The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reminds all travellers of what to expect when crossing the border this holiday season, whether they will be returning to or visiting Canada.
Here are some tips to help you plan for your trip:
- Plan ahead and check border wait times and alternate ports of entry. Travellers crossing the border by land are encouraged to cross during non-peak hours.
- Use Advance CBSA Declaration. Travellers arriving at the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, and Québec City international airports can choose to make their customs and immigration declaration to the CBSA prior to their arrival using the Advance CBSA Declaration feature within ArriveCAN and save time at the border. For travellers who submit their customs and immigration information in advance using ArriveCAN, the CBSA has launched dedicated Express Lanes at Vancouver, Montreal-Trudeau and Toronto Pearson international airports. The Advance CBSA Declaration Express Lanes will help travellers get to an airport kiosk or eGate faster when they arrive at an airport.
- Ensure you are eligible to enter Canada. Foreign nationals must meet the admissibility requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and ensure they carry all necessary travel and immigration documentation. Admissibility decisions are made by a border services officer at the time of entry.
- Know your exemption limits. Returning residents planning to make purchases or pick up online purchases across the border should be aware of their personal exemption limits. You are encouraged to use the CBSA duty and taxes estimator to help calculate your monies owed on purchases made while abroad.
- Be prepared to declare. All travellers must declare their goods upon entry into Canada and this includes gifts. Have your receipts readily available for goods purchased or received while outside of Canada. If travelling with firearms, you are encouraged to consult the CBSA’s website for the rules on 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.
- Cannabis: Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out. Transporting cannabis across the border in any form, including any oils containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada remains 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.
- Declare any foods, plants, or animals such as raw meats, fruits, house plants, live animals, wood products (including firewood and wooden souvenirs) at the border. Be sure to check the Automated Import Reference System to help determine all specific import requirements.
- Avoid importing raw poultry products or by-products. There are currently restrictions on imports of live birds, bird products and by-products from U.S. states affected by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. It is recommended you not bring poultry products – including a turkey, eggs, and/or chicken – into Canada. Otherwise, be prepared to prove the origin of your poultry product at the border.
- When travelling with children, it is recommended that the accompanying adult have a consent letter authorizing them to travel with the child. Border services officers are always watching for missing children, and in the absence of the letter, officers may ask additional questions, to help them identify the relationship between the child and the accompanying adult.
- Not sure? Ask a CBSA officer. The best thing you can do to save time arriving in Canada 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.
For more information, visit the CBSA Web site or call us at 1-800-461-9999.