Border Crossing

Here are some helpful tips and hints on how to clear Canadian Customs. Just click on the links below to view the information!

Passports

  • Passports are mandatory in order for you to enter Canada, and are also required for your return to the United States.
  • If you are traveling with children other than your own, please ensure you obtain a written note from their parents and proper identification. This note must state that you have permission to travel with the children, and for them to be in your guardianship.
  • Have your passport open to the picture page, turn the radio OFF, and look the customs officer in the eye.
  • Canadian Customs officials will ask your place of residence (country and city) the purpose of your visit to Canada, how long you intend to stay, and if you have anything to declare.
  • Always answer questions politely and precisely. Be honest with your answers, and do not attempt to joke with the customs officer. This can lead to further delays.
  • Gifts up to $60 (Canadian funds) each in value are duty free, provided they do not contain alcohol, tobacco or advertising material.

Alcohol

  • Each person of legal drinking age is allowed to bring across one case of beer or one 40 oz. bottle of liquor without paying duty.
  • Legal drinking age is 19 years in Ontario.
  • If you are over this limit, make sure you claim the actual amount. You will have to pay duty on this.
  • Do not try to hide extra alcohol, as it can result in consequences with the authorities. 

Cigarettes

  • Each adult over the age of 18 is allowed to bring across one carton of cigarettes, 50 cigars, 200 grams of manufactured tobacco, and 200 tobacco sticks.
  • If you are over this limit, make sure you claim the actual amount. You will have to pay duty on this.
  • Do not try to hide extra cigarettes, as it can result in consequences with the authorities. 

Groceries

  • Each person is allowed to bring a reasonable amount of groceries for their stay.
  • Travellers are required, by law, to declare all plant, animal, and food items they bring into Canada.
  • For more information, please visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

Pets

  • Cats and dogs must have a written Rabies vaccine certificate, dated in the last 36 months.
  • Owners from other countries who wish to bring their pets should contact the nearest Canadian consulate or embassy.
  • For more information regarding bringing your pet, please see The Government of Canada website.

Guns and Ammunition

  • Handguns are not allowed into Canada.
  • Radar Detection equipment is illegal in Canada.
  • Please declare all firearms at the border.
  • Hunters are allowed guns and long rifles, but ask to fill out a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration form, a $30.00 fee, and they are available at each border. Do not sign the forms until the inspection officer requires the signature. You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Visitors to Canada may bring in up to 200 rounds of ammunition for hunting purposes, free of duty.
  • Non Resident Hunters are required to register their guns before entering Canada. This is mandatory.
  • Call toll-free 1-800-731-4000 to get a Firearms Declaration Form.
  • The easiest way to bring a firearm across is to obtain a Canadian PAL (Possession and Acquisition License) prior to importing guns into Canada.
  • If you have a PAL, you do not need to register and there is only a one time fee.
  • Fully automatic weapons, all hand guns and guns of less than 66 cm (26 inches) in length are prohibited by law.
  • Pistols or revolvers may be temporarily imported if you have an Authorization to Transport (ATT) in advance from a Canadian Chief Firearms Officer.
  • For more info on importing firearms into Canada, contact the Canadian Firearms Center. Call 1-800-731-4000 or email canadian.firearms@justice.gc.ca

Criminal Records

  • Individuals with a criminal record must apply for a waiver. This should be done 3 – 4 weeks in advance.
  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence) convictions are considered a criminal offense in Canada.
  • Contact our Executive Director at our NOTO office for steps on admission to Canada. 1-705-472-5552

Duty Free Shops

  • Duty free shops are tax free stores in our area that waive federal and state tax.
  • These may be used if you have not purchased the cigarettes or liquor that is allowed over the border.

Taxes

  • As a visitor to Canada you can claim a refund of 6.5% on every dollar spent while in the country on accommodation.
  • The current HST tax in Ontario is 13%

Driving in Canada

  • Please note that seat belts must be worn at all times
  • Also note certain provinces have banned the use of hand-held devices (cellphones included) while driving. This includes Ontario. This means that you cannot use your cellphone while driving, Bluetooth technology being the exception. In Ontario the use of hand-held electronic entertainment devices while driving is also prohibited. 

Credit Cards

  • Most American credit cards and principal bank cards are honored in Canada
  • VISA is the most widely accepted card

Health Insurance

  • It’s recommended that visitors to Canada obtain traveler health insurance before leaving the U.S.
  • Some health plan’s often do not extend coverage for services received outside the country of residence.

Boaters

  • Pleasure craft may enter Canada by trailer or under their own power and stay for a period of up to 12 months.
  • The required Entry Permit is obtainable from Customs at port-of-entry.
  • All boats powered by motors 10 HP or over must be licensed and the license number clearly indicated on the bow of the vessel.
  • Boat licenses from outside Ontario are acceptable.

Guide Services

  • Many outfitters in the Patricia Region area of Northwestern Ontario offer guide services as an add-on option to your vacation package.
  • Others have detailed lake maps available for purchase.
  • You can also hire a guide on your own.

Re-Entering the United States

  • If you were in Canada for 48 hours or less, you may bring back $25.00 or less back to the U.S. duty free.
  • If your stay in Canada was over 48 hours, you may bring back $400.00  in purchases tax free
  • If you have the $400.00 exemption, you may bring back one carton of cigarettes or 200 cigars. If you are 21 years or older, you can bring back 33.8 oz. of alcohol.
  • Fish may be imported according to the possession limits shown on your Canadian fishing license. A patch of skin must be left on all fillets. Fish must be packaged flat (2 fillets per package). Fish may not be transported without a licensee, even if the transporter has the fish and license of another.
  • All big game must be accompanied by a Canadian Export Permit.