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I'm flying to Japan from Seattle, connecting in Vancouver, BC. I have a USA passport, do I go through customs in Canada?

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The answer can vary depending on what airline you're on, but in general :

  • When you arrive, follow signs to "international connections"
  • You will come to an area where you use a kiosk to scan your passport, and receive a piece of paper from the kiosk.
  • Proceed to the staff who will check your piece of paper and boarding pass, and then allow you into the international departure area.
  • You will not need to collect your bags

This presumes that your flights were both purchased together, and you are able to get your boarding pass from the originating airport. If you are on separate tickets, are not able to get a boarding pass, or need to re-collect your bags for some reason then you WILL need to pass through Canadian immigration.

Even if you are not passing through immigration, the rules around eTA's (Electronic Travel Authorization) are the same as if you were - if you need one to enter Canada, then you need one to transit through Canada as well. However as a US citizen you don't require an eTA at all - but citizens from most other countries do!

  • I flew Seattle-YVR-Sydney last year on a single ticket (all Air Canada) and still had to go through immigration. YMMV. – jpatokal Oct 13 '18 at 2:27
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    @jpatokal YVR's website (yvr.ca/en/passengers/navigate-yvr/passenger-guides) confirms you can go through the "International Transit Facility" as long as you arrive between 7am and 2am. I did this a few months ago when flying SJC-YVR-HKG – Doc Oct 13 '18 at 3:15

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