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The Canadian government has now introduced an app that allows travellers to complete the Customs Card declaration on their smartphones. The app works in airplane mode (after download), so the information can be input before or during a flight. The declaration, when complete, will generate a QR code, which can then simply be scanned upon arrival at an airport which has a ‘Primary Inspection Kiosk’. These electronic kiosks are replacing humans, and are being rolled out at airports across the country. Kiosks are currently located in Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Vancouver, and they will be installed at all airports as time goes on.
Please note that neither the Customs Card app, nor the Primary Inspection Kiosks, change the substantive issues that have been, and will continue to be, the subject of what needs to be declared/said/done when travelling to Canada. Any issues about value of goods, purpose of travel, etc., is still being checked – just in a more efficient way. If there is any issue, a traveller may be sent to a human officer for more detailed analysis. In cases where there is a more complex immigration aspect to the travel, notably a work permit application, the traveller will certainly be sent to ‘Immigration Secondary’ for further processing – which is an ordinary procedure.
Though, and again, the new app does not change the substance of the considerations related to travel to Canada, it may be a valuable and important tool for business travellers.
The app can be found at