Duty Free Canada :: Border Crossing Information (2023)

General Questions

Are Canadian Land Border Duty Free Stores government owned?

No, the 32 Canadian Land Border Duty Free stores are all independently owned and operated by Canadians and are located across Canada. Each Canadian Land Border Duty Free owner is licensed by the Canadian government and adheres to Canada Border Service Agency’s standards and regulations due to the secure nation by which the stores are located.

I am Canadian, can I shop at Duty Free?

Yes, you can. If you are Canadian you can shop at Duty Free. There are advantages to shopping with us.

You can find unique Canadian products at lower prices than other retailers in Canada, and you can find products often not found in the U.S., like local award-winning wines, for example, ice wines. You’re also supporting local economies.

Does every border crossing have a Duty Free store?

Canada and America share 140 border crossings. Only 32 offer the benefits of Duty Free shopping.

Follow this link, or click on “Locations” at the bottom of this website to find the Duty Free store nearest you.

If I live in Canada and visit a Duty Free store can I turn around and never leave Canada?

You cannot stop at Duty Free and stay in Canada. In order for shoppers to take advantage of the savings in tax, you must also cross the border.

If I stop at Duty Free, do I still have to go through customs?

Yes, it’s the law. Be sure to follow the Canadian or American border crossing guidelines and be aware of customs allowances.

Is there a difference between Canadian and U.S. Duty Free?

Yes, Canadian and U.S. Duty Free stores are separate business entities and are not related.

Canadian Duty Free stores are located on the Canadian side of the border and are owned and operated by independent business people.

Border crossing procedure

Do I have to pay a fee to cross the border?

There is no fee to visit a Duty Free store, however there is a border crossing toll charge at select border crossings. You can pay in Canadian or U.S. currency.

What kind of questions are asked at the border?

Most of the time Border Services will ask questions related to your citizenship, as well as questions related to your journey (Where are you going? How long have you been away?).

(Video) USA to Canada Border Crossing (2022 RESTRICTIONS UPDATE)

The process typically takes 1 to 2 minutes.

What is the border crossing procedure if I’m part of a bus group?

Passengers of a bus group undergo the same procedures as passengers of private vehicles.

My child seat meets Canadian safety regulations. Do I have to change it when driving in the US?

You do not need to change your baby seat when driving to the U.S. if you are driving a Canadian registered vehicle on a personal or business trip.

If you plan to move to, and live in, the U.S. you will need to purchase a U.S. standards-approved baby seat. The reverse is true for Americans, round-trip journeys in personal vehicles do not require changing your baby seat.

Documents and identification you’ll need to cross the border.

For Canadian adults

I’m Canadian, do I need a passport?

Canadians 16 years old and over can enter the U.S. by showing a valid piece of one of the following proofs of identification to the customs officer at the border:

    • Canadian passport
    • NEXUS card
    • Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card
    • Enhanced driver’s license (EDL) or enhanced identification card (EIC)
    • Secure Certificate of Indian Status

Click here for information on renewing your passport.

For Canadian minors

Do Canadian children need passports?

Canadians 15 years old and under can enter the U.S. with an original (or a photocopy) of a birth certificate, or an original citizenship card.

Canadians 16 years old and over will require a passport, NEXUS pass, FAST pass, Enhanced driver’s licence (EDL) or enhanced identification card (EIC).

I’m a minor (18 years old or younger), can I travel alone to the U.S.?

Yes, you can, however you should have written consent from your parents or guardians. If you are under a certain age you will almost certainly require written consent. Please visit Canadian Border Services or the U.S. Department of State for the latest information.

For Canadian residents who are not citizens

I’m a permanent resident/landed immigrant. How do I visit the U.S.?

Permanent residents in Canada must first apply for a non-immigrant visa and present this with their passport to U.S. customs officials. Find out here if you need a non-immigrant visa.

You will likely need to undergo the US-VISIT programme.

Click here for the latest requirements for Canadians crossing the border.

(Video) DUTY FREE CANADA/US BORDER / 🇨🇦IDAHO🇺🇸

For Americans

I’m American, do I need a passport?

U.S. Citizens can present a valid: passport; passport card; Enhanced Driver’s License; trusted traveller program card (NEXUS, FAST or SENTRI);

U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when travelling in conjunction with official maritime business, if eligible; or U.S. Military identification card when travelling on official orders.

Click here for the latest requirements for Americans crossing the border.

Click here for information on how to apply for a U.S. passport.

Click here to renew a U.S. passport.

For everyone

Do I need different documents depending which way I cross the border?

Generally, Canadians and Americans require similar documents (passports, NEXUS cards) but there are some differences.

Please review all the information in this section for further details or visit Canadian Border Services Agency or the Department of Homeland Security.

Questions about medical and travel insurance

Do I need travel insurance?

If you are travelling in a personal vehicle, buying travel insurance is a personal choice.

If you are part of a tour group, you may want to consider travel insurance. Canadians are recommended to purchase medical insurance.

Do I need medical insurance?

Assume that your Canadian government health care plan is not valid abroad. Only a small portion of medical expenses may be covered. It is recommended that you purchase additional medical insurance for your trip to the U.S., even if you are going for just one day.

(Video) Duty Free Allowances for Crossing into Canada; How Much Alcohol can You Bring Through the Gate?

For Canadians travelling to the U.S., but driving through another province first, additional medical insurance is also recommended because government health plans are not fully valid between provinces.

Americans will often need to purchase additional medical insurance. Please check with your insurer.

Questions about search and privacy

Do I need to go through a body scanner?

Body scanners are a technology used at airports. At the moment, they are not used at land border crossings.

Will my luggage/vehicle be scanned?

Vehicles are scanned for RFID tags and radioactivity while they wait in line, just ahead of the customs officer booth. Your luggage is not directly scanned, but is covered in this process.

Can customs search my laptop, camera and mp3 player?

Yes, U.S. customs has the legal right to open and review your electronic devices.

Potential problems at the border

I have a criminal record; can I still cross the border?

Yes, you can. However it does depend on your conviction and the time since your last conviction.

You may require permission from U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services, and possibly need to apply for a U.S. Entry Waiver.

Can I drive a car that is not registered in my name? Like my father’s car?

You can drive a car that is not registered in your name. However, it is best to have the written consent of the car owner to avoid suspicion. Ensure you have proof of insurance and registration.

I’m travelling with kids who are not mine (i.e. driving a sport team to a competition). What do I need to be aware of?

You must have written consent from the parents or guardians giving permission for the children to leave the country.

The consent should state the name and contact information of the parent / guardian. It is also recommended to have the consent letter notarized Please visit Canadian Border Services or the U.S. Department of State for the latest information.

I’m travelling with my children but not with my spouse. What do I need to be aware of?

If you are travelling with your children, but the other parent / guardian is not with you, it is prudent to get written consent. The consent should grant permission for the children to leave the country, and state the name and contact information of the other parent / guardian. Please visit Canadian Border Services or the U.S. Department of State for the latest information.

(Video) Duty Free Canada: Canadian Customs Allowances EXTENDED VERSION

I’m travelling with my grandchildren but not with their parents. What do I need to be aware of?

If you are travelling with your grandchildren, but their parents / guardian are not with you, it is prudent to get written consent. The consent should grant permission for the children to leave the country, and state the name and contact information of the parents / guardian. Please visit Canadian Border Services or the U.S. Department of State for the latest information.

Can I drive a rental car over the border?

Yes, generally you can drive a rental vehicle across the border. You should inform your car rental company that you will cross the border and they will inform you of their individual policies. It is best that you keep a copy of the rental agreement with you.

There is one exception, Canadians may not drive a U.S. owned rental car in Canada.

What can or can’t I bring across the border into the U.S.

Do I have to declare food? Even my sandwich?

Travellers to the U.S. must declare all food, plants and animals. This includes fruit, vegetables, snacks and beverages.

Food prepared in the home, such as a sandwich, is listed as exempt from requiring declaration. However, to avoid an innocent mistake, it is safer to declare. Be aware that if the value of the food you bring is above your customs allowance, you may have to pay duty.

Can I bring my prescription medicine?

Yes, you can bring your prescription medicine, however, please ensure you follow these guidelines:

  • Keep each medicine in its original container with identification label
  • If possible, carry a copy of the prescription in case you are asked for it. This may help you too if you lose your medicine and need it filled outside of Canada.
  • Check that your medicine is legal in the U.S.

Can I carry large amounts of cash across the border?

You can carry up to $10,000USD without declaring it to customs. You can carry more, but you must declare this to U.S. Customs.

Can I carry firearms across the border?

Canadians will need an export permit. Contact the Export Controls Division of International Trade Canada to find out more.

Americans should have registered their firearm with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms before leaving the U.S.

Visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency for a complete reference to what can and cannot be brought into the U.S.

Pets and animals

Can I bring a pet?

Yes, you can bring your pet with some conditions. Some States require cats to have proof of rabies vaccinations, and all customs officials may request a veterinarian inspection if they suspect your cat is ill. Dogs must have a certificate showing they have been vaccinated against rabies. Any pet suspected of illness will likely be detained by customs. You do not have to pay duty on your pet cat or dog.

(Video) Duty Free Explained

Can I transport a horse?

For horses and all other animals please visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture for importation details.

What happens if I have visited a farm?

You should inform U.S. Border Services if you live on, or visited, a farm or if you have been around livestock. Unless you have been to a country with known health and safety issues, your farm visit is unlikely to be an issue.

FAQs

Do I have to answer CBSA questions? ›

You do not have to answer questions asked by CBSA officers outside of an immigration examination or hearing.

What questions do they ask you at the Canadian border? ›

First interview: official documents
  • Are you traveling with your family?
  • Have you been convicted of a serious crime in your home country?
  • How long do you plan to stay in Canada?
  • How much money do you have with you?
  • Are you healthy?
  • Have you been to Canada before? Were you required to leave?
12 Mar 2019

How much do you have to declare at customs Canada? ›

There are no restrictions on the amount of money you can bring into or take out of Canada, nor is it illegal to do so. However, any time you cross the border, you must declare any currency or monetary instruments you have in your possession that are valued at CAN$10,000 or more.

What info do border guards see? ›

Any criminal history. Your citizenship status. Family members and relatives. Various types of tax information such as any Delinquent Tax payments.

Can you refuse to answer immigration questions? ›

You do not have to answer questions asked by immigration officers if you do not want to answer them. This includes questions about your citizenship status, birthplace or place of residence. If you are asked about your immigration status and you wish to remain silent, you may say: “I have the right to remain silent.” 2.

Do you have to answer border checkpoint questions? ›

If you are held at the checkpoint for more than brief questioning, you can ask the agent if you are free to leave. You always have the right to remain silent. However, if you don't answer questions to establish your citizenship, officials may detain you longer in order to verify your immigration status.

What is required to cross the border into Canada? ›

All international travellers must carry acceptable identification and a valid visa (if necessary) when entering Canada. A passport is recommended because it is the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document for the purpose of international travel.

What do they check at Canadian border? ›

Canada Border Services Agency ( CBSA ) officers are allowed to examine all goods you have with you when you cross the border. This means that just like your luggage, our officers can examine your cell phones, tablets, laptops and any other digital device you are carrying.

How do I pass the border force interview? ›

3 TIPS FOR PASSING THE BORDER FORCE OFFICER INTERVIEW!

The skills and qualities needed to become a Border Force Officer include being vigilant, inquisitive, using skillful communication skills, remaining calm under pressure and also following rules and procedures.

How much duty-free can you bring into Canada? ›

You can claim goods worth up to CAN$800 without paying any duty and taxes. You must have the goods with you when you enter Canada. You can bring back up to 1.5 litres of wine or 1.14 litres of alcoholic beverages or up to 8.5 litres of beer.

Do I have to declare duty-free items Canada? ›

You must declare all gifts to the Canada Border Services Agency. You: can bring in gifts worth CDN $60 or less each duty-free and tax-free. may have to pay duties and taxes on any amount over CDN $60.

What happens if you don't declare something in customs? ›

Merchandise is declared to CBP. If you do not declare something that should have been declared, you risk forfeiting the item.

Can a border agent search your phone? ›

Unlike other law enforcement, border authorities don't need a warrant to search your device. They may conduct a basic search — in which they scroll through your device inspecting texts, photos or anything else they can easily access — even if they don't suspect you of wrongdoing.

Do they XRAY you at the border? ›

Although all X-ray scans conducted by CBP are safe and do not pose any threat to the public's health, CBP gives the driver and any other occupants of the vehicle the option to bypass pre-primary X-ray, though they are still subject to other forms of inspection.

What do border guards see when they swipe your passport? ›

' Presumably both you and your son hold US e-passports which contain a chip. That chip holds biometric information that's printed on the picture page - name, date of birth, sex, nationality, date of issue, passport number, and photograph.

What should you not say in an immigration interview? ›

DON'T joke around with the USCIS officer. In particular, avoid joking or sarcasm related to drug dealing, communicable diseases, bigamy, or smuggling people into the country. DON'T argue with your spouse or other family members in the middle of an interview.

What to say if immigration stops you? ›

Say, “I am exercising my right to remain silent.” Do not answer questions or provide any information about your immigration status or national origin. ICE can use anything you say against you. Stay calm.

Does immigration know everything about you? ›

Do not ever lie to the immigration service. Lack of truthfulness can be fatal to your case. It can also lead to deportation. If you are going to an interview, you should assume that it is being recorded and that the immigration service knows more about you than you think.

What questions do they ask you at the border? ›

TRAVELING TO THE UNITED STATES?
  • At the Entry Point. ...
  • Border and Customs Protection. ...
  • Questions & Answers about US Customs. ...
  • What is the reason for your trip to the United States? ...
  • How long do you plan on staying in the country? ...
  • What is your line of work? ...
  • Who are you going to see? ...
  • Have you ever been convicted of anything?
21 Jul 2022

What do Border Patrol agents look for at checkpoints? ›

At checkpoints, Border Patrol agents screen vehicles to identify people who may be in the U.S. unlawfully. Agents may also enforce U.S. criminal law, such as by seizing illegal drugs or executing outstanding warrants.

What happens if you get caught crossing the border? ›

When a person is caught illegally crossing the border—lawfully known as an improper entry—the first offense may include: Civil penalty fine of $50 to $250. Imprisonment for up to six months.

Do Canadians still need a Covid test to cross the border? ›

Test volumes and positivity rates. All COVID-19 emergency border measures, including testing and quarantine requirements, ended on September 30, 2022 at 23:59 (EST). The Public Health Agency of Canada no longer collects COVID-19 test samples from travellers entering Canada.

What do I need to cross the border? ›

U.S. citizens must present a valid U.S. passport book or card, in addition to an entry permit (Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM) issued by Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM). Travelers should be sure to enter Mexico with valid proof of automobile registration, even if remaining in the border zone.

What requirement are needed to enter Canada? ›

Citizens of the United States need a valid U.S. passport to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport. Citizens of the United States coming to Canada by car, bus, train or boat need to carry proper identification and meet the basic requirements to enter Canada.

Does Canada do background check border? ›

Canadian border agents have full access to U.S. criminal records, including FBI background checks, so they are likely to flag anyone with an arrest or a felony charge.

What can't you bring to Canada? ›

Services and information
  • Firearms and weapons. What is non-restricted, restricted and prohibited and how to import and declare weapons.
  • Food, plants and animals. Declare all food, plants, animals and related products. ...
  • Explosives, fireworks and ammunition. ...
  • Cannabis. ...
  • Consumer products.
4 Aug 2022

Do they check your record at the border? ›

Yes. Every single person. Border crossing agents have instant access to the FBI criminal database and can run criminal background checks whenever they feel that a person trying to cross may be a security risk.

What is the Border Force verbal test? ›

UK Border Force Immigration Officer Verbal Test

You are provided with a passage and asked to answer multiple choice questions. The test is 12 minutes long with 24 questions to answer. Learning to quickly analyse the text and familiarising yourself with the type of questions is a great way to prepare yourself.

What can disqualify you from border patrol? ›

A criminal conviction is one of the common border patrol disqualifiers. It is important to be upfront and honest about your conviction, as lying about your history will also disqualify you from the position.

Can you fail immigration interview? ›

If you do not pass the green card interview, USCIS may investigate your case further. Additionally, USCIS may provide you with the opportunity to submit additional evidence. They may otherwise issue a Notice of Intent to Deny your Green Card application.

How many bottles of alcohol can I bring to Canada? ›

Alcoholic beverages
ProductMetricEstimates
WineUp to1.5 litres of wineTwo 750 ml bottles of wine
Alcoholic beveragesUp to 1.14 litresOne large standard bottle of liquor
Beer or aleUp to 8.5 litresApproximately 24 cans or bottles (355 ml each) of beer or ale.
11 Dec 2013

Do you have to declare duty free? ›

You must declare all items you purchased and are carrying with you upon return to the United States, including gifts for other people as well as items you bought for yourself. This includes duty-free items purchased in foreign countries, as well as any merchandise you intend to sell or use in your business.

Do you buy duty free on departure or arrival Canada? ›

Duty free shops are intended only for customers who are about to leave Canada.

What happens if you don't declare at customs Canada? ›

If you do not declare, or falsely declare, goods, the CBSA can seize them. This means that you may lose the goods permanently or that you may have to pay a penalty to get them back.

What items need to be declared customs? ›

Most countries require travellers to complete a customs declaration form when bringing notified goods (alcoholic drinks, tobacco products, animals, fresh food, plant material, seeds, soils, meats, and animal products) across international borders.

Does customs check every package Canada? ›

Importing goods by courier

The Canada Border Services Agency ( CBSA ) screens all goods coming into Canada, always keeping the safety of Canadians in mind. When we process your mail items, we are looking to ensure the goods do not cause harm and if we suspect they will, we will examine these packages more closely.

How does customs know what you bought? ›

In some cases the custom officers can see if something is bought on your trip or brought by you from home, by looking at the serial number. Quite some electronic devises keep a log of serial numbers, country where it was sold, etc.

Do I need to declare food at Canada customs? ›

You are required by law to declare all food, plant and animal products you bring with you into Canada. For instance, you must declare: live animals and animal products, such as cooked or raw meats, hides, skins, trophies, milk, fat, butter, cheese, eggs, fish, seafood.

What do border agents check? ›

Any criminal history. Your citizenship status. Family members and relatives. Various types of tax information such as any Delinquent Tax payments.

What is a burner phone? ›

A burner phone is a cheap, prepaid mobile phone that the owner generally doesn't intend to use long term.

How much cash can you bring into Canada? ›

There are no restrictions on the amount of money you can bring into or take out of Canada, nor is it illegal to do so. However, any time you cross the border, you must declare any currency or monetary instruments you have in your possession that are valued at CAN$10,000 or more.

Do they check your trunk when crossing the border? ›

If you are selected for secondary inspection, the officials will generally take a look in your trunk and glance inside the vehicle to see if you are bringing anything that should have been declared.

Do you have to answer questions at the border? ›

If you are held at the checkpoint for more than brief questioning, you can ask the agent if you are free to leave. You always have the right to remain silent. However, if you don't answer questions to establish your citizenship, officials may detain you longer in order to verify your immigration status.

Do they drug test at the border? ›

Random testing is mandatory for employees in testing designated positions and refusal to take the test could result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from Customs and Border Protection.

What do Canadian border guards see on their computer? ›

Canada has border service officers. What do they see on their screens? If the person is carrying an electronic passport they see all the information about the passenger including any issues such as border-related infractions (i.e. smuggling charges, previous infractions such as failure to declare, etc.).

What causes a passport to be flagged? ›

Originally Answered: what does it mean a flagged passport? It means that person holding that passport is supposed to be stopped by customs and/or immigration officials when entering a country and either denied entry into the country or taken into police custody for subsequent interview.

How do you know if you are flagged by customs? ›

There are signs that will indicate you have been flagged for additional screenings: You were not able to print a boarding pass from an airline ticketing kiosk or from the internet. You were denied or delayed boarding. A ticket agent “called someone” before handing you a boarding pass.

Can CBSA seize your phone? ›

The CBSA may seize your device if we determine its contents contain evidence of a contravention of Canadian laws. For example, if the device contains evidence of a crime, contraband or other prohibited or restricted goods, we may seize it. If this happens, we will notify you about the seizure.

Does CBSA report to CRA? ›

The CRA is only responsible for the collection of debts owed to CBSA programs.

Why do Border Patrol ask questions? ›

Border Patrol may stop vehicles at certain checkpoints to: (1) ask a few, limited questions to verify citizenship of the vehicles' occupants and (2) visually inspect the exterior of a vehicle.

Is CBSA considered law enforcement? ›

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA; French: Agence des services frontaliers du Canada, ASFC) is a federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for border control (i.e. protection and surveillance), immigration enforcement, and customs services in Canada.

Can Customs see your bank account? ›

You may wonder what to do if the CBSA asks you to access bank records and credit card statements by going into websites. The CBSA should only examine goods in your possession at the time you cross the border, not go on a fishing expedition through your intimate and personal information.

Does CBSA check every package? ›

Importing goods by courier

The Canada Border Services Agency ( CBSA ) screens all goods coming into Canada, always keeping the safety of Canadians in mind. When we process your mail items, we are looking to ensure the goods do not cause harm and if we suspect they will, we will examine these packages more closely.

What does CBSA see when they scan your passport? ›

date of birth. nationality. gender. travel document type, number and name of the country that issued the travel document.

What are red flags for CRA? ›

If you're filing your returns late and/or have not filed for a number of years, it would be a sure bet that CRA will be knocking on your door, especially if there are taxes to be paid. The CRA has no problem waiting since interest and penalties accrue on a daily basis.

Does CRA watch your bank account? ›

Bank Accounts

The CRA has the ability to see the contents of your bank account. The CRA regularly puts accounts with seemingly unscrupulous activity under their microscope. They are on the lookout for penalty-worthy offenses, such as over-contributing to a TFSA or undeclared income.

Can Border Force search your phone? ›

What can they search or seize? The agency has powers to examine any goods at the border, including electronic documents and photos on mobile phones and other personal devices, the ABF spokesperson said.

Can Border Patrol search your phone? ›

Unlike other law enforcement, border authorities don't need a warrant to search your device. They may conduct a basic search — in which they scroll through your device inspecting texts, photos or anything else they can easily access — even if they don't suspect you of wrongdoing.

What are 3 items that are restricted by the CBSA? ›

Services and information
  • Firearms and weapons.
  • Food, plants and animals.
  • Explosives, fireworks and ammunition.
  • Cannabis.
  • Consumer products.
4 Aug 2022

How strict is Canada border? ›

Crossing the border to Canada is Easy!

undergo pre- or on-arrival testing; carry out COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation; monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving to Canada. undergo health checks for travel on air and rail; or.

Can CBSA deport you? ›

If you leave Canada after 30 days or do not confirm your departure with the CBSA, your Departure Order will automatically become a Deportation Order.

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