Abbeymoore How-To Part 1: How to get into Canada!

posted on September 20, 2012 by Kara Johancsik

If you’re one of the lucky folks taking the Clipper from Seattle, ferrying in from Port Angeles or a nearby San Juan Island, or crossing the border at any other point, you’ll need to know what to do in order to cross the border as quickly and easily as possible.

Here’s what to do:

  • Bring your passport. All visitors entering Canada must present a valid passport at the border. Some exceptions apply to children crossing the border, and those with passport substitues, such as a NEXUS Card , FAST Card or certain Enhanced Drivers Licenses.  For up to date criteria click here.
  • If you are a U.S. citizen traveling from the United States, you do not need to apply for a visa to enter Canada. Visitors traveling from select countries may need to apply for a visa. You can find out which countries require visas here.
  • Don’t bring the big guns! Canada imposes restrictions on the amount of ammunition and the type of weapons you can bring into the country. You won’t be able to bring any large capacity cartridge magazine, anything that stifles the sound of a firearm, or any other weapon prohibited by regulation. It’s best to play it safe and leave the weaponry at home but if you wish to bring a firearm check out the requirements here.
  • Be sure that any alcohol or tobacco you bring into Canada is declared as
    "For Your Personal Use" or those nasty duties will apply.

Usually, crossing the border is a relatively pain-free experience. You can check the wait times at U.S-Canada border crossings online to help plan your trip, and double check this site to see what you can and cannot bring into the country.

And while you’re in the planning mode, here are a few more things to keep in mind.

Remember to tell your bank where you’re going! U.S. debit cards won’t typically work in Canada unless you notify your bank ahead of time. And while at the bank, grab some Canadian cash. Although some vendors here in Victoria will accept U.S. dollars, it’s always handy to have the local currency on hand.

US Travellers entering the U.S. after staying in Canada between 24 and 48 hours can bring $200 USD worth of merchandise back into the United States without paying duty. This includes 150 milliliters (5 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverage. If you stay in Canada over 48 hours, you can $800 USD back, and 1 liter of alcohol 33.8 fl. oz), or 1 case of beer. Find out more details here!

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