Before heading north, be prepared for the border

Published on Wed, Jan 20, 2010
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Planning on travelling to Canada for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games? Here’s what you need to know to facilitate your entry and make your experience a pleasant and memorable one.

Have Proper Identification

Citizens of the United States do not need a passport to enter Canada. However, they should carry proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, as well as photo identification. Permanent residents of the United States are required to present a Permanent Resident Card (i.e., green card) when entering Canada.

Keep in mind that the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is now in effect. This is a U.S. law that requires all travellers, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents, to present a valid passport or other approved secure document when returning to the United States from Canada. For document requirements visit www.getyouhome.gov.

Foreign nationals from other countries entering Canada are required to present a passport and a valid visa if one is required.  For more information on Canadian entry requirements, please visit:  www.goingtocanada.gc.ca.
Admissibility to Canada

Canada’s admissibility requirements will not change during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The same policies and procedures that apply today will be in effect during the Games. All persons seeking entry into Canada must report to the CBSA and must demonstrate they meet all requirements to enter or stay in Canada.

Foreign nationals can be refused admission or removed from Canada for a number of reasons. A criminal conviction – including a conviction of Driving Under the Influence – could make a person inadmissible to Canada.

For that reason, be prepared to discuss your criminal history with a Border Services Officers when arriving in Canada. Visitors to Canada are encouraged to visit the CBSA (www.cbsa.gc.ca) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (www.cic.gc.ca) website in order to ensure they are admissible to Canada.

What Can I Bring Into Canada

You must present and declare all goods upon entry into Canada. It is the traveller's responsibility to know what goods are allowed into Canada, such as food products, alcohol, tobacco, and currency. Some goods may be prohibited and/ or restricted and may require permits, such as firearms and weapons.

Before travelling to Canada, check the CBSA website for important information.

Check Border Wait Times

The CBSA  recognizes that this will be a busy period and encourages all travellers to build extra time into their schedules.

To help expedite your clearance at out land border crossings, the CBSA recommends checking their on-line border wait time service, which is updated regularly: cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/general/times/menu-eng.html; travelling at non-peak travel times; and having documentation and any necessary paperwork ready.

More Information

For more information, visit the Canada Border Services Agency web site (www.cbsa.gc.ca) or call the 24-hour Border Information Service toll-free line at 800/461-9999.