Effective June 1, 2009.
U.S. citizens will be required to present one of the following documents for entry:
- U.S. Passport Card
- Enhanced Driver's License
- U.S. Passport
U.S. citizen children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original (or copy) of their birth certificate or other proof of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card. Knowing what documents are required and having them ready when you return home will help streamline the entry process and ensure your return to the U.S. is as smooth as possible.
Border Wait Times
On weekdays (between Monday and Thursday) you can expect to wait approximately 10 minutes at the Canadian Customs Inspection Station. On Weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sundays) and Holidays, this wait time can increase from 20 minutes to one hour at peak times. Be prepared to show the appropriate documents as listed above, and be prepared for your vehicle to be inspected by customs officials.
You may be detained by Canadian Customs if:
- You have a criminal record, may be excluded from entering the country (contact a Canadian Embassy or Canadian Consulate for information on obtaining a waiver of exclusion)
- You are traveling with children and both parents are not present (Grandparents or legal guardians traveling with children under the age of 18 must present proof of custody or letters from the child's natural parents authorizing the trip, along with proof of the children's citizenship)
- You are a naturalized citizen - present valid passport or naturalization certificate
Customs Restrictions For Entering Canada
Personal belongings or baggage may be brought with you when entering Canada, such as: clothing, camping or sports equipment, cameras, vehicles, etc... You may be asked to fill out a customs declaration card. These items are for your personal use only and may not be used by any resident of Canada or business based in Canada. No tax or duty will be charged on personal baggage items brought with you upon re-entry to the U.S., however, Customs may request a security deposit on your goods which will be returned upon leaving Canada.
Over 48 Hours in Canada (DROP DOWN)
American residents who spend more than 48 hours in Canada are allowed to take up to $400 (usd) worth of goods purchased in Canada back into the U.S. You may take advantage of this exemption only once every 30 days. (If you have already used this exemption, the $200 (usd) exemption applies). You must be over the legal drinking age (19) to bring:
- one litre (35.2 American fluid ounces)
- 200 cigarettes (if you are older than 21 years of age)
- 100 cigars (non-Cuban)
Less Than 48 Hours in Canada (DROP DOWN)
American residents who spend less than 48 hours, or if you have already claimed a $400 (usd) exemption in the previous days, you are allowed to take goods purchased in Canada worth up to $200 (usd) back into the U.S.
You must be over the legal drinking age (19) to bring:
- 150 milliliters (5.1 American fluid ounces)
- 50 cigarettes (if you are older than 21 years of age)
- 10 cigars (non-Cuban)
Duty will be charged on any goods worth more than the exemptions described above. Duty on the first $1400 (usd) worth of goods ( including the $400 (usd) exemption ) is being phased out. This applies only to goods that are stamped either "Made in Canada" or "Made in the U.S.A.".
Any goods worth more than the $1400 (usd) limit will be charged duty at various rates and reservations.
Members of a single family, traveling together and living in the same residence, are allowed to pool their exemptions to cover their combined purchases.
You may bring gifts into Canada tax and duty free, only if the gifts are valued at less than $60 (cdn). Gifts over $60 will be charged duty of the excess amount.
Obscene or hate materials, weapons or items generally harmful to the environment are prohibited from entering Canada. If you are bringing weapons, dairy or meat products, plants, animals, vehicles or anything you are unsure about, please contact Canada Customs beforehand for guidance.