Crossing the Border

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Steve CDN

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Jan 31, 2005
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Canada/U.S.A
CROSSING THE BORDER

The Ten Most Asked Border Questions

1. Do I need a passport?
Generally, American and Canadian citizens may cross the border without
visas or passports. However, it is always a good idea to carry
identification with you, especially if you are a naturalized citizen.
Citizens of other countries should have a passport or appropriate papers.

2. Are my driver's license and car insurance good across the border?
Both countries accept a valid driver's license of the other country. Proof
of insurance is required if there is an accident.
US drivers are still required to have an insurance card that specifically
states their insurance is valid in Canada, since US policies do not
automatically apply outside the US.  Most US insurers in fact do cover
travel in Canada as part of their standard package and US insurers will
provide a free Canadian Proof of Insurance card upon request.
Laws vary from province to province and state to state.
Make sure you have you vehicle registration
with you. Use of seatbelts is mandatory in most provinces.
Radar detectors are illegal in most provinces


3. Can my pet cross the border?
Cats and dogs are welcome in both countries provided they are in good
health and have a current rabies vaccination certificate, if they are over
three months old. Other animals are subject to restriction. See Below


4. Should I exchange my money for the other country's currency?
Yes, and you will get the best rate at a currency exchange or bank close to
the border. Americans can expect to receive a bonus in Canadian dollars and
should remember to use the bonus percent in figuring real cost.


5. Can I bring my gun across the border?
Handguns may not be brought into Canada. There are categories of other
prohibited guns and restricted guns. Hunting rifles and shotguns are
allowed with a required registration and a $50(C) fee, payable at the border.
When entering Canada, declare all firearms at Customs. More Information Below

Similar rules apply in the U.S., firearms for hunting and lawful
sports are allowed. All other firearms and ammunition are subject to
restrictions.


6. What does "Duty" mean?
Duty is a charge imposed on certain goods brought into a country to protect
national industries. A certain amount of merchandise is allowed in duty
free, depending on how long you have been out of the country. Contact
Customs to find out duties on goods that are in excess of your duty free
allowance.


7. Can liquor be brought across the border?
Yes, liquor may be brought into both countries. The regulations and amounts
allowed without paying duty are listed. Liquor brought into the country you
are visiting must be for personal use and not a gift.


8. What are the benefits of duty free shops?
By purchasing your allowance of duty free merchandise at a duty free shop
you avoid paying ALL taxes and duties including normal excise tax and sales
tax. The savings is usually 30-60% off the prices you would normally pay
elsewhere. Liquor, cigarettes, perfumes and imported gifts are great
values.


9. Can I purchase at a duty free store going in both directions?
Yes, you may purchase duty free items for use in the country you are
visiting and you may purchase items to take home, if you meet the minimum
stay requirement.


10. What will customs officials ask at the border?
When visiting the other country, you may be asked where you live, your
citizenship, the purpose of your trip, and how long you intend to stay. You
may be asked if you have any goods that will be left behind. There may be
specific questions about alcohol, tobacco and firearms. If you have made a
duty free purchase, just state how much you have brought.

When returning home, you may be asked what you have purchased. Oral
declarations are the general rule, however, a written declaration may be
required.

If you have specific questions please contact Customs and/or Immigration
Officials.

U.S. Customs, Box 7407, Washington, D.C. 20044

  U.S. Customs and Travel Information

Revenue Canada (Customs-Excise), Public Relations Branch
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0L5


    Contact information Government of Canada

  Pets and importing animals into Canada


Importing a Firearm or Weapon Into Canada



ENTERING THE U.S.A.

U.S. Residents
After a 48-hour absence, once every 30 days, your personal exemption is
$400.00 U.S. which may include the following: 1 litre of alcohol and 200 (1
carton) of cigarettes or 100 cigars.
U.S. Customs has increased the allowance for returning Americans for an
absence of less than 48 hours. They may now purchase up to $200.00 U.S. per
person of merchandise excluding liquor and tobacco.
Following is the U.S. regulations that confirms the change: 19 USC 1321 (a)
(2) (D). Admit accompanied articles which don't qualify for provisions of
HTSUS 9804.00.30 or 9804.00.70 free of duty, fees and taxes

Canadian Residents
Personal exemptions: After a 24 hour absence your personal exemption is $50
Cdn. After an absence of 48 hours your personal exemption increases to $200
Cdn. and after 7 days it becomes $500 Cdn. You can include alcoholic
beverages and tobacco products after a 48 hour absence. The following
conditions apply:
Tobacco products - anyone aged 18 or over can include up to 200 cigarettes,
50 cigars or cigarillos, 200 tobacco sticks, and 200 grams of manufactured
tobacco.
Alcoholic beverages - if you meet the age requirements set by the province
or territory where you re-enter Canada, you can include up to 1.14 litres
(40 imperial ounces) of wine or liquor, or 24x355 ml (12 fl. oz.) cans or
bottles of beer or ale.
Every six months, with a minimum 72-hour stay, you may enter $100.00 U.S.
of gift merchandise into the U.S.



ENTERING CANADA

U.S. Residents
For a visit of at least 24 hours, the following may be entered Duty Free:
40 ounces of alcohol or 24 bottles/cans of beer and 200 cigarettes (1
carton) and 50 cigars and 200 grams of pipe tobacco.
Gifts valued at $60.00 (Canadian) may be entered Duty Free, however, this
may not include liquor or tobacco products.
Foodstuffs, up to a two-day's supply per person, may also accompany you
upon your entry to Canada.

Canadian Residents
Any number of times a year, after a 48-hour absence, your exemption is
$200.00 Canadian, which may include: 40 ounces of alcohol or 24
bottles/cans of beer and 200 cigarettes (1 carton) and 50 cigars and 200
grams of pipe tobacco.
After an absence of 7 days or more, your exemption is $500.00 (Canadian),
which may also include the above-mentioned items.



      ><---------><------------><-----------><------------><-----------><

This information is subject to updates in legislation.
 

Barb

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Click Here To See Where I Am http://map.datastormu
What about food? There's been reports that you cannot take chicken or beef into CA. What about meat that has already been cooked and frozen? And fresh fruits and veggies? How bout pepper spray? Do crossings differ, depending on where you cross. Such as from MI, or Mont., or Wash.?

TIA
Barb
 

BernieD

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Joined
Mar 1, 2005
Posts
5,876
Location
Goodyear, AZ
Barb said:
What about food? There's been reports that you cannot take chicken or beef into CA. What about meat that has already been cooked and frozen? And fresh fruits and veggies? How bout pepper spray? Do crossings differ, depending on where you cross. Such as from MI, or Mont., or Wash.?

Barb

Yes it does vary depending on where you cross and from where you are coming. Spring before last we traveled with a group of friends, all from the Phoenix area, and crossed the border at the north end of I-15. All chicken and chicken products were confiscated, even dog food, because of a disease then affecting the flocks in AZ. Border crossing in the east had no such problems. Restrictions vary by crossing, current concerns about various food products and such. It is best to check with your anticipated crossing and find out which restrictions they have in place.
 

Ron

Moderator Emeritus
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Jan 29, 2005
Posts
18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
The only state boarder that requires inspection that I am aware of is Calif.  There are some boarder patrol inspection stations within Az.  We have never had any problems crossing state lines.
 

Newt & Jan

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Joined
Jun 29, 2007
Posts
407
Location
Concord, NC
This one could probably use some revision now that passports are upon us.  The crossing info is likely not correct now.
 

Tom

Administrator
Joined
Jan 13, 2005
Posts
48,738
Newt,

The copy of Steve's message that was put int the forum library here was already updated. Here's the content of the update:

"Note: Effective January 1, 2007 U.S. immigration requirements changed to require a passport when crossing into the U.S. from Canada or Mexico. This was subsequently changed to require a passport if arriving by boat or airplane and the deadline for passports if traveling by land was extended to January 1, 2008. Travelers are advised to check with the Department of Homeland Security for updates/changes to this policy."

We don't attempt to routinely go back to old messages/topics on our message boards looking for information that might have changed.
 

Just Lou

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Joined
Dec 25, 2005
Posts
8,105
Tom said:
We don't attempt to routinely go back to old messages/topics on our message boards looking for information that might have changed.

Good point, Tom.

The "library" function is one of the great things that set this Forum apart from the others and should be the first place folks go to find factual data.
lou 
 

ArdraF

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Posts
10,674
Barb mentioned pepper spray.  It's illegal to take it into Canada from the U.S.  Last year we entered Canada from Michigan.  When they asked us about whether we had guns, the next question was whether we had Mace or pepper spray.  No questions that day about food products.  Can't recall if they asked about tobacco and alcohol, but they generally do.

ArdraF

 

Tom

Administrator
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Posts
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Thanks Lou. Your message reminds me that I'm tardy in uploading new files to the library.
 

Steve CDN

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Posts
2,388
Location
Canada/U.S.A
All defensive weapons and devices are illegal in Canada, including pepper spray, mace etc as Ron alluded to.

All other information about crossing into Canada can be found on the Canada Border Agency Services web site.

edit: replaced out of date link.
 

Newt & Jan

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Posts
407
Location
Concord, NC
Tom said:
We don't attempt to routinely go back to old messages/topics on our message boards looking for information that might have changed.
Thanks Tom.  I wondered if the pinned topics (easy for a newby to spot and we may not think to navigate to the library) would be updated in the event of major changes. 

It would be extra work though and I suppose that even mods are allowed to have a life outside of the forums.  :D
 

Tom

Administrator
Joined
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Posts
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Newt said:
I wondered if the pinned topics .... would be updated in the event of major changes.

Good point Newt and one I hadn't given any thought to. Lemme sleep on it.

... I suppose that even mods are allowed to have a life outside of the forums.

It sure does take a lot of time for all the staff here. But, of course, it's a labor of love.
 

Hfx_Cdn

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Joined
Sep 22, 2006
Posts
3,760
Location
Nova Scotia
    Apparently, the US Government will allow certain types of upgraded ID that they are trying to build into Drivers licenses, and they hope to have them available before it comes into practice Jan 2008.  As far as Canadian customs, a valid picture ID is still ok, but you gotta get back home. 
    As for guns, etc, please leave them at home.  Every year there are people who end up in trouble trying to get them through customs, and we don't walk past it if they get caught.  Just last week an RV'r had a hand gun hidden in the rig, lost it plus a big fine.
 

gonemissin

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Joined
May 22, 2008
Posts
80
Location
Nowhere in particular...
The link above on Firearms Importation to Canada did not work.  I'm interested in hunting in AK (not Canada) as well as bear/critter protection for our extended hikes and wanted to know the protocol for taking long guns and ammo through Canada.  It looks like there is a prescribed method for doing so, even though it costs a few bucks.  We will have U.S. Passports and no animals to worry about.

I found a pdf brochure here: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/pub/bsf5044-eng.pdf

For those of you that have done this, is it possible to park on the US side and walk to Canada Customs with the necessary firearms paperwork before bringing your rig and firearms onto Canadian soil?  My thinking is to simply double check with Canadian Customs that all the correct paperwork is in order and fees have been properly paid.  If something is out of order, I can remedy the issue on the spot and/or if necessary come back another day rather than risk confiscation and other attendant issues by already being on Canadian soil.  We'll probably cross into Canada from somewhere in the Northwest U.S. that are typically not busy with short distances between Customs Stops, rather than a busy spot with long distances between Customs Stops like the Ambassador Bridge out of Detroit. 

If I can't sort this out, guess I'll just have to take the intercoastal from Bellingham which would be pretty expensive with a dually and a TT and we'd miss a beautiful drive up the ALCAN.
 

Tom

Administrator
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Posts
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The link above on Firearms Importation to Canada did not work

Thanks for the broken link report. It's now been changed.
 

Tony_Alberta

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Joined
May 9, 2010
Posts
1,297
Steve said:
All defensive weapons and devices are illegal in Canada, including pepper spray, mace etc as Ron alluded to.
As far as I know bear spray is legal and relatively easily obtained.  But only use it on bears.  :)
 

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