How to Cross the Border into Canada: In case you haven’t heard the news, I WON a trip to Canada! But wait… it didn’t include air fare so I wanted to share my road trip adventures with you, and answer questions you may have about crossing the Northern border into Canada. I had so many questions about driving across the Canadian boarder and found few answers on line so I’ll try to answer all of the queries I had so you can be spared the worry.
Tip #1 – A passport is strongly encouraged! The days of travel with a drivers license or your birth certificate are long gone after the attack on September 11th, although there are some reports that say you CAN cross from United States into Canada with just a drivers license in hand it’s not suggested this day in age.
Tip #2 – Criminal stay home! Canada sometimes denies entry to United States citizens that have been convicted of crimes such as: human trafficking, organized crime, terrorism, and sometimes even driving while impaired convictions.
Tip #3 – Minors (those under age 18) will be carefully scrutinized! When we passed the border with our 2 kids in the back seat the border agent requested the windows be rolled down to see the children, match up their passports with faces, and ask them a question or two (to be sure they aren’t drugged/afraid etc) Divorced parents should carry a court ordered separation/custody agreement with the courts seal. If you are traveling with a group caravan style, be sure parents are in the SAME cars with children when making the cross over the boarder to avoid confusion and delay so border agents can quickly and easily match up parents with kids.
Tip #4 – Don’t pack a homemade lunch for border crossing! Canada doesn’t allow things such as fruits and vegetables to pass borders, only sealed foods (think a bag of potato chips from the grocery store) so leave your sandwich and macaroni salad at home.
Tip #5 – Declare, declare, declare! When in doubt be sure to declare your items with your border patrol agent. If your car is chosen for inspection and you haven’t declared items in question you may receive a hefty fine and potentially imprisonment depending on the items. Take no chances!
For further information, go to this Canadian government website for “official” rules and laws. All in all we were amazed at the simplicity of crossing the border. We had only 2 cars in front of us and were detained at what looks like a fast food drive up window, for less than 5 minutes. Safe travels!