9 Travel Tips for Crossing the Canadian/U.S. Land Border

Check out these travel tips, handy apps and websites to ensure you have all the correct documentation and information to reduce your wait times at the border:

1. Know before you go

  • Make sure you have the correct travel, vaccination and COVID-19 testing documents to enter the U.S. and to re-enter Canada:
    • For current U.S. entry requirements, click here.
    • For current Canadian entry requirements, click here.
    • As of November 30, 2021, fully vaccinated Canadians who travel abroad for less than 72 hours will no longer need a PCR test to re-enter Canada by land or air.  This exemption extends to accompanying children under 12, and individuals with medical contraindications to vaccination. Click here for more details.
  • Plan ahead and check border wait times. Avoid crossing during peak travel times like weekend evenings.
  • Consider crossing at the least busy port of entry in the area.
  • Taking your dog or cat along? They need to be three months of age or older with a valid signed and dated certificate from a veterinarian verifying vaccinations against rabies.

2. Do away with border delays when returning – download the ArriveCan App

  • All travellers, with limited exceptions, entering Canada by air, land, rail or marine vessel, must use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information before and after your entry into Canada.
  • You’ll need to submit your information within 72 hours before your arrival to Canada.
  • Failure to submit your information through ArriveCan may result in denied boarding on an airplane or denied entry into Canada at a land crossing.
  • For more information on ArriveCan, click here.

3. Have the right type of travel insurance

  • Now more than ever, it’s critical to know what your travel cancellation, interruption and medical insurance will and won’t cover.
  • You may want to consider additional insurance beyond what’s covered through your group benefits or credit cards.
  • For more information on travel insurance, click here.
  • For COVID-19 travel insurance FAQs, click here.

4. Use the Travel Smart app

  • Find continuously updated wait times at key Canada-U.S. border crossings listed by distance from your location.
  • Up-to-date travel advice and advisories on over 200 destinations worldwide.
  • Emergency contact information for embassies and consulates abroad and the 24-7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
  • Sign up for the Government of Canada’s Registration of Canadians Abroad service and stay connected to Canada in case of an emergency at home or abroad.
  • For more information on Travel Smart, click here.

5. Check Current Border Wait Times website

  • Avoid wait times at the 26 busiest Canada/U.S. land borders. Wait times are updated hourly.
  • For current wait times, click here.

6. Calculate Duty & Taxes with an Estimator

  • If you’re a frequent shopper, quickly decide just how good a deal you’re getting once you factor in the duty and taxes. Check in advance what you might have to pay on specific purchases, such as electronics.
  • App estimator – click here 
  • Website estimator – click here 
  • Declare all purchases and have your receipts readily available.
  • Make sure any purchases or items coming into Canada are not on a list of prohibited goods.
  • After being away for 24 hours, you can bring back tax- and duty-free goods valued at $200 CDN. After 48 hours, you can bring back $800 CDN worth of goods.
  • There are no personal exemptions for same-day, cross-border shopping trips. You might have to pay tax and possibly duty on your purchases.

7. Use the Canborder apps

  • The e-Declaration feature allows you to create a declaration for up to five travellers with the same place of residence.
  • Cross the border quicker with border wait time data, geolocation and mapping services.
  • Use the trip planner to provide turn-by-turn directions to the border.
  • For more information on Canborder, click here.

8. Whiz through with a Nexus Card

  • If you travel to the U.S. often, consider getting a NEXUS card. NEXUS helps speed up border crossings for low-risk, pre-approved travelers into Canada and the U.S. by air, land and sea.
  • NEXUS card holders can cross the border quickly with dedicated vehicle lanes at 21 designated land border crossings.
  • The NEXUS card costs $50 USD for a five-year membership. Children under 18 are free.
  • Apply for a NEXUS card here.

9. Get the latest Travel Advice & Advisories for Canadians

  • Get useful information for Canadian travellers, including travel advice and advisories on destinations, travel documents, travel health and more.
  • For more information, click here.

Always Book With A TICO Registered Travel Agency or Website

Visit TICO.ca for additional travel tips or to find a TICO registered travel agency or website.

All travel agencies and websites located and operating in Ontario are regulated by TICO. Registered TICO travel agencies and websites provide additional consumer protection for your travel investment that may not be available when booking with travel agencies and websites based in other countries or provinces.

Book with a TICO registered travel agency or website. Search for a TICO registered travel agency now. For any additional questions and comments please email tico@tico.ca

 

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