No one likes returning from a holiday and being held back at Canada Customs, so to make your return into Canada go smooth and quick, here are a few tips to keep in mind. The last thing you want to do is wait or hold up the line!
HAVE PROPER IDENTIFICATION
The Government of Canada recommends that Canadian citizens travel with a valid Canadian passport because it is the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians for the purpose of international travel. To help with the process, have the page with your picture open ready to hand over to customs officer. They like it when you are ready!
Note: If you’re only travelling in Canada you can use provincial ID but overall, a passport is recommended.
TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN
CBSA officers watch for missing children and may ask detailed questions about the children who are traveling with you. If you have legal custody of the child(ren) or if you share custody, be sure to have copies of relevant legal documents, such as custody rights. If you are not the custodial parent or not the parent or legal guardian of the child(ren), carry a letter of permission or authorization for you to have custody when entering Canada. A letter would facilitate entry for any one parent traveling with their child(ren). This permission should contact contact phone humbers for the parent or legal guardian.
Here is a copy of Recommended Consent Letter for Children Traveling Abroad.
DECLARE ALL GOODS
You must declare all your purchases and any other goods acquired while you were out of the country when you arrive at the border. CBSA officers may ask you to show receipts for the goods you’ve purchased while out of the country. They may also ask to see your hotel receipts to verify the length of your stay outside. Keeping these items altogether and readily accesible will help to avoid unnecessary delays.
Hint: Have your receipts ready in separate envelopes and in hand. It’s easy to slip a few envelopes in your suitcase for this purpose or use the ones provided in the hotel room.
PERSONAL EXEMPTION AMOUNTS–The length of your absence from Canada determines the amount of goods you can bring back, without paying any duties.
|Less than 24 hours||Personal exemptions do not apply to same-day cross-border shoppers.|
|24 hours or more||Up to CAN$200 – Alcohol and tobacco cannot be claimed. Goods must be in your possession at time of entry to Canada. If the value of the goods you have purchased abroad exceeds $200 after a 24 hour absence, duty and taxes are applicable on the entire amount of the imported goods.|
|48 hours or more||Up to CAN$800 – May include alcohol and tobacco products, within the prescribed limits set by provincial or territorial authorities. Goods must be in your possession at time of entry to Canada. Travellers absent for periods of 48 hours or more will have the applicable exemption level credited against the total value of goods.|
|7 days or more||Up to CAN$800 – May include alcohol and tobacco products, within the prescribed limits set by provincial or territorial authorities. For the seven-day exemption, goods may be in your possession at time of entry to Canada but are also permitted to follow entry to Canada (such as via courier, mail or delivery agency), except alcohol and tobacco products, which must be in your possession. All the goods will qualify for duty- and tax-free entry if they are declared at the initial return to Canada.|
RESTRICTED/PROHIBITED GOODS SUCH AS FOOD, PLANT AND ANIMAL PRODUCTS
The importation of certain goods is restricted or prohibited in Canada. As all undeclared food, plants, animals and related products brought into Canada by travellers are potential threats to the health of Canadians and Canada’s environment, all these products must be declared. Based on emerging threats, the import requirements are subject to change on a daily basis. Many different kinds of items can introduce threats into Canada such as apples, fashion accessories such as feather boas, wooden carvings, seeds, live birds and sea shells. Yep! Leave them on the beach!
TRAVELLING WITH CAN$10,000 OR MORE
If you have currency or monetary instruments equal to or greater than CAN$10,000 (or the equivalent in a foreign currency) in your possession when arriving in or departing from Canada, you must report this to the CBSA. Monetary instruments include items such as stocks, bonds, bank drafts, cheques, and travellers’ cheques.
We remind all travellers that this regulation applies to currency and monetary instruments you have on your person, in your baggage and in your vehicle. For more information, including instructions on how to report your intent to import or export currency in person, by mail, or by courier, consult Crossing the border with $10,000 or more?
For more information to help you delcare, consult the Canada Border Services Agency I Declare information site. This is also where you will find information if you are traveling with alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.