Canada Border Services Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

CANPASS – Air


Travellers flying into Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto (Pearson International Airport and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport), Vancouver and Winnipeg international airports can clear the border in the blink of an eye!

CANPASS Air provides a secure and more efficient entry into Canada for low-risk, pre-screened travellers. As a member, you can meet your border clearance obligations by simply looking into a camera that recognizes your irises as proof of identity. You are identified quickly, securely and safely.

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About CANPASS Air

Benefits

As a CANPASS Air member, you will enjoy many benefits:

  • Travellers flying into Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto (Pearson International Airport and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport), Vancouver and Winnipeg international airports can clear the border in the blink of an eye!
  • You can use a self-serve kiosk to clear the border and declare your goods;
  • You can avoid line-ups at the primary inspection line at some of Canada's busiest airports;
  • You can enrol your children under the age of 18 free of charge; and
  • You can improve your overall travel experience.

Eligibility

To be eligible for CANPASS Air, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada or the United States.

Effective November 21, 2012, Canadian and American citizens living outside of Canada or the United States or who have recently returned to either country and have not previously been able to meet the three-year residency requirement are now eligible to apply.

In addition, certain permanent residents are also exempted from the three-year residency requirement. For further information on any of the above, please consult Customs Notices 12-030 and 10-025 to see if these exemptions apply to you.

In addition, you must also meet these criteria:

  • You are admissible to Canada under applicable immigration laws;
  • You have provided true and accurate information on the application;
  • You have not been convicted of a serious criminal offence for which a pardon or rehabilitation has not been granted;
  • You have not had a customs seizure within the past five years; and
  • You are not in violation of any customs or immigration legislation.

Important notice

  • Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents who have a criminal record and who wish to apply to the CANPASS programs can look into obtaining a pardon from the Government of Canada's National Parole Board.
  • U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents who are inadmissible to Canada because of a criminal record can look into Citizenship and Immigration Canada's Rehabilitation Program as a possible way to seek admissibility into Canada and to be subsequently considered for the CANPASS programs.

It is important for U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents to be aware that alcohol-related driving offences such as driving while intoxicated, driving while ability-impaired and driving under the influence of alcohol are criminal offences in Canada.

About biometric technology

Iris recognition biometric technology identifies the unique patterns of the irises; these patterns do not change. The iris recognition technology reads 266 different characteristics compared to fingerprint technology that reads approximately 90.

Iris recognition begins with taking black and white digital photographs of each iris. The iris pattern is processed and encoded into a record that is stored in a secure CBSA database. When CANPASS Air members use the self-serve kiosk at the airport, a camera photographs both their irises and this digital photograph is compared with the one on file. Neither glasses nor contact lenses need to be removed. The identification time averages about two seconds. CANPASS Air systems use ordinary digital cameras without bright lights or lasers.

Through research and consultation, it was determined that iris recognition technology is the best option to fulfil all the requirements of the CANPASS Air program. Compared to other biometric technologies available, including fingerprint identification and facial and voice recognition, iris recognition technology is considered to be highly secure, non-invasive and the safest, fastest and most accurate identification technology in the world.

How is CANPASS Air different from NEXUS in the air mode?

CANPASS Air is a CBSA program. Members can clear the border faster when arriving in Canada by air from any country in the world.

NEXUS is a binational program implemented by both the CBSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection that offers expedited border clearance in the air, land and marine modes of travel. Members can clear the border faster when travelling between Canada and the United States, or arriving in Canada from any other country in the world.  In addition, when travelling by air, NEXUS members enjoy expedited security clearance at participating airports in Canada and the United States (PDF, 144 KB). If you have a NEXUS membership, you already have all the CANPASS Air program benefits and much more.  

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Using CANPASS Air

How CANPASS Air works

When entering Canada at designated airports, CANPASS Air members use the self-serve kiosk located in the Canadian inspection services area. The kiosk is equipped with a digital iris recognition camera. To confirm a member's identity and program membership, this camera photographs both irises of the member and then this digital photograph is compared with the one on file. Only the irises are needed to identify a CANPASS Air member at the kiosk. Although members do not need to present their membership card at the kiosk, they must carry the card with them.

To be eligible to use the self-serve kiosk as a CANPASS Air member:

  • You must have a valid and active CANPASS Air membership card;
  • You must be able to present an unobstructed iris for recognition; and
  • You must not have completed a successful passage within the previous hour.

When you arrive at the kiosk, you will see a "Welcome to Canada" screen displaying a choice of languages. Choose your preferred language of choice and follow the prompts on the screen. The instructions will direct you to look into the digital camera. Within seconds, a biometric match of your irises is determined and the screen will prompt you to complete the CBSA declaration questions.

You may also pay any duties and taxes owing using a Traveller Declaration Card (TDC) at this self-service kiosk. You will be issued a receipt, which you will give to the border services officer along with your completed CBSA Declaration Card (Form E311) when you leave the inspection services area.

If the kiosk is out of service, you can still use your CANPASS Air membership. You can report to the special services counter in the Canadian inspection services area and present your CANPASS Air membership card and your completed Form E311. If you do not have your membership card, you must report to a border services officer at the regular primary inspection line.

If a member violates any CANPASS Air program requirements, border services officers will take appropriate enforcement action, which may include suspending or cancelling membership privileges.

Where it's available

CANPASS Air is available at nine international airports across Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Vancouver and Winnipeg.

CANPASS Air enrolment centres are listed below.

City Enrolment Centre Hours of Service
Calgary

Calgary International Airport
Main Terminal
Across from U.S. Departures
2nd Floor departure level
2000 Airport Road North East
Calgary, Alberta
T2E 6W5

Tel.: 403-292-5421

Monday to Friday:
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Edmonton

Edmonton International Airport
Departure level, South Terminal
P.O. Box 9866
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 2T2

Tel.: 780-890-4857

Monday to Friday:
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Halifax

Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International Airport
International arrivals area
(1st floor)
1 Bell Boulevard
Enfield, Nova Scotia
B2T 1K2

Tel.: 902-873-7637

Monday to Saturday:
8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Montréal

Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
International arrival area, Room T1470
Montréal, Québec
H4Y 1H1

Tel.: 514-420-5151
Seven days a week:
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ottawa

Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport
Level 2 (south), Suite 2641
Ottawa, Ontario
K1V 9B4

Tel.: 613-949-3472

Monday to Friday:
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Toronto

Pearson International Airport
Departure Level
Post H
Mississauga, Ontario
L5P 1A2

Tel.: 905-676-3477

Monday to Friday:
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday:
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Vancouver

Vancouver International Airport
International Terminal
Level 3, U.S. departures area
Richmond, British Columbia
V7B 1K6

Tel.: 604-666-4598

Seven days a week:
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Winnipeg

Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
Domestic/International arrival area
Room 1074
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3H-0E3

Tel.: 204-983-4354

Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Declaring goods

The CBSA Declaration Card (Form E311) and the Traveller Declaration Card (TDC) are two separate documents.

Anyone entering Canada in the air mode, including CANPASS Air members, must complete Form E311 to make a declaration. The form is normally provided by airline staff on board the plane. All travellers must also report all imports and exports of currency or other monetary instruments equal to or greater than CAN$10,000.

The TDC is an option for returning Canadian resident members of CBSA traveller pre-approval programs, like CANPASS Air, who have goods to declare that exceed their personal exemptions. At the self-serve kiosk, members will be prompted to deposit the TDC in the dedicated box. Any duties and taxes owing will be charged to the member's pre-authorized credit card already on file. Members can also choose to proceed to the cashier to pay any duties and taxes owing.
 
TDCs are only issued to and used by residents of Canada. U.S. residents entering Canada who have personal goods to declare in excess of their personal entitlements may still use the self-serve kiosk; however, messaging on the screen will direct them to the cashier to pay any duties and taxes owing.

The following methods can be used to pay the duties and taxes owing:

  • cash
  • certified cheque
  • credit card
  • debit card (where available)

Canadian and U.S. residents who are importing commercial, controlled or restricted goods must report to a border services officer in the regular manner. The self-serve kiosk cannot be used to import these items.

Privacy

Once an applicant has completed and signed the CANPASS application form, the CBSA is authorized to collect personal information such as name, date of birth, address, citizenship, proof of citizenship and residency information.

The information will be used for background security checks and is not shared with a third party. All information is stored in a secure central database, which in turn is protected by various methods, including firewalls. Access to client information by employees is also controlled and monitored.

All personal information provided is protected under the federal Privacy Act.

Security measures

Participation in CANPASS Air is restricted to pre-approved travellers. Applicants undergo a detailed security clearance check and an interview with a CBSA officer before being enrolled. Every time CANPASS Air members enter Canada, their membership information is verified against customs and immigration databases to ensure their compliance with the program's regulations.

Join CANPASS Air

Cost

The non-refundable processing fee is CAN$50 for each applicant 18 years old and older. This fee is waived for those under the age of 18. You can pay using Visa, MasterCard or American Express. You can also send a certified cheque or money order in Canadian funds payable to the Receiver General for Canada. Do not send cash.

Application process

Your participation in this program is strictly voluntary. The information that you provide will be used to determine your eligibility. If you are accepted into the program, your membership will be valid for one year.

If you are under the age of 18, written consent from a parent or legal guardian is also required.

How to apply

  1. Complete and sign the CANPASS application form: Form E672.
  2. Send the following to a Canadian processing centre:
  3. If you are accepted, your application will be processed in approximately four to six weeks.
  4. Applications that are incomplete or do not include all the necessary documents and the non-refundable processing fee will not be processed. The CBSA will send a letter asking you to submit the missing information.
  5. You will be required to attend an interview with a CBSA officer.

Canadian processing centres

All provinces and territories West of the Manitoba-Ontario border
28 176th Street
Surrey BC  V3Z 9R9
Telephone: 1-866-496-3987 (toll-free)

Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada
400 Place d'Youville
Montréal QC H2Y 2C2
Telephone: 1-866-399-5887 (toll-free)

Proof of citizenship or permanent resident status

Applicants must provide acceptable proof of citizenship or permanent resident status in Canada or the United States. Please send photocopies of the documents with the completed application form. These photocopies will not be returned.

If you are a Canadian or U.S. citizen, please provide one of the following:

  • birth certificate and photo identification;
  • valid passport;
  • citizenship certificate or card;
  • certificate of naturalization;
  • certificate of retention of Canadian citizenship;
  • certificate of Indian status in Canada; or
  • certificate of registration of birth abroad.

If you are a permanent resident of Canada or the United States, please provide one of the following:

  • Canada
    • valid Canadian permanent resident card; or
    • record of landing – IMM 1000, also known as a Confirmation of Permanent Residence – IMM 5292.
  • United States
    • valid U.S. permanent resident card

Renewing your membership

A CANPASS Air membership is valid for one year. Members must renew their membership every year by submitting a renewal application and the non-refundable processing fee of CAN$50. A security check will be a part of each renewal application.

Every five years, CANPASS Air members must also go to an enrolment centre for a renewal interview and to receive a new membership card. The CBSA will notify members in writing when it is time to schedule an interview. A security check will be a part of each renewal application.

To ensure uninterrupted passage privileges, CANPASS Air members should submit their renewal application about three months before their membership expires.


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