My friends and I (all from Germany) are thinking about going to Canada (specifically Toronto) for a day during our stay in the U.S. next year. (we have a flight to and from the U.S.)

Do we need something else besides our passports to cross the border in each direction by land? From what I found we should be able to travel to Canada with just our passports but I think for the way back we need some kind of form?

Thanks in advance for your help.

3 Answers 3


I think for the way back we need some kind of form?

Yes, ESTA or some other paperwork allowing you entry to the US:

Effective October 1, 2022, all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers intending to enter the United States by land will be required to obtain an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to application for admission at land border ports of entry. CBP encourages travelers to apply for a travel authorization at least 72 hours in advance of their anticipated arrival at a U.S. land port of entry.

You'll likely already have it since you came to Canada from the US.

  • 1
    For a day-trip excursion into canada, the reentry will most probably be on the same i94. I don't think esta is necessary since no new entry is granted, and they assumingly had it on the original arrival
    – littleadv
    Sep 3, 2023 at 22:50
  • We have an ESTA of course to be able to enter the U.S. via air travel. I also checked the official page for the eTA and it seems Germany amongst some other countries is exempt from the need to obtain an eTA when entering by land. So my main question really is do I need to fill out this i94-Form for reentry into the U.S.
    – s137
    Sep 5, 2023 at 8:29

My wife and I did the trip the other way round in May this year, we are from Europe. We had our passports and ESTA (USA) and ETA (Canada). We flew to and from Canada and visited Buffalo in the USA by car.

Entry procedures and traffic into the USA took maybe 30-45mins (at Niagra Falls) and we had to go inside the building to talk to the CBP officer. The other direction it was about 10min and we didn't need to get out of the car.

  • "The other direction it was about 10min and we didn't need to get out of the car." took me over 1 hour one my side to enter Canada via the Douglas Border Crossing because the officer sent me to secondary (the officer thought I was going to work in Canada because I had two monitors in my car's backseat). Sep 4, 2023 at 16:28
  • 1
    Well i guess it's kinda useless info, because it really depends on the time, date and which border crossing you use. Just wanted to emphasize that it is different than borders in europe, where you usually don't get stopped or at max it's a 10sec conversion. Even if they pull you over you are done in less than 5mins.
    – kirbby
    Sep 4, 2023 at 17:45

Nothing but your passport. And whatever you need in Toronto. Bring copies of your itinerary for just in case, just with any border crossing.

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