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#USImmigrationLaw: 7 Things to Know About Crossing the Canadian Border

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on August 22, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Canadians are friendly, and that's not just a stereotype. But that also doesn't mean that their borders are any less secure than our own. There are strict requirements for identification to cross the Canadian border as well as stringent controls on what you can bring into and out of the country.

So whether you're headed for work or a weekend getaway, by boat, car, train, or plane, here's what you need to know about crossing the Canadian border:

1. ID to Get In

The documentation you'll need to enter Canada will depend on how you're traveling, but it's generally a good idea to have your passport handy.

2. NEXUS Best Thing

Frequent travelers to Canada can apply for the NEXUS program that provides pre-screened travelers expedited access across the border.

3. Wait a Minute

If you're crossing the border by land, there may be a wait. Luckily, Canada's Border Services Agency (CBSA) has a wait time estimator for current and future wait times so you can know before you go.

4. Ditch the Drugs

It should go without saying, but don't try to bring illegal drugs into Canada. And don't try to bring them back into the United States, either.

5. Alcohol, Tobacco...

Canada also has strict limits on legal intoxicants as well. For instance you can bring a couple bottles of wine, 24 cans of beer, or 200 cigarettes into the country, but only if you've been away from Canada for 48 hours or more.

6. ...and Firearms

When entering Canada you need to declare all firearms and weapons to the CBSA and provide documentation proving that you are entitled to possess the weapons in Canada.

7. Dual Border Control

Assuming you're not planning to stay in Canada forever, you'll encounter Canada's CBSA on the way there, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the way back. Here's what you need to know about crossing the Canadian border coming home.

Make sure you have all your legal ducks in a row before you try crossing the Canadian border. If you have more questions you can contact an experienced immigration attorney near you.

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