It wasn’t until I decided to plan a road trip to Canada so that my 7 yr old could visit his first country, did I realize how intimidated folks are about traveling outside the United States. Almost every time someone learned of our upcoming travel Canada trip I was asked a host of questions about crossing the border and getting back into the country.
A lot has changed in recent years and our travel to and from Canada and Mexico has become more restricted. The good news however is that you can still travel Canada and Mexico with the proper documentation. There are two options: a Passport Card or a traditional US Passport. A passport card is less expensive than a traditional passport but there are limitations.
“The passport card is a wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border-crossings or ports-of-entry by sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda” -travel.state.gov
Unless you are certain you will never travel anywhere other than Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda, I would suggest that you go ahead and get a traditional passport.
Travel Canada – Border Crossing Tips
Be Prepared To Show You ID – Duh! No, seriously, have your id out and ready to show it. This includes all of the passengers in your vehicle too.
Answer Any Questions You are Asked – This is not the time to question the questions. In this moment it doesn’t matter why they are asking you a certain question, what matters is that you answer it promptly and honestly. Border Security Officers are often looking for missing children so don’t be surprised if you have to answer questions about any minors traveling with you.
Know What You Can and Can’t Carry Across the Border – While most of the prohibited items are common sense, you should take a look at the list to avoid any of your items being confiscated and to ensure a quicker passage.
Check Wait Times – The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has a site where you can check the border wait times. This will help you plan ahead.
Get the App – The CBSA has an app to assist you with border crossing. It is easy to use and a I recommend it for any travel Canada road trips. The app is called CanBorder and is available for download on iPhone and Android.
Be Patient and Kind – Last but not least, remember to be respectful and courteous to the Border Security Officers and government personnel. They are doing there jobs to protect you and others and ensure the laws of he land are being followed.
A Note About Driving In Canada
Your U.S. issued Driver’s license is valid in Canada. Your car insurance coverage applies in Canada just as it does in the U.S. for trips up to 6 months. Remember, that if stopped by police officers you will have to show your driver’s license and proof of insurance, just as you do in the U.S. so make sure you have these documents handy.
Stay tuned for stories and some amazing photos from our trip to Niagara Falls! Share any border crossing stories you have in the comments below! Let’s learn and/or laugh with each other.