Getting ready for a trip across the border? We know, it can be a mix of excitement and “Oh, what have I gotten myself into?” But don’t you worry – we’ve got your back. CBSA has some nifty tips to take the stress out of your travel and turn you into a border-crossing pro. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t want a smooth, hassle-free journey where you can just focus on the fun? From beating those pesky wait times to knowing what you can (and absolutely can’t) bring along – it’s all covered. So, buckle up and let’s get you prepped and ready to roll!
Tips to prepare for a smoother trip:
· Plan ahead and check the CBSA border wait times web page. Travellers crossing the border by land are encouraged to cross during non-peak hours such as early morning. The Monday of holiday long weekends tend to be the busiest, with longer border wait times – pick another day to cross the border if you can.
· Have your travel documents handy. Whether travelling by land, air or water, you can help speed things up by coming prepared with your travel documents.
· Save time with Advance Declaration. Travellers arriving at the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Billy Bishop, Calgary and Edmonton international airports can make their customs and immigration declaration to the CBSA prior to their arrival using Advance Declaration. Travellers who use this option have access to express lanes to get to an airport kiosk or eGate faster.
· When travelling with children , it is recommended that the accompanying adult have a consent letter authorizing them to travel with the child if they share custody or are not the parent or legal guardian. Border services officers are always watching for missing children, and in the absence of the letter, officers may ask additional questions.
· Know your exemption limits. Returning residents who make purchases or pick up online purchases outside of Canada should be aware of their personal exemption limits. Use the CBSA duty and taxes estimator to help calculate your monies owed.
· Bringing turkey across the border? Poultry products including turkey must be retail packaged, for human consumption, and labelled as a “Product of the USA”. Homemade food or leftovers containing poultry cannot be brought into Canada. Check the latest Information for travellers: Restrictions on poultry and birds from the United States before bringing these products across the border.
· Cannabis: Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out. Bringing cannabis across the border in any form, including oils containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada is a serious criminal offence subject to arrest and prosecution, despite the legalization of cannabis in Canada. A medical prescription from a doctor does not count as Health Canada authorization.
· Be prepared to declare. All travellers must declare their goods upon entry into Canada. For returning residents, have your receipts readily available for goods purchased or received while outside of Canada. You are encouraged not to travel with firearms, but if you choose to do so, be sure to check the CBSA website for the rules on importing firearms and other restricted and prohibited goods.
· Declare any foods, plants, or animals . Consult the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website before bringing any food, plant, and animal products into Canada.
· Not sure? Ask a border services officer. The best thing you can do to save time is to be open and honest with the CBSA officer. If you are not sure about what to declare, don’t hesitate to ask. Our officers are here to help!