In anticipation of expected increases in travellers crossing the border over the holiday season, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) spoke with First Local News to discuss travel tips to help ensure that a traveller’s experience at the border goes smoothly.
Patrick DesChene, Acting Chief of Operations at the Sault Ste. Marie port of entry, spoke of helpful tips and practical advice to facilitate efficient and expedient border crossings. For more tips, please see the media release below.
Tips to prepare for a smoother trip:
- Plan ahead and check the CBSA border wait times web page. Travellers crossing the border by land are encouraged to cross during non-peak hours such as early morning. The Monday of holiday long weekends tend to be the busiest, with longer border wait times – pick another day to cross the border if you can.
- Have your travel documents handy. Whether travelling by land, air or water, you can help speed things up by coming prepared with your travel documents.
- Be prepared to declare. All travellers must declare their goods upon entry into Canada. For returning residents, have your receipts readily available for goods purchased or received while outside of Canada. You are encouraged not to travel with firearms, but if you choose to do so, be sure to check the CBSA website for the rules on importing firearms and other restricted and prohibited goods.
- Leave gifts unwrapped. If travelling with gifts, make sure they are unwrapped or in gift bags in case border services officers need to inspect the contents.
- Declare any foods, plants, or animals. Consult the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website before bringing any food, plant, and animal products into Canada.
- Bringing turkey across the border? Poultry products must be retail packaged, for human consumption, and labelled as a “Product of the USA”. Homemade food or leftovers containing poultry cannot be brought into Canada. Check the latest Information for travellers: Restrictions on poultry and birds from the United States before bringing these products across the border.
- Save time with Advance Declaration. If you are flying in to the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Billy Bishop, Calgary and Edmonton international airports, you can make your customs and immigration declaration up to 72 hours in advance of your arrival. Using Advance Declaration gives you access to express lanes to get to an airport kiosk or eGate faster.
- When travelling with children, it is recommended that the accompanying adult have a consent letter authorizing them to travel with the child if they share custody or are not the parent or legal guardian. Border services officers are always watching for missing children, and in the absence of the letter, officers may ask additional questions.
- Know your exemption limits. Returning residents who make purchases or pick up online purchases outside of Canada should be aware of their personal exemption limits. Use the CBSA duty and taxes estimator to help calculate your monies owed.
- Cannabis: Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out. Bringing cannabis across the border in any form, including oils containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada is a serious criminal offence subject to arrest and prosecution, despite the legalization of cannabis in Canada. A medical prescription from a doctor does not count as Health Canada authorization.
- Bringing fireworks into Canada? Consult importing or exporting fireworks to ensure that the ones you are bringing in are authorized.
- Not sure? Ask a border services officer. The best thing you can do to save time is to be open and honest with the CBSA officer. If you are not sure about what to declare, don’t hesitate to ask. Our officers are here to help!