Alcohol at Canadian Border

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DaleandKarla

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Posts
47
Location
Bloomington
My wife and I will be heading into Canada this week in our class A to visit my family for several weeks. It occurs to us that we have basically a full bar on board. I believe there are rules about how much alcohol you can take over the border. I'm sort of assuming I'll need to donate most of my alcohol to my friends in the US before e hit the border. Am I right about that? Somewhat related question, it also occurs to me that I have been driving with open containers. Is there some sort of exception on the open container rules for a class A RV? Or should I be putting my open alcohol containers in the basement when we are going down the road?
Thank you so much!
Dale and Karla
 

Sprucegum

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Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Posts
227
Location
Alberta, Canada
If you have more than the allotted amounts they may ask you to pay duty on it. Best to have receipts or they will base the duty on an expensive brand.
if you don’t declare it and they find it they will confiscate all of it.
 

TonyL

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Joined
Dec 10, 2017
Posts
847
Location
UK
It's not just duty, due to the price difference, you'll have to pay a percentage of that as well. Remember, the limits are spirits, wine or beer, not an allowance for each. Unless you want to be stopped everytime you cross, declare what you have.
 

Aaron5er

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Joined
Sep 10, 2021
Posts
81
Location
NE Georgia
I crossed the border at Roosville Montana May 31st and was asked about alcohol by the agent.
I told him I had a few bottles of sipping liquor and he asked "how many?" I said 3-4 and that was no problem. A couple of them were in the fridge previously opened.
They didn't enter or inspect inside the 5th wheel.
 

canuckrv

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Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Posts
454
Remember to download and fill out the arivecan app and have it filled out before you arrive.
 

IBTripping

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Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Posts
1,731
Location
Virginia
When I was a whole lot younger and living in Montana, I and some friends used to drive up to Canada for Canadian beer. It tasted so much better than the stale goat urine that America brewers sold. LOL
 

Ray-IN

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Joined
Mar 16, 2014
Posts
949
Location
North America-somewhere
If you have more than the allotted amounts they may ask you to pay duty on it. Best to have receipts or they will base the duty on an expensive brand.
if you don’t declare it and they find it they will confiscate all of it.
And if someone gets testy about confiscating their liquor, CBC can confiscate the vehicle too.
 

Jim18655

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Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Posts
242
I worked with several members of the same family that would take fishing trips to Canada. There were usually at least 6 of them in three trucks. One year they packed two trucks with gear and left the third to carry the beer that they bought on the way. They got separated at the border without cell phone coverage and the truck had too much beer for the two people in the truck. The other two trucks eventually noticed they were missing and returned and split the beer between the trucks.
 

silversport

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Joined
Dec 11, 2020
Posts
90
Location
Hayward, ca
Our experience that our "bar" that are mostly open partials, they didn't give them a second look. Now saying that it is up to who is conducting the "search" and what they think is important to look for.
 

Eric Rose

New member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Posts
3
Location
calgary
CBSA agents are usually pretty chill. Just act respectful and answer their questions honestly. If you tick them off it could be a long and painful experience. Just like it is for Canadians going into the US if they are jerks.
 

carolyncaro

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Joined
Jul 24, 2022
Posts
75
Location
nova scotia, 1997, Class B
CBSA agents are usually pretty chill. Just act respectful and answer their questions honestly. If you tick them off it could be a long and painful experience. Just like it is for Canadians going into the US if they are jerks.
ah the memories, long time ago, this old nurse and her honey tried to cross from Canada to US at Detroit on a Saturday, (not a good time) guards were tense and cranky. We had driven straight north from Fort Myers crossed back to Canada, no issues, when we tried to get back in to US, they stamped our paperwork “illegal alien” freaked us out - we had our temporary florida RN licenses, a rented Furnished condo and were supposed to be starting work in a day or so- we needed a work visa.

Didnt know those things had to be obtained at point of entry. Technically because we had Nova Scotia plates and addresses Detroit wasnt even really our original point of entry.

We immediately high tailed it up to Sarnia and tried again, sailed right through. - might have helped that we had made a pit stop prior to Sarnia to put on our best bib and tucker and “look like nurses” instead of enemies of the state.

In fairness to the Detroit border guards they seemed to be in the midst of a drug bust and it didnt help that my poor exhausted hubby almost ran over someones toe trying to get in the proper line -they did tell us to return Sunday morning while stamping illegal alien on our paperwork. Wasn't funny at the time, but has given us lots of chuckles since.
 

mrschwarz

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Joined
Jun 7, 2009
Posts
871
In my experience, after numerous crossings, sometimes with more liquor than I should have, they have never said a peep about it. I was always honest about it, except for the time I forgot I had a couple of large bottles from Costco.

When I had more than that amount allowed and declared it, they never asked me to pay duty.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
76,699
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
My experience in multiple crossings is the same as mrschwarz, but that was a decade ago. Returning (US Customs) was more hassle than entering Canada. Open bottles were never an issue - clearly they were for our personal consumption. Multiple unopened bottles might raise a question, but the questions were along the lines of "where are you going with it and who is it for?" Since we were touristing thru Canada with Alaska as our goal, the customs people seemed willing to believe we weren't selling it or gifting large quantities to Canadian friends.

The caveat in this is that it is strictly up to each agent to make the call. He or she can enforce the letter of the law or cut you slack. Our experience is that Canadian border staff are very friendly as long as you are open and forthright.
 
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