Border Crossing Information
What US Citizens Should know When Traveling to Canada
All persons that wish to enter Canada must undergo “an examination” by which an immigration officer determines whether a person seeking to enter Canada may do so. They will speak to you about your visit. (Normally a quick interview) Examinations are conducted in a courteous and efficient manner, and information provided by the traveler remains confidential. Please remember to remove sunglasses, be respectful, look the officer in the eyes and answer questions in a truthful, concise manner. The same is true when returning to the US.
Documentation Required as of June 2009 for Land travel into and out of Canada
You will need a passport OR
Passport Card (see below)
Beginning in June 2009 all travelers to Canada will be required to present a passport to re-enter the United States. If you are traveling by automobile, a less expensive passport card is also available. The requirement does not affect children under 16 crossing by land; they can continue to use an original birth certificate.
The new passport card cost only $45 verses $100 for the traditional passport book, but can only be used for land crossings into Canada or Mexico. Both passports are valid for 10 years for adults and simplify border crossing and the application process is simple. All you need is a birth certificate and a valid driver’s license to apply.
Please visit the Department of State’s website for more information.
Traveling with Children
Each child should carry the following information.
Identification similar to that for adults: passport, birth certificate and if possible a school ID.
Those traveling with a non-custodial child need to carry a notarized letter of permission from the child’s legal guardian containing; authorization for the child to travel with another person and to be outside the US; the name and telephone number of the child’s legal guardian; the child’s destination in Canada; and the period of time the child will be in Canada.
Divorced parents with shared custody should carry legal documents establishing their status. If only one parent is accompanying a child, the other parent should write a letter giving his/her permission for the child to be taken out of the US.
When traveling in a group of several vehicles, parents & children should arrive at the border in the same vehicle.
Traveler’s with Minor Criminal Offenses
If you have committed or been convicted of a criminal offence, including driving under the influence or while impaired or theft under $5,000, you may be prohibited from entering Canada.
If it has been more than 5 years since the completion of criminal sentences, people who are inadmissible to Canada because of past criminal convictions may apply for a Letter of Rehabilitation to either office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada in Thunder Bay (807)624-2158 or Ft Frances (807)274-3818. Either office will forward a kit to apply for rehabilitation.
If it has been less than 5 years, since completing of a criminal sentence, the traveler must apply for a Minister permit at the point of entry and there is no Guarantee of admittance into Canada, as it is at the discretion of the senior officer.
Visitors may bring personal baggage into Canada duty and tax free provided all items are declared to Canada Customs on arrival and are not subject to restriction.
The general rule is to bring an amount of food that is consistent with the length of your stay. However, there are a couple of areas which are being enforced by customs that you want to be aware of:
-You may import 11 lbs of beef and 11 lbs of wild game per person
-Chicken and pork are not limited
-Raw potatoes can now be imported. 5kg per person max.
Alcohol Beverages and Cigarettes
Anyone 19 or over may buy liquor, wine and beer from government liquor stores and beer from beer stores. You may bring into Canada 1.5 liters of wine, OR 1.14 liters (40 oz) of liquor OR 24-355ml cans or bottles of beer.
Those over 18 years of age may bring 200 cigarettes, OR 50 cigars OR 220 grams of manufactured tobacco or 200 tobacco sticks.
Your American Driver’s license is valid in Canada. Car Insurance is required. Check with your Insurance agent to get a free Canadian Non-Resident Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance card.
Be sure to bring your vehicle’s registration forms. Seat belts are required in Ontario. It is ILLEGAL to use or possess radar detectors ( Fuzzbusters ) in Ontario.
Check with your health insurance company to see how it covers services received in Canada, before your trip. You may even wish to obtain traveler’s health insurance.
If you are taking prescription medications, bring an ample supply, and be sure all medication is in original packaging, if that is not possible, a doctor’s note describing your condition and a copy of the prescription should suffice.
If you are traveling with children other than your own, please carry a notarized letter from the child’s parents giving doctors permission to treat the child in case of an emergency.
Most establishments in Canada accept US money, but you will receive a better exchange rate if you exchange US Currency to Canadian at any Canadian Financial Institution.
Returning to the US
US residents returning to the US after 48 hours can take back $800 US worth of merchandise, duty free every 30 days. After less than 48 hours, $200 US is allowed. It may include: 1 liter (34 oz) of alcohol, 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars (not of Cuban origin) or 2 lbs of manufactured tobacco. For more information about re-entering the US please contact US customs.
All persons entering or re-entering the US by land must now have a valid Passport. Please apply for yours early.
For more information about traveling in Canada log on to our website at
and follow the Border Crossing Info Link.
Information provide in part by All Canada Adventures, NWOTA Byway, , as well as the PRTC Resource Guide.