Ensure that you have proper identification for yourself and everyone in the vehicle readily available. Acceptable forms of identification for entry into Canada include a passport, a NEXUS card and an enhanced driver's licence.
Children under the age of 16 can present an original copy of their birth certificate, passport or NEXUS card as preferred identification. When travelling with children, have their identification ready. For any child who is travelling without their parents or travelling with non-custodial parents, be prepared to provide a letter of permission along with parental contact information.
Plan ahead and check border wait times at www.cbsa.gc.ca/waittimes, or follow us on Twitter for hourly border wait time updates at BWT_CBSA. Avoid crossing during peak travel times and consider crossing at the least busy port of entry in the area whenever possible.
Declare all purchases made and have your receipts readily available. As of June 1, 2012, you can bring back, tax and duty free, after being away for 24 hours, goods valued at CAN$200 and after 48 hours CAN$800. Remember there are no personal exemptions for same-day cross-border shopping trips so be prepared to pay HST on those purchases and possibly duty.
Declare all money or monetary instruments equal to or over CAN$10,000.
Souvenirs can be a fun way to remember your vacation, but certain goods are prohibited from entering Canada including some food, plant and animal products. Be aware of what goods are prohibited from entering Canada by consulting the I Declare brochure, available at www.cbsa.gc.ca.
Empty your vehicle’s trunk before the trip other than essential luggage. Additional belongings in your car may add time to your crossing.
Turn off radios and cell phones when approaching the inspection booths, roll down window, remove sunglasses and speak directly to the officer.
Stop at the stop sign when entering a primary lane. The driver of the vehicle should concentrate on driving while a passenger can hold the identification until it is required to be presented to the border services officer.
If travelling with firearms or weapons, you must declare them when you enter Canada. If you don't, border services officers may seize the weapons, and file criminal charges. Those bearing firearms must prove that they are entitled to possess a firearm in Canada. Most weapons are prohibited from entering Canada, including Tasers, brass knuckles, pepper spray and similar items.
If travelling with pets, know that dogs and cats that are at least three months old need signed and dated certificates from a veterinarian verifying that they have been vaccinated against rabies within the last three years. Service dogs are not subject to any restrictions if the dog is accompanied by its owner.
Whether camping in Canada or returning from a camping trip, keep these things in mind:
Be patient. The CBSA wishes you happy travels and safe return to Canada.
For more travel tips from the CBSA, visit www.cbsa.gc.ca/traveltips.