If you are traveling to North America for a vacation or a business trip, some preparations are needed. In this article, we describe what you should be aware of in any case.
Apply for a digital travel authorization
To enter Canada, you must have a valid passport at least one day after leaving Canada. Therefore, first check whether your passport is still valid long enough. You also need an eTA or visa to enter Canada. Most travelers can travel to Canada on an eTA and do not need to apply for a visa. If you have a passport issued by one of the visa exempt countries, you can apply for an i AVE Canada request. Most European countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium, are exempt from the visa requirement. The eTA is valid for five years.
Keep in mind that with an eTA you can stay in Canada for a maximum of six consecutive months and you cannot work for a Canadian employer. If you plan to stay or work in Canada for more than six months, you will need a visa or work permit.
Similar rules apply for travel to the United States. Most European travelers can Apply for ESTA. However, ESTA is only valid for two years for America and the maximum stay is 90 days. If you are traveling to both the United States and Canada, both visits count for maximum validity. This also applies to a stay in Mexico or the Caribbean Islands.
Pay in North America
The Canadian dollar is used in Canada and the US dollar is used in the United States. It is not necessary to exchange money before departure. Currency exchange offices often use unfavorable exchange rates and you will have to pay a commission. It is usually easier to withdraw dollars at an ATM on arrival. This can usually be done at the airport. It may be helpful to bring a credit card in addition to your debit card, as many payments in North America are made by credit card. However, it can be more expensive to pay with a credit card than with a regular debit card, as credit card companies often charge high transaction fees.
Please note: most Dutch banks have blocked the use of bank cards outside of Europe for security reasons. Therefore, before departure, check if you can withdraw money with your bank card in Canada and the United States or if you must first activate this option with your bank.
Documents to bring on a trip
In any case, bring the following documents with you during your trip: your passport, your plane tickets, your travel insurance documents, your bank card and possibly credit card and an international driving license if you plan to rent a car. It is also advisable to bring a copy of your passport, in case your passport is lost or stolen.
Confirmation of the approval of your ESTA or AVE does not have to be taken with you on your trip. These are automatically linked electronically to your passport. It works as follows: the travel authorization is stored digitally in the database of the Canadian or American immigration service. Airlines have access to this database and can see from your passport number that you have received a valid travel authorization. The assignment confirmation therefore does not need to be printed. All you need to do is have your passport scanned at the airport. Since the ETA and ESTA are linked to your passport details, it is essential that all passport details are entered correctly in the application form. If you made a typo in the passport information or entered incorrect information, the airline will not see that you have a valid travel authorization and you will not be allowed to check in for the flight. In this case, you will have to apply for an eTA or an ESTA again. We therefore recommend that you complete the application form accurately.
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