As one of the busiest holiday travel weekends approaches, the Canada Border Services Agency is offering some tips for safe and efficient travel to and from the United States.
The agency encourages travellers to check the border wait times web page for the latest information at the 26 busiest land ports of entry between Canada and the U.S. Wait times are also available on Twitter by following @CBSA_BWT.
Both the Canadian and U.S. governments offer border wait time websites.
"During this busy travel season, our CBSA officers are working tirelessly to ensure the experience at the border is as smooth and efficient as it can be. To help with that effort, I encourage anyone coming to Canada over the holidays to visit the CBSA website for the most up to date travel tips and advice, and to plan accordingly," CBSA president Luc Portelance said in a release.
Five main travel tips include:
1. Keep travel documents handy
Always make sure the driver and passengers are carrying proper identification when entering Canada. A passport is the preferred document for crossing the border, but a NEXUS card or an enhanced driver's licence are also accepted.
Children under the age of 16 can present an original copy of their birth certificate, a passport or NEXUS card.
For any child who is travelling without their parents or travelling with non-custodial parents, people should be prepared to provide a letter of permission along with parental contact information.
2. Know your purchases
Upon returning, people should know where all their receipts are and know their personal exemptions and restrictions on goods.
If someone has purchased goods in the U.S., mailed gifts, or made major repairs or upgrades to a vehicle or boat, they will need to declare the total value of the purchases and back the claim with receipts.
Each traveller is entitled to certain personal exemptions on items like alcohol and tobacco depending on the length of visit.
3. Know the contents of your vehicles
Some products and materials are not allowed in Canada and are easily forgotten when packed away while travelling. People must declare items such as food in coolers, organic items such as soil, which could be in a fish bait container, and firewood.
The CBSA recommends emptying a car’s trunk of everything other than essential luggage before the trip.
4. Phones off
The CBSA asks people turn off radios and cellphones, roll down the window and remove sunglasses when approaching the inspection booths.
5. Declare money
Those who enter Canada must declare all money or monetary instruments equal to or more than $10,000 Cdn.