Spending Canada Day long weekend across the border? Here are some tips to ease your crossing

If you’re planning to cross the border into the United States this Canada Day long weekend, be prepared for a long wait in both directions. The Canada Border Services Agency is anticipating high volumes at its ports of entry. Here are some tips from the CBSA to facilitate your border crossing:

New Surtax:

Starting this Canada Day, a new surtax will be applied to certain goods from the U.S. (including steel, aluminium and some household products) if you exceed your personal exemption. This means you could end up paying a 10 per cent surtax on your ketchup or yogurt if you exceed your exemption limit. A list of goods subject to the surtax is available on the Department of Finance’s website.

Know your purchases and keep your travel documents handy:

Know your personal exemptions and restrictions and make sure that each passenger has the correct travel document. Have your travel documents (preferably a passport) and receipts in hand when you arrive at the border.

Declare all purchases, acquisitions, and gifts when returning to Canada. The general rule: the longer you’re away from Canada, the more you can bring back. If you are bringing gifts for someone else, don’t wrap them as the border security officers may want to examine them.

Plan your border crossing:

Check border wait times using the CanBorder App and cross at the least busy port of entry in the area. Plan entry during non-peak hours such as early morning. The Monday of holiday long weekends tends to be busiest, so plan around it. For Canadian border waits click here. For U.S. waits click here.

Know the contents of your vehicle:

Travellers can consult the CBSA’s website for information on firearms and other restricted and prohibited goods. Declare all your goods.

Become a NEXUS member:

NEXUS is designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada and the United States.

Do not travel with cannabis:

Cannabis is not yet legal in Canada. And even when it is, it will remain illegal to take it across the border.

Not sure? Ask the CBSA officer – The single best thing you can do to save time returning to Canada is to simply be open and honest with the CBSA officer. If you are not sure about what to declare, don’t hesitate to ask. The officers are there to help you.

For more information, visit the CBSA website or contact the Border Information Service.

Read the story: How much booze can I bring across the border … and other Canadian questions


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