How to avoid long border wait times in Canada

How to avoid long border wait times

Canadians are excited to get back to travelling. However, due to the evolving COVID-19 requirements, this has translated into delays during peak periods. The week of the Easter long weekend (April 11 to 17), Canada welcomed over one million travellers. Moreover, during the last week, some passengers were kept on planes for hours (in some cases) due to a lack of space at airports. According to the CBSA, travellers returning to the border this spring and summer should consider that things look a bit different. In this article will share some key tips to help reduce border wait times.

Get ready to travel!

  1. Ensure you are eligible to enter Canada: you must meet the entry requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and provide appropriate travel and immigration documentation. Of course, the final determination on entry is made by a border services officer at the port of entry.
  2. Understand the rules around COVID-19: There are still border measures in place for COVID-19. You can either check our article about the latest travel measures or answer a few questions to find out which requirements apply to you.
  3. Use ArriveCAN: All travellers need to submit their information in ArriveCAN, up to 72 hours before entering Canada. Also, you should print or take a screenshot of their ArriveCAN receipt and bring it with you when you travel.
  4. Have all your documents ready: you need your ArriveCAN receipt; passport or travel documents, proof of vaccination; and identification.
  5. Check border wait times: plan to cross, for example, during non-peak hours such as early morning. According to the CBSA, the Monday of holiday long weekends tends to be the busiest.
  6. Be prepared to declare: Travellers returning to Canada should be ready to declare all goods purchased and/or received while outside the country. The CBSA recommends not to warp your gifts as they may need to examine them more in-depth. You should also have your receipts readily available from purchases made outside of Canada.
  7. Children. When travelling with children, the CBSA recommends that the accompanying adult have a consent letter authorizing them to travel with the child. Border services officers are always watching for missing children, and in the absence of the letter, officers may ask additional questions, to help them identify the relationship between the child and the accompanying adult. Source: CBSA.

Declaring foods, plants, money and more

Travellers can check the  CBSA duty and taxes estimator to calculate taxes on goods purchased in the United States. You can also use the Automated Import Reference System to help determine all specific import requirements, such as restrictions on imports of foods, plants, or animals. In addition, travellers can consult the CBSA’s website for information on firearms and other restricted and prohibited goods.

In terms of money, the CBSA says it is not illegal to bring $10,000CAD into Canada, but it must be declared on arrival. Air travellers landing in Toronto (YYZ) or Vancouver (YVR) may use ArriveCAN (web version) to complete their customs and immigration declaration in advance of their arrival in Canada.

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