Home NORTH AMERICA Can US Permanent Residents Travel to Canada by Car? You Need to Know

Can US Permanent Residents Travel to Canada by Car? You Need to Know

by Holly

As neighbors with shared borders, Canada and the United States have strong ties in various aspects, including tourism and trade. Many US permanent residents often wonder about the rules and regulations concerning travel to Canada by car. In this article, we will explore the requirements, restrictions, and essential considerations for US permanent residents planning to cross the Canadian border by car.

Entry Rules for US Permanent Residents

US permanent residents, often referred to as green card holders, enjoy many privileges and rights, but international travel comes with its own set of rules. To travel to Canada by car, a US permanent resident must have a valid green card and meet certain entry requirements set by the Canadian government.

1. Passport Requirements

While US citizens can enter Canada with just a valid passport, green card holders need an additional Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to visit Canada by air. However, when traveling by car, an eTA is not required. Instead, US permanent residents must present their valid green card and passport at the Canadian border.

2. COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Given the ongoing global pandemic, it’s crucial for travelers to stay informed about the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions. These restrictions can change rapidly, affecting travel plans. Before planning a trip to Canada, US permanent residents must check the official Canadian government websites for the latest updates on travel requirements and quarantine guidelines.

3. Border Crossing Points

Canada and the US share numerous border crossing points, making road travel accessible and convenient for both citizens and permanent residents. Some popular border crossings include those between Detroit and Windsor, Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and Seattle and Vancouver. It’s essential to choose the most suitable crossing point based on the destination and the intended travel route.

4. Documents Required for Entry

To ensure a smooth border crossing experience, US permanent residents must carry the following documents:

Valid Green Card: This serves as proof of permanent residency in the United States.

Valid Passport: A passport from the traveler’s country of citizenship is necessary for international travel.

Supporting Documents: It’s advisable to carry additional documents such as proof of employment, accommodation details, and travel itinerary to demonstrate the purpose and duration of the visit.

Length of Stay

By land travel, US permanent residents can stay in Canada for up to 180 days per visit, allowing ample time for tourism, family visits, or business purposes. However, it’s crucial to adhere to the authorized stay duration and avoid overstaying, as it may lead to future travel restrictions or difficulties.

Driving and Vehicle Regulations

Traveling by car offers the freedom to explore Canada’s vast and scenic landscapes. However, it’s essential to familiarize oneself with Canadian driving laws and regulations. The United States and Canada have different speed limits, road signs, and driving practices. It is advisable to carry an international driver’s license along with the valid US driver’s license while driving in Canada.

Travel Insurance

While US permanent residents have access to the Canadian healthcare system, it may not cover all medical services. Travelers are advised to purchase comprehensive travel insurance that includes medical coverage, trip cancellation, and other necessary protections during their stay in Canada.

Prohibited Items and Import Restrictions

Canada has strict regulations regarding the import of certain items, including firearms, tobacco, alcohol, and certain food products. US permanent residents must be aware of these restrictions and ensure they do not carry any prohibited items during their trip.

Criminal Convictions and Inadmissibility

Having a criminal record, even if you are a US permanent resident, can make you inadmissible to Canada. It’s essential to understand Canadian immigration laws regarding criminal convictions and seek appropriate legal advice if needed before planning your trip.


Traveling to Canada by car as a US permanent resident is a straightforward process, provided all entry requirements are met and necessary precautions are taken. As the border regulations and COVID-19 restrictions may change, it is essential to stay updated with the latest information before embarking on your journey. By adhering to the guidelines, respecting Canadian laws, and embracing the Canadian experience, US permanent residents can enjoy a memorable and hassle-free trip to our northern neighbor.

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