Canada Canada Guide Things To Do Essentials Where to Stay Itineraries All Canada Tips for Driving Across the Border Into Canada Being prepared prevents hassles Written by Jane McLean Jane McLean is an Ontario-based travel writer who has covered Canada for more than 10 years. Tripsavvy's Editorial Guidelines Jane McLean Updated 04/01/20 Fact-Checked by Reviewed on 04/01/20 Jillian Dara Jillian Dara is a freelance travel writer and fact checker. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, USA Today 10Best, Michelin Guide, Hemispheres, DuJour, and Jetsetter. About TripSavvy Fact-Checking Jillian Dara Share Pin Email FotografiaBasica/Getty Images Everyone wants his or her Canadian border crossing to go smoothly. The best way to make sure this happens is to know what to expect and to be prepared. Have the Proper ID All visitors arriving in Canada need a passport or passport equivalent, with the exception of children in certain situations. These stricter requirements were implemented under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) in 2009. Be Ready to Address the Border Officer Passengers should pass their passports and other ID to the driver before reaching the border services booth. In addition, take off your sunglasses, and turn off radios and cell phones. Don't start doing these tasks once you've arrived at the booth. Have a Note for Children Traveling Without Both Parents Adults traveling over the border into Canada with children who are not their own should have a written note from the parents or guardians giving permission for the children to leave the country. The permission should include the name and contact information of the parent or guardian. Even if you are with your own child but not the other parent, bringing the other parent's written permission to take the child over the border is a good idea. Know What You Can and Can't Bring Into Canada Whether you're wondering if you can bring a pet to Canada, how much alcohol and tobacco you're allowed, or what the restrictions are for hunting rifles and motor boats, know the rules for what you can and can't bring into Canada before you show up at the Border Officer's booth. Have Your Car Registration Available Border officials are always on the lookout for stolen vehicles or people trying to avoid duties on vehicles purchased out of the country, so having your car registration on hand is a good idea. Check Your Trunk Unnecessary items in your trunk may be a source of questioning by border officials and may add time to your border crossing. Remove anything other than safety equipment and your luggage. For example, a hard hat left in your trunk may cause border guards to wonder if you are coming to Canada to work. Be Prepared to Answer Questions The Border Services Officer at the Canada-U.S. border will ask you a series of questions, such as, "How long you will be in the country?", "Why are you traveling to Canada?" and, "What is the address of the place where you will you be staying?". Answer these questions directly. This is not a time to seem unsure or crack jokes. Keep Receipts Handy If you've done some cross-border shopping in the U.S. or duty-free at the border, keep the receipts handy in case the border officer asks for them. Be sure to know the liquor, tobacco, and gift limits for visitors crossing the U.S.-Canada border. Many duty-free shops also have food courts and other services, but not all border crossings offer duty-free shops. Roll Down the Front and Back Car Windows Upon arriving at the Canada Border Services booth, roll down your front and back windows so that the border officer can not only speak to the driver but also address people seated in the back of the vehicle and see what's in the back seat. Check out Border Wait Times Before Crossing Before crossing the border into Canada, check out border wait times. Especially if you can choose from two or three different border crossings, such as at Niagara Falls, consult border wait times online to save travel time. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit How to Cross the Canadian-U.S. Border With Kids Documents Needed for Travel Between Canada and the U.S. How to Cross the Border from Vancouver to Seattle Reasons You May Be Denied Entry at the Canada Border The Lowdown on the Niagara Falls Border Crossings The Most Common Questions About Crossing the Canadian Border, Answered Tips on Crossing the U.S. Border Into Canada With Your Children How to How to Travel from San Diego to Tijuana, Mexico, by Car, Foot, Trolley, or Bus Passport Requirements for Driving to Canada How to Travel to Mexico With Children The Complete Guide to Applying for a NEXUS Card Does My Child Need ID to Fly? Find Your Way Around (and to and From) the Cancun Airport Everything You Need to Know to Drive in Israel What You Need to Know About International Travel With Minors What You Need to Know About Visiting Canada From the U.S.