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Border Crossing

The provided information below is intended for anyone planning a trip to Canada.

Land, Sea and Air Travel

U.S. Citizens

On June 1, 2009, U.S. citizens returning home from Canada by air, land or sea, will be required to present one of the travel documents listed below.

U.S. Passport

This is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies a person’s identity and nationality. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea.

U.S. Passport Card

This is a new, limited-use travel document that fits in your wallet and costs less than a U.S. Passport. It is only valid for travel by land and sea.

Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL)

Several states and Canadian provinces/territories are issuing this driver’s license or identification document that denotes identity and citizenship. It is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea.

Trusted Traveler Program Cards

NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST enrolment cards can speed your entry into the U.S. and are issued only to pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The cards are valid for use at land or sea; the NEXUS card can be used in airports with a NEXUS kiosk.

Note: Beginning June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizen children under age 16 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card. For more information on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative please visit www.cbp.gov.

A visitor from all other countries requires a valid passport and in some cases a visitor’s visa. Visit the Canada Immigration web site: www.immigration.ca.

Have you or a traveler in your group been charged with a felony or misdemeanor?

These are important things you’ll need to know:

DUI / DWI or assault convictions: While DUI / DWI and assault charges are often considered a misdemeanor in the United States, these are considered criminal offences in Canada. A DUI / DWI or assault conviction may prevent you from crossing the border into Canada.

Offenses under the Wildlife Act: These do not usually render you inadmissible in Canada but any offense under a Federal Act may require that you have a permit to enter Canada.

Juvenile offenses: In most circumstances, convictions that occurred under 18 years of age will not affect your ability to cross the border.

Offenses committed while in Canada: If you are convicted of a criminal offense in Canada, you must apply for a pardon to seal that record. This can take up to one year.

Any non-Canadian who possess a criminal record may not be allowed to enter Canada.

What you can do

Apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP): This is valid for business and/or pleasure for a restricted amount of time. TRPs are generally awarded to those whose offenses are less than 5 years ago. This is at the discretion of immigration officials and is normally issued for a single visit. There is an administration fee. Visitors who plan on returning to Canada should then complete the Granted Rehabilitation Process before their next trip.

Apply for Rehabilitation: This document is awarded to those who have completed their sentence more than 5 years ago. This is a permanent approval valid for business or pleasure and never needs to be renewed. This application may take 4 to 10 months and is valid as long as the applicant does not re-offend.

Anyone having only one misdemeanor, and no other offences of any kind, and completed their sentence more than 10 years ago, likely does not require a permit.

Canadian Border Crossing Services can help you apply for a Temporary Resident Permit or Rehabilitation document.

Who you can call

You can speak to NOTO (Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario) over the phone at 1-800-665-5787.

For more information call Border Information Service (BIS) phone number at 1-506-636-5064.

What you can bring with you

Duty free articles that may be taken into Canada are:

You are allowed to import only one of the following amounts of alcohol free of duty and taxes:

  • 1.5 litres (53 imperial ounces) of wine
  • 1.14 litres (40 ounces) of liquor
  • a total of 1.14 litres (40 ounces) of wine and liquor; or 24 x 355 millilitre (12 ounces) cans or bottles (maximum of 8.5 litres) of beer or ale

You are allowed to bring in all of the following amounts of tobacco free of duty and taxes:

  • 200 cigarettes
  • 50 cigars or cigarillos
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco; and 200 tobacco sticks

Any additional quantities will require full duty and taxes to be paid on the excess amount.

Firearms and Weapons

Canada’s firearms legislation helps make the country safer for both residents and visitors. Before you attempt to import a firearm or weapon, contact the Canada Firearms Centre for information.

The following requirements apply to the importation of firearms and weapons:

  • you must be at least 18 years of age
  • you can import non-restricted and restricted firearms provided all documentation and other requirements are met
  • you generally cannot import prohibited firearms or any type of prohibited weapons or devices, including silencers, replica firearms, switchblades, pepper spray and other weapons

You must declare all weapons and firearms at the port of entry. If not, you could face prosecution and the goods may be seized. Visitors may temporarily import non-restricted firearms, such as common hunting rifles and shotguns, if they complete Form CAFC 909, Non-Resident Firearm Declaration, and have a valid purpose (e.g. hunting, target shooting, for protection from wild animals in remote areas where firearms are allowed).

If they want to import restricted firearms, such as pistols or revolvers, in addition to Form CAFC 909 visitors must complete and submit Form CAFC 679, Application for an Authorization to Transport Restricted Firearms and Prohibited Firearms, in advance to the chief firearms officer of the province or territory to which they intend to import a restricted firearm.

Seasonal residents may import non-restricted firearms but they must have a valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) (see Form CAFC 921, Application for a Possession and Acquisition Licence Under the Firearms Act [For Individuals Aged 18 and Over]) or a valid Possession Only Licence (POL). They may also import restricted firearms but they must have a valid PAL or POL and complete Form CAFC 679 in advance. For more detailed information on importing a firearm or weapon into Canada, please refer to the publication called Importing a Firearm or Weapon Into Canada or call BIS at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called “Additional information.”

For information about applying for a Canadian firearms license, a firearms registration certificate or to obtain an application for a CAFC 679 in advance, please contact:

Canada Firearms Centre

Phone: 1.800.731.4000 (toll-free in Canada and the United States)
506.624.5380 (from all other countries)
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca

Vehicles and Insurance

Any necessary permits are issued at the port of entry. If you’ve rented a vehicle or trailer, make sure you bring along a copy of the rental contract, which stipulates that you have permission to use it in Canada. U.S. motorists planning to travel in Canada are advised to obtain a Canadian Non-Resident Interprovincial Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card available only in the U.S. Contact your local insurance agency. For more information contact Canadian Border Services 204.983.3500 or 506.636.5064, or visit the website at www.cbsa.gc.ca.

Border Information Service

If you have any questions, contact the Border Information Service (BIS) line. This is a 24-hour telephone service that automatically answers all incoming calls and provides general border services information. You can access BIS free of charge throughout Canada by calling 1.800.461.9999.If you are calling from outside Canada, you can access BIS by calling 204.983.3500 or 506.636.5064 (long distance charges will apply). If you call during regular business hours (8:00am to 4:00pm local time, Monday to Friday, except holidays), you can speak directly to an agent by pressing “0” at any time. You can also visit the website www.cbsa.gc.ca.