Be prepared on cross border trips

The Victoria Day and Memorial Day holiday weekends mark the start of the summer season at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The Victoria Day and Memorial Day holiday weekends mark the start of the summer season at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). This summer season, the CBSA anticipates an increase in traveller volumes and would like to advise travellers that this may affect border wait times at some ports of entry.

The CBSA is committed to providing the best possible service, and routinely plans and adjusts staffing levels for anticipated increases in traffic volumes during peak travel periods. Their objective remains to facilitate the travel of legitimate people and goods while maintaining the safety and security of all Canadians.

Travellers can help to expedite their border clearance by planning ahead and being prepared before arriving at the border. Here are some travel tips that will help you prepare:

* Avoid crossing during peak travel times and consider crossing at the least busy port of entry in the area.

* Check border wait times on the CBSA Web site or on your Web-enabled mobile device at www.wap.gc.ca, or follow on Twitter for hourly border wait time updates, visit www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca to find the Twitter handle of the border you want to follow.

* Ensure that you have proper identification for everyone in the vehicle readily available when you arrive at the border. Acceptable forms of identification for entry into both the United States and Canada include a passport, U.S. passport card, a NEXUS card or an enhanced driver’s licence.

* If you are travelling with children, have their identification ready and a letter of permission for any child who is travelling without their parents or travelling with non-custodial parents.

* Know your personal exemptions, including those for alcohol and tobacco. Declare all purchases (including duty-free purchases) and have your receipts for all purchases readily available. Undervaluing or not declaring purchases can result in serious consequences.

* There are no personal exemptions for same-day travel. The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is payable on purchases made during same-day crossings, and duties could also be applicable.

* Declare all money or monetary instruments equal to or over $10,000 CAN.

* Souvenirs can be a fun way to remember your trip abroad, but certain goods are prohibited from entering Canada including some food, plant and animal products. Be aware of what goods are prohibited from entering Canada by consulting the I Declare brochure.

* Use your NEXUS card and save time at air, marine and land ports of entry when entering Canada or the United States. Visit www.nexus.gc.ca for more information or to apply for a membership.

Further information on these tips and more can be found on the CBSA Web site.

For general border inquiries, call our Border Information Service at 1‑800‑461-9999 in Canada, or at 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064 outside of Canada (long distance charges will apply).

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