Tips for crossing the border into Canada
Is a Passport Needed?
All visitors arriving to Canada need a passport or passport equivalent (NEXUS Card or Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL)).
These stricter requirements were implemented under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) in 2009.
If you are planning on a Canadian fishing trip, don’t wait! The U.S. application process is already backlogged. Apply online for your American passport.
If you are travelling soon, you can get a passport within 24 hrs with rushmypassport.com.
U.S. and Canadian citizens ages 15 or younger with parental consent are allowed to cross the borders at land and sea entry points with certified copies of their birth certificates rather than passports. Visitors of all ages arriving in Canada by air require a passport or passport equivalent.
Have a Note for Children Traveling without Both Parents
Adults traveling over the border into Canada with children who are not their own should have a written note from the parents or guardians giving permission for the children to leave the country. The permission should include the name and contact information of the parent / guardian.
Even if you are with your own child but not the other parent, bringing the other parent’s written permission to take the child over the border is a good idea.
Know What You Can and Can’t Bring into Canada
You CAN Bring the Following Items into Canada
Dried and Packaged Food
11 Pounds of Fresh Beef per Person
Processed or Canned Potatoes
1.5 Litres of Wine OR 24, 12 Ounce Cans OR Bottles of Beer OR 40 Ounces of Liquor
200 Cigarettes, OR 50 Cigars (including Cuban Cigars, which are Legal in Canada)
You CAN’T Bring the Following Items into Canada
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
All Raw Poultry, Poultry Products and By-products that are Not Fully Cooked, Including Eggs
Automatic Weapons (Military-style Attack Rifles)
Large Capacity Cartridge Magazines (Exceeding 5 Rounds of Center Fire Rifles)
Stun Guns, Mace and Pepper Spray
Live Bait (Live Minnows, Leeches)
For a complete explanation of what items can and can’t be brought into Canada, see the Canada Border Services Agency.
Criminal Records (DUI)
Visitors to Canada who have any kind of criminal record may be denied entry. Even if you have entered Canada before, new screening procedures may lead to you being turned back. Impaired driving and/or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, may be a misdemeanor in a visitor’s home state, but in Canada it can be an indictable offence. There are three basic procedures available that can allow you to legally enter Canada if you have a criminal record. They are as follows:
You can apply through a Canadian Consulate or certain border crossings to have your record examined by immigration officials. There is a non-refundable administration fee that is usually $200 Canadian. With a successful application, you will receive a letter stating that you have been Granted Rehabilitation, and you will now be allowed to enter Canada freely any time. We suggest that guests who are considering making an application for Granted Rehabilitation contact the NOTO office so that they can explain the process in more detail and direct you to the best point of contact.
If more than 10 years have passed since your last indictable offence, and no subsequent offences have occurred. There is no fee but this is at the discretion of the border official.
Temporary Resident Permit
A permit that may be granted for a single visit or more. The fee is $200 and it is recommended to apply ahead of your trip, and as for the cost you may be better off applying for Granted Rehabilitation.