Are you traveling abroad?
September 01, 2021

We all look forward to getting away with our families whenever we can. It’s a time to recharge and to have quality time with our loved ones. Traveling can be even more exciting when we visit new places and sample other cultures. However, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected. There are several things you can do to give yourself peace of mind before traveling abroad.

The most important thing to have when planning to travel abroad is a valid passport. The Passport Canada website provides detailed information about the passport application process. If you are a Canadian 16 years of age or older, you can apply for your Canadian passport online. Passport information and application forms are also available through either of my constituency offices.

If you have dual citizenship, it may be best to travel with your Canadian passport. Some countries do not recognize dual citizenship and in some instances, your second passport may be confiscated, you may be fined, or you may even be prevented from leaving the country.

If you are a Permanent Resident and thinking of traveling outside Canada you will need a valid Permanent Resident Card to return to Canada. Information on Permanent Resident Cards can be obtained by visiting Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website at www.cic.gc.ca or by contacting either of my constituency offices.

The next thing you should do before traveling abroad is to research the country you intend to visit. I recommend consulting the Country Travel Reports (http://www.voyage.gc.ca/dest/ctry/reportpage-en.asp) prepared by the Department Foreign Affairs and International Trade, to find out about safety and security conditions, health questions and entry requirements for the country or countries you are planning to visit. The Department publishes reports for over 200 destinations around the world. The reports can also tell you if you are required to have a tourist visa for visits of less than three months.

It is also important to take the time to research any required vaccinations. The Public Health Agency of Canada (http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/pub-eng.php) provides information for travelers about international health advisories and recommended vaccinations to receive before you leave Canada. The Agency also provides a list of travel clinics across Canada.

The next step in your traveling preparations should be to obtain health and travel insurance. The Consular Affairs website (www.voyage.gc.ca) provides information about obtaining health insurance for your trip abroad. It also provides information on what to do if you require medical assistance while traveling outside Canada.

You need to take precautions when traveling with children abroad. It is important that you have documentation proving that you have either custody of the child or parental permission to travel with the child. The Consular Affairs website (http://www.voyage.gc.ca/main/before/children_travel-en.asp)
provides information about regulations and conditions that may affect your trip if you travel with a child.

Foreign currency is another important matter to consider when planning to travel abroad. Foreign travel is often more expensive than most people plan for. The Consular Affairs website (http://www.voyage.gc.ca/main/before/checklist-en.asp#12) provides some information about managing your finances abroad. You can also use the Bank of Canada Exchange Rate Calculator (http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/rates/exchform.html) to help you plan for your trip.

You may also want to consider registering with the Government if you are traveling abroad. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade offers a registration service for Canadians who will be living in a foreign country for three months or more, as well as for Canadians who will be visiting areas with potential for problems. It is recommended that you register at the nearest Canadian Government office abroad. You can also register online (http://www.voyage.gc.ca/main/sos/rocapage-en.asp), by mail, or in person.

Lastly, you may want to begin considering the goods you may want to bring back to Canada with you. The Consular Affairs website (http://www.voyage.gc.ca/main/before/checklist-en.asp#13) provides some important information about the types of goods you can bring back to Canada. Make sure you are aware of what items you need to declare upon re-entry to Canada.

In taking the time to prepare for your trip abroad before you leave, you can travel with peace of mind and know that you and your family will be as prepared as possible for the unexpected.