15

I recently sent the CBSA (Canadian border agency) an e-mail asking whether one would get two or just one entry stamp if first entering Canada by air, then going to the US by land for two days and then returning to Canada by land.

To my big surprise, I got the following Reply (from CBSA-ASFC.CONTACT@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca):

As a matter of procedure, passports are not normally stamped

Is this really true (whether at airports or land borders)? I've seen lots of Canadian passport stamps online (which do seem to vary in look depending on the port of entry). Were all of these specifically requested, or what?

If it matters, I'm a visa-free EU national. To clarify, I would not find it negative - quite the opposite, if CBSA's info were to be accurate.

Anyone with recent experience?

  • 8
    Why wouldn't this be true if answered directly from them ? Maybe they are stamped when the person who come in needs a visa ? – Max Oct 6 '16 at 12:50
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    Did you mention your citizenship when you asked ? Canadian and US passport holders indeed do not get their passports stamped – blackbird Oct 6 '16 at 12:51
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    @blackbird Yep, I started by message with "To whom it may concern: I am a citizen of Sweden and am planning to..." – Crazydre Oct 6 '16 at 12:52
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    It all depends what "normally" means. If 80% of passports processed are Canadian or American and do not get stamped, then "normally" may simply apply to that share of not stamped passports. And your case would not be "normal". – Vince Oct 6 '16 at 13:23
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    @phoog I had to explicitly request one when crossing via rainbow bridge (US citizen). Just to add to anecdotes. – Raystafarian Oct 6 '16 at 20:16
17

That's not true, and I suspect they either misunderstood your question (did they think you're a US citizen?) or there's some context we're missing.

Source: I've entered Canada at least a dozen times, using two different nationalities. I've gotten a stamp every single time, including even a direct transit to an international flight via Vancouver.

  • @pnuts for the moment only US and Canadian citizens can use automated passport control, if other nationalities don't get stamped how would anyone keep track of entries and exits ? Canada doesn't do exit immigration so there's no way around an entry stamp – blackbird Oct 6 '16 at 19:45
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    @pnuts The last time I was in Canada was this past Saturday, on the transit in question, and I was stamped! – jpatokal Oct 6 '16 at 19:47
  • @jpatokal I told them in the beginning of the message I was Swedish. – Crazydre Oct 7 '16 at 0:53
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    @blackbird, Your passport gets scanned whether you use a machine or see an officer, so that doesn't make much difference. CBSA does have electronic records of entries, it is possible to obtain them (by sending a request on paper). Canadian PRs applying for extensions or citizenship sometimes do this since CIC has been known to dispute one's self-reported time in the country based on passport stamps, which the CBSA doesn't reliably provide. For visitors only the CBSA is likely interested in when you entered and they already know. – Dennis Oct 7 '16 at 0:58
  • @blackbird that's not true! You missed Canadian PRs, I wrote an answer. – chx Oct 7 '16 at 3:11
10

I've flown several times into Canada and have received a stamp each time.

I've also had to state my business and my job back home each time. UK citizen.

  • Consider removing or updating your answer as it is no longer factual (see my answer below). – JonathanReez Mar 30 '18 at 17:37
  • @JonathanReez Strange. I received a stamp flying into Halifax YHZ in March 2018 – davidb Apr 4 '18 at 10:28
  • @davidb I didn't receive one flying into Halifax in July 2018 – Thomas Zuberbühler Aug 1 '18 at 13:09
8

Things are changing since 2017:

While the official Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website still indicates that officers will stamp entry dates on passports when individuals arrive in Canada, it is our understanding that this practice has stopped at some ports of entry and will stop soon at all ports of entry. As IRCC moves toward electronic tracking of entry and exists into Canada, the practice of manual stamping of passports will eventually be stopped.

I can confirm that flying into Vancouver Airport with a visa or ETA you won't get a passport stamp as of 2018. Likewise from personal experience you don't get a passport stamp when entering Canada by car, bus or rail. So I'm pretty sure the practice has been abolished at all Canadian entry points.

  • So I'm pretty sure the practice has been abolished at all Canadian entry points. Not at all correct. Just because you didn't get stamped amounts to nothing. They still stamp passports at Vancouver airport for visas/ETA. I saw many get stamped, including myself (Nov 2018). So your generalization is incorrect. – DumbCoder Nov 28 '18 at 9:41
7

At the YVR airport you can use a machine if you are either

  • a Canadian resident
  • have a US passport
  • have a Canadian passport

although you need to meet the border guard after, you will never get a stamp, it's pretty much impossible, they are standing there and have nothing to stamp on.

On the other hand, everyone else who meets the normal process does get a stamp. I have seen this with my own eyes standing in the queue more times in the last eight years than I want to admit.

  • 1
    As a Canadian citizen, my passport does not get stamped even when I go straight to the officer (no machine). – Martin Argerami Oct 7 '16 at 9:35
  • It's not the border guard you meet after it's customs, they have no reason to stamp your passport – blackbird Oct 7 '16 at 13:09
  • Are you sure? These guys check my passport. The customs declaration card is collected after you collect your baggage. Also, I once claimed I have stuff I mailed and they redirected me to the window. it doesn't seem like customs to me but what do I know. – chx Oct 7 '16 at 15:17
  • @blackbird, The ABC machines don't verify biometrics so you still see a person to match you to your travel document. US APC machines work the same way. At YYZ the people serving that queue are not at a desk and don't have a stamp. – Dennis Oct 8 '16 at 11:57
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    @Crazydre: do you have a source for "most"? I'm a citizen of two, one stamps, the other one doesn't. – Martin Argerami Oct 11 '16 at 14:43
6

I recently drove into Canada and I got a stamp in my passport (UK). Obviously it doesn't mean they always put a stamp :).

4

Driving or ferrying into BC from various crossings in Washington State I have never received a stamp. Driving into Yukon from Alaska I have received a stamp each time. Using a US Passport.

  • 1
    Clearly Americans can cross land borders without ever getting stamped since they can use documents (NEXUS, passport card, EDL, birth certificate) that can't be stamped. It is hence unusual for them to bother with a stamp when the document happens to be a passport. I wonder whether the reliable stamps at the Yukon border are saying something about the reliability of the electronic record collection there, or are just a symptom of CBSA border officers not having enough work to do. – Dennis Oct 7 '16 at 13:12
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    @Dennis my impression was the latter. They always seem happy to see someone. :-) – Rob Oct 8 '16 at 0:52
  • @Crazydre one third of former Yugoslav countries are in the EU. I guess you meant meant to limit your comment to the other four. I've also found that stamping (and document inspection) practice varies considerably depending on whether one is crossing a land border or entering at an airport. – phoog Aug 9 '17 at 18:08
4

Apparently this is the case. I entered Canada at YVR two weeks ago and my (US) passport was not stamped. Previously when I entered at YUL in 2012 and 2013 it was stamped. Whether this is a recent policy change or just the Quebecois like to stamp things, I do not know.

  • 2012 predates the automated passport control at YUL, everyone but Canadian citizens likely got their passports stamped. Did you use a kiosk at YVR ? – blackbird Oct 7 '16 at 13:09
2

i recently went to Canada on may of 2018. am from the Caribbean so i have a Canadian visa. upon arrival and on our departure we never got our passports stamped.

  • Ditto coming from Amsterdam into Montreal. Nobody even looked at my passport, machines all the way, no stamp. Customs official just asked if I'd anything to declare, then wished me a pleasant stay. – jwenting Jun 25 '18 at 5:00
  • @jwenting WHat's your citizenshsip? Given that you used a kiosk? Also, did no one actually check the receipt the kiosk (presumably) spat out? – Crazydre Jun 25 '18 at 8:12
  • @Coke I'm Dutch. The receipt was collected by a disinterested guy at the entrance to the luggage hall, the customs guy just asked me if I'd filled it out truthfully but didn't have it (or indeed any such receipts), didn't ask my passport, didn't ask my name. – jwenting Jun 25 '18 at 8:18
  • @jwenting So everyone's eligible for the kiosk now? Or did you get any info on that? – Crazydre Jun 25 '18 at 22:36
  • @Coke EU, Canadian, and US people were directed one way, others another way. So I guess it depends on your nationality, ETA status, and maybe other things. – jwenting Jun 26 '18 at 4:39

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