that?
Along with all airlines operating cross-border flights, Kenmore Air is subject to a set of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations known collectively as the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). APIS requires that prior to boarding any international flight, Kenmore Air transmit to CBP and receive a positive vetting response from CBP for the identity and citizenship information of every passenger and crew member aboard the flight. This information consists of full legal name (including middle name) as it appears on your passport, date of birth, citizenship, country of residence, passport number and expiration date, and passport country of issue. In addition, for non-U.S. citizens entering the United States, additional information on “person status” is required — specifically, where the passengers are staying in the United States or connecting flight information if they are in transit to another country through the United States.
The need for Kenmore Air to get CBP’s OK on all transmitted passenger information before boarding international flights and the potential for flight delay if any of the transmitted information is missing or inaccurate are the reasons for Kenmore Air’s 45-minute check-in requirement for international flights. This time is required to enable CBP to respond to any last-minute changes to our flight manifests, such as no-show passengers. Without extending our check-in time, we would have inadequate time to meet CBP’s reporting and vetting requirements, with the potential that flight departures could be significantly delayed. We apologize for the inconvenience.
What if I’m a US citizen stuck in Canada without a passport and need to get home urgently?
Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to current passport requirements for emergencies. You simply cannot fly into the United States without a passport. You will need to contact the nearest US consulate for assistance.
I’m not a US or Canadian citizen. Do I need a visa as well as a passport?
A passport will be required unless you’re traveling under very special circumstances. Visa requirements are sometimes complicated and are beyond the scope of what Kenmore Air can offer concrete advice on. Each passenger is responsible for determining the immigration requirements applicable to their situation and for taking the necessary steps to meet those requirements. Contact the nearest US or Canadian consular facility in your home country for more details. Please review ETA & EsTA requirements as well.
- Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization – passports are required to obtain an ETA
- US Electronic System for Travel Authorization
The US Department of State’s Visa Waiver Program permits visa-less entry into the United States for citizens of 36 countries, subject to certain requirements. The most important of these is that citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries apply for and receive authorization to enter the United States through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA.
What is ESTA?
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is the system by which citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can lawfully enter the United States without a visa. Application for entry through ESTA is easy and free of charge. It can be completed as long as two years or as soon as a couple hours prior to travel, through it is recommended to apply at least 72 hours prior to travel. ESTA is not required of or available to US or Canadian citizens, citizens of countries that are not in the Visa Waiver Program, or citizens of any country who are traveling on a visa. For complete ESTA details, click here.
What is eTA?
New entry requirement now in effect: visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. For complete eTA details, click here.
What about the kids?
Children, regardless of age, are subject to the same passport requirement as adults.
Canadian Customs & Border Services requires additional documentation for any minor children entering Canada without both parents or legal guardians. The purpose of this documentation is to insure the safety of children and to enable Canadian authorities to contact absent parents or guardians regarding their children should such a need arise. Such children must carry a letter of permission from the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) not traveling with them. This letter should specify the dates, the itinerary and the accompanying parent or guardian for which and with which the child has permission to travel, as well as contact phone numbers for the absent parent(s) or guardian(s). Additionally, divorced parents with shared custody rights should carry legal documents establishing their status. If you and your spouse or partner are both traveling with your children, you will not need additional documentation to enter Canada. However, you are nevertheless encouraged to carry a letter of permission with you in case your travel plans change.
Past legal troubles?
There are certain crimes that are considered misdemeanors in the United States but felonies in Canada. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is one example. If you have been convicted of any of such crimes, you can be denied entry into Canada. More detailed information on the Canadian “criminal inadmissibility” law, as well as procedures for overcoming past convictions, can be found here.
What about pets?
Also, please be aware that if your pets weigh 25 pounds (11kg) or more, you will need to buy dedicated seats for them at the time you book your own flight. Depending on destination, these seats may have a reduced Pet Space fare or may be billed at standard adult fare.
How about firearms?
Like pets, guns can be carried across the border, with restrictions. Regulations for bringing firearms into the United States can be found here.
Additionally, regardless of which border you are crossing, Kenmore Air requires all passengers carrying firearms to complete a Firearms Declaration prior to tendering baggage or boarding an aircraft. Kenmore Air reserves the right to inspect firearms prior to boarding to insure that they are safely configured for flight. If you intend to travel on Kenmore Air with a firearm, please discuss this with a customer service agent at the time you make your booking to insure that you are informed of all applicable policies and procedures.
What if I am denied entry?
This FAQ is designed to address the most common questions regarding international travel between the United States and Canada. Ultimately, however, it is each passenger’s responsibility to insure that he or she is in compliance with all applicable regulations for the country he or she is entering. In the event that you are denied entry into the United States or Canada for any reason, you are liable for the cost of your return flight to the country of origin. Kenmore Air cannot be liable for any expenses or inconveniences arising from denied or delayed entry.
How do I get a passport?
US passports are issued by the Department of State. First-time passport applications must be made in person at a designated “passport acceptance facility” — often a post office, Federal or state court, or government office. Most passport renewals do not require in-person application but can be processed by mail. Complete instructions for obtaining a first-time passport or renewing an existing one can be found online.
Standard turnaround time on a typical passport application is six weeks. For an additional expedited service fee, this period can be reduced to two weeks. If a passport is needed urgently for specifically planned travel less than two weeks in the future, an applicant can make an appointment to visit a Passport Agency, where passports can be issued as quickly as same-day. There is a further fee associated with this service, and applicants can visit a Passport Agency by appointment only. A list of the 15 national Passport Agencies with addresses and contact info can be found here. Appointments to any of these Passport Agencies can be made by calling toll-free 877.487.2778. The Seattle Passport Agency, the only one in the Northwest, is located in the Henry Jackson Federal Building, 915 Second Avenue, Suite 992, in downtown Seattle. Its hours are 8:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Monday–Friday.
Various companies offer expedited passport application services for a fee. According to the Department of State, such companies cannot actually deliver a passport to you any quicker than the various expedited services offered by the government itself. Kenmore Air thus does not recommend the use of a commercial passport expediter.
Information on obtaining a Canadian passport can be found on the website here.