14 Tips for Crossing the Canadian Border

14 Tips for Crossing the Canadian Border

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Laura Cooper

Travellers looking to travel to the United States, whether for a quick trip, or a longer vacation, will want to read our tips for hassle-free travel. Crossing the Canadian Border can be easy, when you have your documents ready:

What to expect?

  • Canada and the US share 140 border crossings, 27 of which offer Duty Free shopping
  • Select border crossings have a toll of approximately $4. Payments can be made in either Canadian or U.S. currency.
  • Questions relating to your citizenship and intent for travel will be asked by the Border Services. The process typically takes 1 to 2 minutes. To learn about the border wait times, consult with travel.gc.ca which updates the page at least once an hour.
  • Passengers of a bus group and private vehicles will go through the same border crossing procedure
  • If you’re planning on taking your personal vehicle, make sure to bring both vehicle registration and license. If you drive a car that is not registered in your name, bright written consent from the car owner to avoid any questions.

Who can cross the border?

  • Canadians 16 years old and over can enter the U.S. by showing a valid piece of one of the following proofs of identification to the custom officer at the border: (1) Canadian Passport, (2) Nexus Card, (3) Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Card, (4) Enhanced driver’s license (EDL), or enhanced identification card (EIC), and (5) Secure Certificate of Indian Status.
  • Canadians 15 years old and under can cross the border with an original (or photocopy) of their birth certificate or original citizenship card. Minors travelling with only one parent, or with an adult who is not their parent or legal guardian, a consent letter to provide authorization, and to outline and custody rights, is recommended.
  • Canadians 18 years old and younger who want to travel alone, or with someone other than their parents, will need written consent from both parents or guardians to enter the U.S.
  • Permanent residents in Canada must first apply for a non-immigrant visa and present this with their passport to U.S. customs officials. They must also present their Permanent Resident Card when re-entering Canada.

What can you bring?

  • It is required that you declare all food, plants, and animals when crossing the Canadian border. This includes fruits, vegetables, snacks and beverages.
  • If you have prescription medications with you, keep each of them in its original container with identification label.
  • Not sure how much cash you can bring? You can carry up to $10,000CAN without declaring it to customs.
  • To avoid the possibility of penalties, make sure you have the appropriate information for bringing the following items: firearms and weapons, explosives, fireworks, and ammunition; vehicles, and consumer products.


Travelling with pets

  • Pets can cross the border under some conditions. Cats and dogs must have proof of rabies vaccinations. Custom officials may also request a veterinarian inspection if they suspect that your pet is ill.
  • Travellers with pets such as parrots, snakes, or other reptiles are responsible for determining if their pet is subject to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora controls, and obtaining the proper permits and certificates for importing the animal into Canada, if applicable.

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