Tips for Crossing the Canada/US Border
With heightened security at the Canada United States border it is important to be prepared so crossing the border into Canada and returning to the United States is as efficient and pleasant as possible. The information below is provided to the best of our knowledge from various sources.
The Canada / US border is the friendliest border in the world. Below are a few guidelines to help make your crossing as quick and easy as possible. With the current increase in security concerns it still generally takes less than 1/2 hour to cross the border. It is possible however to meet with longer border crossing delays, especially at peak crossing times. For current border crossing times follow these links.
Starting December 31st 2006, the United
States will begin implementing a requirement for passports to enter the
United States. This will affect visitors to the US and US residents
re-entering the US. The first phase of the requirement for passports
will affect people traveling by air into the US and begin December 31,
2006. The second phase of the requirement for passports will begin
December 31, 2007, and will affect all persons traveling to the US
whether by ground, air, or water.
United States citizens and legal residents of the United States do not need passports or visas to enter Canada as visitors. If you do have a valid passport we recommend bringing it since it will help facilitate crossing the border both into Canada and returning to the United States.
When crossing the border you may be asked to show proof of citizenship such as birth, voter's, naturalization certificate or passport. If the identification does not have a picture ID you may be asked to provide this as well. A drivers license is generally sufficient for picture ID but is not proof of citizenship by itself. Photocopies of any identification are not acceptable and may initiate a more thorough investigation.
Canada Customs and Immigration officers and United States Customs officers are members of or affiliated with Child Find Canada, Child Find of America, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. You may be asked to produce birth certificates. Anyone traveling with children not their own may be required to show written permission from the child's parent(s) and proper identification (birth certificate).
Visitors from countries other than the US require a valid passport and in some cases a visitor's visa. Visas are issued by Canadian Immigration offices, embassies and consulates.
Individuals with criminal records wishing to enter Canada can apply for a waiver. This should be done a minimum of 3 - 4 weeks in advance of the intended visit and can take up to 6 months. It should be noted that Driving Under the Influence convictions are considered a criminal offense in Canada Individuals with criminal records without waivers can be refused entry. Contact the nearest port of entry Canada Immigration office for more information. See contact information below.
Persons without waivers who have only DUI's or other less serious criminal convictions and have no criminal convictions in the past 10 years may be considered rehabilitated when they reach the border but this is at the Canada Immigration officer's discretion. A "Remote Area Border Crossing Permit" may assist the Immigration officer in determining admissibility to Canada since it requires normal background checks. This permit costs $30.บบ Canadian (approx. $20.บบ US). More information regarding the "Remote Area Border Crossing Permit" is available at www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/rabc.html.
CUSTOMS RESTRICTIONS FOR VISITORS TO CANADA
Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Products
For short-term visitors to Canada, the following restrictions apply per person:
-1.14 liters (40 oz.) of liquor or
wine, or 24 x 355ml (12 oz.) bottles or cans of beer or ale (8.5 liters)
Firearms are strictly controlled and many are not permitted in Canada. Handguns and assault weapons are strictly prohibited. U.S. law enforcement personnel and other persons legally carrying a firearms may check their firearms with Canada Customs and Immigration at their point of entry into Canada and the firearms will be returned to them when they leave Canada at the same border point or at another prearranged border point at their discretion.
Certain goods are restricted from entering Canada. If you are considering importing meat or dairy products, weapons, plants, vehicles, or exotic animals or products made from their skins or feathers, please contact Canada Customs beforehand for guidance.
Double check that your insurance policy covers you during your time in Canada. Consider purchasing supplemental or other insurance if your own policy is not enough. You may wish to check with your health insurance company to ensure that your policy includes coverage for medical evacuations to the United States as well as escorts to the United States, hospitalization abroad, premature birth abroad, and other coverage for a beneficiary who is involved in an accident or illness outside the United States. Carry details of your insurance plan with you (and leave a copy with a relative or friend at home).
**Please note: The U.S. Social Security Medicare Program does not provide for payment of hospital or medical services outside the United States.
Your Dollar Goes Further
US dollars, and several other foreign currencies, enjoy a premium rate of exchange in Canada. Credit Cards are generally processed in Canadian dollars with, again generally, a fairly favorable exchange rate by the Credit Card companies.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) Rebates
As a visitor to Canada you can claim a refund of 7% on every dollar spent while in the country on accommodation and most goods you take home. If crossing into the United States at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario you can claim your 7% GST cash rebate at the Duty Free Store on the Canadian side of the International Bridge approach. Be sure to keep your receipts for instant GST rebates (Minimum acceptable expenditures, excluding taxes, must cumulatively total a minimum of $200.บบ with each individual acceptable receipt totaling at least $50.บบ). Collecting your GST rebates is quick and uncomplicated and we will thoroughly explain the process to you before you leave Bear Claw Tours.
Automobile Radar Detectors
It is illegal to take automobile radar detectors into the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba or into the Yukon and Northwest territories. The police will confiscate radar detectors, whether in use or not, and may impose fines up to $1000.
To re-enter the United States, returning U.S. citizens need to show the Bureau of Citizenship and Naturalization Services or the Department of Homeland Security officer proof of identity and citizenship, such as a passport, birth certificate, or certificate of naturalization (for citizenship) and photo identification (such as a driver's license) for identity. A U.S. passport is proof of both citizenship and identity. Persons who are dual nationals should enter using U.S. documents only, as they could be fined under U.S. law for entering the U.S. on a foreign passport.
Articles acquired abroad and brought back with you into the United States are subject to duty and internal revenue tax. As a returning U.S. resident, you are allowed to bring back $400 worth of merchandise duty free. However, you must have been outside the U.S. for at least 48 hours, and you must not have used this exemption within the preceding 30-day period. The next $1,000 worth of items you bring back with you for personal use or gifts are dutiable at a flat 10 percent rate. Any dollar amount of an article or articles over $1000 is subject to variable duties.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Ste. Marie, Ontario:
Ste Marie, Michigan: