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10 Tips for Visiting the USA by Car

Traveling to the United States from Canada is not always a simple task. With strict border crossing rules and typical long wait times, here are 10 quick tips to make your next trip to the US more pleasant:

10. Love to have devilled eggs in your picnic basket? You’ll have to wait to cross the border. You are not allowed to bring eggs into the United States.

09. Planning a campfire at the end of your day, don’t pack firewood. Carrying firewood into the USA from Canada is prohibited.

08. Don’t pack fruit, vegetables, plants and plant materials, because you must declare them. You can be fined for failing to declare agricultural products.

07. If you are arriving by car ferry from Victoria, BC, you may be subject to a preclearance inspection.

06. Answer questions honestly and politely. US Border Guards have the power to detain you or refuse entry.

05. Arrive at the border crossing with a full tank of gas. Waiting to cross can consume gas, especially on hot days when you want to keep your cool by running the air conditioning.

04. If you are in a hurry, don’t shop at Duty Free before crossing the border. You must declare your purchases, and that might trigger an inspection.

03. Because wait times for clearance at border crossings are variable, depending on time of day and day of crossing, pack to entertain: extra DVDs, toys, and games for the kids; books or music for the adults.

02. Some border crossing points are speedier than others. For example, the Lewiston Bridge crossing takes an average of 6 minutes, whereas the Peace Bridge crossing takes an average of 11 minutes. Here is a handy border wait time document.

01. Canadian citizens must have proper identification for everyone in the car who intends to cross the US border. Proper identification is a passport or ENHANCED driver’s license; or Identification Card, NEXUS, FAST/ EXPRESS or SENTRI enrollment cards. For children under 15 years of age or under, an original or copy of the birth certificate or a Canadian Citizenship Card are acceptable. If your children are between 16 and 18 years of age, they must have a valid passport. These rules do not apply to Landed Immigrants living in Canada. For the most up-to-date and complete details visit US Customs and Border Protection.



 

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