Canada Border Services Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

News Release

National

Include a smooth border crossing as a “must-do” part of your summer plans

Ottawa, Ontario, June 28, 2012 –With Canada Day celebrations around the corner, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) would like to remind travellers entering or returning to Canada that the key to a smooth border crossing is preparation.

Whether boating, camping or simply visiting Canada, you can use these tips below to help you prepare for your crossing.

Tips for all travellers

All travellers entering Canada may want to take note of the following:

  • Bring the proper travel documents for each person, such as a passport or NEXUS card.
  • Make the most of your time: take advantage of our Border Wait Times service, and avoid entering during peak periods such as Friday or Sunday evenings. Generally, mornings are a much quieter time to cross.
  • If you are bringing alcohol or tobacco products into Canada be aware of the limits and declare all amounts:
    • Only one of the following amounts of alcoholic beverages may be imported free of duty and taxes (when stays are more than 48 hours): 1.14 L (40 oz.) of liquor; or 1.5 L of wine; or 24 X 355 ml (8.5 L) containers of beer. You must be of legal age in the province of importation.
    • All the following amounts of tobacco products may be imported free of duty and taxes (when stays are more than 48 hours): 200 cigarettes; 50 cigars or cigarillos; 200 tobacco sticks; and 200 g (7 oz.) of manufactured tobacco (a special duty fee might be applicable).
  • It’s fireworks season, but remember you need a permit before importing them into Canada.
  • If you are travelling with minors the CBSA has tips for caregivers.
  • Canada’s Be Aware and Declare Web site is a great source of information for travellers.

Tips for returning Canadian residents:

  • Remember there are new personal exemption limits in place, and don’t forget to keep the receipts handy for all your foreign purchases when returning to Canada.

    New limits for personal exemptions

    After being away for:  
    Less than 24 hours There is no personal exemption for stays less than 24 hours.
    24 hours or more $CAN200
    If the amount being imported exceeds $CAN200, the duty and taxes are applicable on the entire amount of the imported goods.
    48 hours or more $CAN800, including alcohol and tobacco
    Duty and taxes are applicable on the amount of imported goods above $CAN800.
    7 days or more

    $CAN800, including alcohol and tobacco
    Duty and taxes are applicable on the amount of imported goods above $CAN800.
    Goods may be in your possession at time of entry to Canada but are also permitted to follow entry to Canada (via courier, mail or delivery agent or pickup by the importer).
    Alcohol and tobacco must be in your possession at the time of entry to qualify for a duty free exemption.

  • Check online for other great travel tips for residents.

Tips for visitors to Canada:

Tips for boaters and campers:

Visiting Canada for some time in the great outdoors? Keep these tips in mind to help keep your summer trek on track:

  • People arriving in Canada by water on a private vessel have to follow the same rules for reporting to the CBSA as for any other mode of arrival. See our fact sheet on boater reporting requirements before you leave.
  • Did you know you can use your NEXUS membership if arriving by water as well as on land? NEXUS cards are a handy tool for people who regularly enter Canada by boat.
  • You can bring camping gear provided it is clean and free of soil, pests and other natural debris.
  • Declare any food you may be bringing with you. There may be limits on the amount of certain food products you can bring.
  • There are restrictions on bringing firewood and firearms with you.

The CBSA wishes all travellers a great summer and safe holidays.

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