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Border reminder checklist

Travellers crossing the border, especially during peak periods, such as holiday long weekends and summer months, can prepare ahead of time.

Follow these travel tips to ensure a smooth border crossing.

Plan ahead

If entering Canada by land, check border wait times and the official CBSA Directory of Offices and Services for port of entry hours of operation

  • Avoid crossing during peak travel times like weekend evenings and the Monday of a holiday weekend
  • Consider crossing at the least busy port of entry in the area
  • If you are using Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze or another GPS application to direct you to a port of entry, consider checking different navigation options, such as fastest and shortest routes, to determine the preferred route of travel

If entering Canada by air, make your customs declaration 72 hours in advance of your arrival to Canada using Advance Declaration

  • Available as a mobile app and online at Advance Declaration
  • This tool is available to those flying into Toronto, Vancouver, Montréal, Winnipeg, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Billy Bishop, Calgary and Edmonton international airports
  • Using this tool can reduce time at an airport kiosk or eGate by up to 50%

If entering Canada by water, you should review Reporting requirements for private boaters

All travellers entering Canada by boat must report to the CBSA without delay.

Prepare your documents

When you arrive at a port of entry, follow the signs to the first checkpoint, also called “primary inspection.” A border services officer will check your identification and other travel documents and you will answer their questions truthfully.

Have your travel documents handy

  • Make sure you carry proper identification for yourself and any children or minors travelling with you
  • A passport is recommended because it is the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document for the purpose of international travel
  • When travelling with children, bring a signed consent letter to show our officers
    • A consent letter demonstrates that a child has permission to travel outside Canada from every parent or guardian who is not accompanying them on the trip
    • Border services officers are always watching for missing children, and in the absence of the letter, officers may ask additional questions

Have your pet’s paperwork handy

Declare your goods

Be ready to make a full and accurate declaration, including all purchases, food, plant and animal products, all money and currency over $10,000Footnote 1 and any firearms or weapons.

Declare all purchases and have your receipts readily available

  • Returning residents can bring back, tax and duty free, goods valued at $200 after being away for 24 hours, and goods valued at $800 after 48 hours
  • There are no personal exemptions for same-day cross-border shopping trips so be prepared to pay tax on those purchases and possibly duty
  • Use the CBSA duty and taxes estimator to help calculate monies owed
  • Visitors to Canada can bring certain goods into Canada for your own use as personal baggage
    • Personal baggage includes clothing, camping and sports equipment, cameras and personal computers. Learn more: What you can bring with you

Declare all gifts

  • You can bring gifts to Canada but they must be declared
  • If each gift is under $60, you will not have to pay duties or taxes (the gifts cannot be tobacco products, alcoholic beverages or advertising matter)
  • Do not wrap your gifts in case border services officers need to inspect the contents

Declare all foods, plants, animals or other products such as untreated wooden souvenirs

Declare all money or currency equal to or over $10,000

It is not illegal to bring such amounts into Canada, but you must declare it on arrival and/or departure from Canada. Travelling with $10,000 or more

Declare all firearms or weapons

  • Failure to do so means border services officers may seize the weapons and file criminal charges
  • Most weapons are prohibited from entering Canada, including tasers, pepper spray and certain knives
  • Be sure to check the CBSA website for the rules on importing firearms and other restricted and prohibited goods

Not sure? Ask a border services officer. If you are not sure about what to declare, don't hesitate to ask. Our officers are here to help.

Contact us

Border information services

Get help with CBSA programs and services.

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