What happens when you arrive in Canada

When you arrive, we will check your identity to make sure that you are the same person who was approved to travel to Canada.  

How this is done will depend on where you enter Canada.

  • At 10 major Canadian airports
    • your fingerprints will be checked automatically at a primary inspection kiosk
    • the system will check your identity against the information collected when your application was submitted
  • At smaller airports and all land ports of entry
    • your fingerprints may be checked if we refer you to a secondary inspection, where a border services officer will use a fingerprint verification device to check your fingerprints

Entry to Canada

Visitors, student and workers

You must pass the identity check and meet the entry requirements to enter Canada.

If you see a border services officer, the officer may:

  • stamp your passport
  • let you know how long you can stay in Canada
    • You’re allowed to stay in Canada for up to 6 months.
  • limit or extend your time in Canada to cover the planned purpose of your visit

If your passport wasn’t stamped, or if you used a primary inspection kiosk, you can only stay in Canada:

  • for up to 6 months from the day you first entered the country
  • until your passport expires, whichever comes first

If you need a stamp, you can ask a border services officer for one. If you arrive at an airport that uses primary inspection kiosks, ask the border services officer after you finish at the kiosk.

Permanent residents

If you applied for permanent residence outside of Canada and you arrive in Canada for the first time, see the entry requirements for your program to find out more about the process:

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