Entry and other to dos Canada and USA

Einreise to dos nach Kanada und die USA mit Hund; Illustration mit Notizbuch, Reisepass und Kamera

Entry to do's for Canada and the USA with dog and children

If you are planning a longer trip to Canada and/or the USA for yourself, with children and a dog, then the to-do list becomes longer and more confusing; sometimes you also have to meet deadlines in order to ultimately have all the documents ready on time. But we have already predicted: nothing is unfeasible and with this list we are giving you a checklist point by point (apart from the current Corona situation, you always have to keep up to date with the latest information on the website of the Foreign Office). We assume that we will enter by plane, because there are differences whether you arrive in Canada or the USA by plane or ship.


In Canada you can travel around the country for 180 days as a tourist and you don't need a visa. Before you start your journey, you must apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) online (cost: approx. 5 euros).

In Canada, a passport or children's passport without a chip is sufficient for adults and children of all ages. The ID card is not enough. When applying for your passport you should allow 6 weeks.

To enter Canada, the dog must be older than 3 months and a certificate of vaccinations against rabies must be presented to customs. The vaccination must not be older than 1 year, but must have occurred at least 30 days ago. Another note: the dog should be registered with you here in Germany so that it is really your dog.


As uncomplicated and short as the length of stay for Canada can be described, the length of stay for the USA is more hypothetical. In principle, no one is granted a certain length of stay in advance, but - as it is officially said - it is only decided upon entry by the US border official how long you can stay. As a rule, you can get around the fact that you can always travel the country as a tourist for 90 days and with the B2 tourist visa you can extend these 90 days by another 90 days.

If you fly directly to the USA by plane, you will need an electronic travel authorization, ESTA for short (cost: approx. 14 dollars). This must be filled out online and you should have applied for it at least 72 hours before entry. If you enter Canada by car overland, you do not need to apply for an ESTA; you will negotiate the length of stay directly with the US border officer at the local border.

You can also go to the American consulate here in Germany to apply for the B2 tourist visa (consulates in Germany are in Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin). For this you will need your electronic passport and the standard form DS-160. This includes personal data, as well as travel habits, contact options in your home country and more. You will also need proof of payment of the visa fee, which consists of consulate costs and service fees. You must also provide proof of the financial resources you need to travel to the USA. However, the most important prerequisite for entering the USA with a B2 tourist visa is a strong connection to the home country or the provision of proof of the planned return journey. This usually takes the form of a plane ticket.

To enter the USA, adults and children of all ages need an electronic passport, i.e. a passport with a chip. The normal passport or children's passport is not sufficient here. Here too, you should expect around 6 weeks to apply. It is also possible to enter with a passport, but this is only possible in conjunction with a visa and not just with the ESTA.


International driving licence:
Since it doesn't cost much (15 - 20 euros) and is issued immediately (if everything you need is available, otherwise it takes about 4 weeks) from the local driving license office, we will take it with us because then you have it with you. It is also important that the international driving license is only valid in conjunction with the national driving license, so you must take both driving licenses with you.
The following documents are usually required for the application:

  • Driver's license in credit card format
  • Valid passport or valid ID card
  • Biometric photo

Credit card: 
It's becoming increasingly rare to avoid a credit card, even when traveling in Europe, credit cards make sense, because when paying or withdrawing with a debit card, the costs are usually not known in advance, because the third-party credit institutions charge the prices and percentages. With a credit card you always know the conditions for cash withdrawals or paying in stores, restaurants, etc. You can either order the credit card directly from your bank or from another bank, the conditions are often better here, e.g. Barclay VISA card or comdirekt Bank . Paypal also offers a credit card as a business card. Here you have to decide for yourself what is important to you and how it should work, but what is crucial is that it is widespread in Canada and the USA to pay everywhere and for any amount with a credit card .

In general, it is also advisable to make copies of all documents, passports, insurance, flight tickets, etc.

Another important point for a long period of time abroad is the topic of foreign health insurance, because you cannot insure yourself abroad through health insurance in Germany. You can usually pause this or apply for an entitlement. As soon as we have finalized and decided this for ourselves, we will share this knowledge with you. The Internet is also an important point, because depending on the size of the contract, it may make sense to continue to use it for a small foreign fee or even to increase it or to get a SIM card with data volume in the respective country in parallel with your cell phone contract. We haven't made a final decision here yet.

Sources: auswaertiges-Amt.de , ADAC.de , visasunited.de , bloglapid.de

Mistakes are not excluded, but you will only see that when we have arrived in Canada and America or not :-) Irritating and irritating phrases can be forgiven. See this list as a basic building block and inquire personally and up-to-date using the sources listed or similar.

Reading next

1 Jahr Vanlife als Familie in Kanada und Amerika - Intro
Abschied daheim und der Flug mit Hund und Kinder nach Kanada

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.