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Author Topic: How much hassle to cross the border into Canada?  (Read 1803 times)
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Dramatist
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« on: May 30, 2008, 08:00:39 PM »

Here's the situation...

In late August the family and I will be travelling to very northern Minnesota for a wedding.  It looks like we'll be less than 10 miles from the Canadian border.  I've never been anywhere near where we are going and have always wanted to visit Canada.

We won't have much (any?) time as we will only be there about 2 days and most of that will be spent at the wedding or on the 8 hour (one way) trip from Minneapolis in a rental car. 

I'd love to cross the border and take a few pictures, but don't know if the family needs passports or stuff like that.  This would be in the country.  From Roseau, MN to maybe South Junction, Manitoba.

Anyone have any knowledge about this?
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The Meal
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2008, 08:10:38 PM »

Actually, it's much tougher to get back into the US than to get into Canada.  About five years ago the wife and I and a few friends were in Detroit attending a wedding.  The evening prior we got the hankerin' to catch a late night performance of the Windsor Ballet.  Had no troubles getting over the border into the great land of the 19-year old strippers, but upon trying to return to Detroit, we were mildly rebuffed when none of us could produce birth certificates nor passports, and when the car full of four of us was populated with one drivers licence from each of Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, and Florida.
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Freezer-TPF-
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2008, 08:11:34 PM »

In short, adults need passport or a drivers license/birth certificate combo to prove ID and citizenship.

Minors need passport or birth certificate to prove citizenship.

For more details and alternate document options, http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/ready_set_go/land_travel/chnge_in_proced.xml

See also: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html

http://www.dhs.gov/xtrvlsec/crossingborders/index.shtm
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2008, 08:14:33 PM »

I live in Manitoba.

Head to Grand Beach ... awesome place.

I live in Winnipeg, about 4 hours from the CDN/US border... there's also Lake of the Woods / Kenora region, or Big Whiteshell.

Is there a particular reason you're coming up here? If it's just to kill time, coming to Winnipeg isn't a bad idea. The Forks is a pretty popular site to visit.

Also, in terms of hassle, you I don't think you need a passport to travel into Canada as long as it's by ground (IIRC) but you will need at least 2 pieces of ID including photo ID like a drivers license. You should probably check out www.gc.ca.
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Teggy
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2008, 08:15:17 PM »

I don't have experience crossing from MN, but I have crossed quite a few times at Buffalo, NY and Port Huron, MI.  It really depends on the time of day and the particular crossing.  Some of the Niagara Falls crossings can get really backed up, but I would guess the MN crossings are pretty quiet all the time. We intentionally cross very late at night to avoid any traffic.

You don't need passports, but we bring ours anyway just to make it easier. We also travel with our dog, so we bring her vaccination papers. The easier you make it for the border guys, the better.

The other thing to note is don't try to pull one over on the border patrol if you buy things.  They are looking for people with big ticket items to pay taxes on.  If you buy some small items, just say so (keep receipts, too). It's not worth getting caught, and they will most likely just let you go because it's not worth their time. It's sort of like going through the security at the airport - be nice and do what they say and you'll go right through.
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2008, 08:15:46 PM »

Just remember to "keester" the stuff you bring back...

...unless you're buying furniture.  that may cause serious health problems.
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Rumpy
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2008, 08:15:55 PM »

Yeah, you need a passport starting this year. Don't forget your passport!
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2008, 08:21:40 PM »

Update: here's a better link, right from the horses mouth:

http://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/pub/rc4161-eng.html

There are different pieces of ID you can use... if you have a passport it makes it easier, but the other stuff isn't hard either.
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2008, 08:23:06 PM »

Quote from: Rumpy on May 30, 2008, 08:15:55 PM

Yeah, you need a passport starting this year. Don't forget your passport!

wrong (according to border services)

Arriving in Canada
Our border services officers are at the ports of entry to ensure that people entering Canada respect Canadian laws. They are authorized to examine people and goods entering Canada to determine their admissibility. Their goal is to facilitate the entry of legitimate travellers and goods as quickly as possible.

When you enter Canada, a border services officer may ask to see your passport and a valid visa, when necessary. If you are a citizen of the United States, you do not need a passport to enter Canada; however, you should carry proof of your citizenship such as a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization or a Certificate of Indian Status, as well as a photo ID. If you are a permanent resident of the United States, you must bring your permanent resident card (i.e. green card) with you. For more information on admissibility into Canada, read the fact sheet called Managing Access to Canada. It is available on our Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca.

here's the important info:

Quote
If you have any other questions, contact the Border Information Service (BIS) line. This is a 24-hour telephone service that automatically answers all incoming calls and provides general border services information. You can access BIS free of charge throughout Canada by calling 1-800-461-9999. If you are calling from outside Canada, you can access BIS by calling 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064 (long-distance charges will apply). If you call during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time, Monday to Friday, except holidays), you can speak directly to an agent by pressing "0" at any time.
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Teggy
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2008, 08:38:46 PM »

Quote from: Purge on May 30, 2008, 08:23:06 PM

Quote from: Rumpy on May 30, 2008, 08:15:55 PM

Yeah, you need a passport starting this year. Don't forget your passport!

wrong (according to border services)


Correct - you were going to have to have a passport starting this year, but the relaxed rules were extended to June 1, 2009.

Here is the US entry page - basically you will need birth certs for the kids and birth cert plus drivers license for the adults if you don't have passports. Some other combinations are acceptable too.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2008, 08:45:05 PM by Teggy » Logged

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Mr. Fed
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2008, 08:53:37 PM »

Don't bring scary jewelry.
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Dramatist
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2008, 09:16:33 PM »

I really won't have time to visit Canada, although I'd love to someday.  If I get 2 hours of free time over the weekend I'll feel lucky.  It's just that it would suck to be that close and not get to go say hello.  Maybe take a family photo next to a Welcome to Canada sign or a friendly moose or Mountie.  icon_biggrin

I imagine we could scrounge up birth certificates to go.  Hooray!
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2008, 11:49:08 PM »

Quote from: Purge on May 30, 2008, 08:14:33 PM

I live in Winnipeg, about 4 hours from the CDN/US border

What Winnipeg do you live in? It's less than two hours to get to the border - at least here in Brandon.
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papasmurff
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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2008, 12:32:54 AM »

pre 9/11 it was extremely easy.  It is still pretty easy with the right papers....just be honest at the border with the sm stuff you might buy...the agents won't care as long as you are honest.  Oh....if you do go be sure to realize that speed limits are in Km not MPH.....
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Rumpy
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2008, 01:29:27 AM »

Quote from: Purge on May 30, 2008, 08:23:06 PM

Quote from: Rumpy on May 30, 2008, 08:15:55 PM

Yeah, you need a passport starting this year. Don't forget your passport!

wrong (according to border services)

But you DO need one if you're a Canadian entering the US.
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Ironrod
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2008, 03:33:50 AM »

I used to go across Ontario between NY and MI frequently, and my wife's family had a cottage near Sarnia (we spent our honeymoon there, in fact). So I did that border many many times, carrying all sorts of contraband. The Canadians were pretty laid back and the Americans were pricks, so as long as what goes into Canada stays in Canada, you're fine.

I haven't been to Canada since 9/11, though, so I'm sure the experience has changed.
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mori
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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2008, 03:37:37 AM »

You can not have had a DUI in the last 5 years if you want to go into Canada.
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2008, 03:48:10 AM »

Quote from: CSL on May 30, 2008, 11:49:08 PM

Quote from: Purge on May 30, 2008, 08:14:33 PM

I live in Winnipeg, about 4 hours from the CDN/US border

What Winnipeg do you live in? It's less than two hours to get to the border - at least here in Brandon.

hurk! retard I was thinking to Grand Forks, ND .. Yeah, Emerson is about 2 hours away. I live in East Kildonan so there's the whole getting out of town first, and every time I've had to do that it involved weekend traffic. frown
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« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2008, 03:50:25 AM »

I live right on the Can/US border (on the Canadian side in Ontario), so I cross quite frequently, though not near the area you are dealing with. Most are repeats of what others have said, but here are some things that I've found make a crossing easier:

Coming into Canada:

- Have passports, if possible. They are your best form of ID. If not, use the drivers license / birth certificates. I'm not sure what wait times for passports are in the US, but you should be able to get them in time (in Canada) if you applied for them in the next few weeks. Incredibly handy to have.
- If you have some 'proof' of where you are going and staying in Canada, keep it handy. So, a receipt from the hotel, wedding invitation, etc. I've been asked probably 50% when going to the States for longer than 12hrs for some proof of where I'm going / staying. Not critical, but can make things easier.

Going home

- Keep all receipts handy and collected together for when you cross. If requested, you will have to show all the receipts.
- Tell the truth on how much you paid. Chances are, if you only bought ~$50 or less, you will simply get waved through.

Oh, and if there is a spot near the border, fill up your car with gas before heading into Canada, it's a bit more expensive up here. smile
« Last Edit: May 31, 2008, 03:56:22 AM by Jiffy » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2008, 04:04:22 AM »

Quote from: Rumpy on May 31, 2008, 01:29:27 AM

Quote from: Purge on May 30, 2008, 08:23:06 PM

Quote from: Rumpy on May 30, 2008, 08:15:55 PM

Yeah, you need a passport starting this year. Don't forget your passport!

wrong (according to border services)

But you DO need one if you're a Canadian entering the US.

Wrong again. slywink

Quote
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a U.S. law that requires all travellers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, to present a valid passport or another approved secure document when travelling to, through or from the United States from within the western hemisphere. The U.S. WHTI is being implemented in stages by mode of transportation.

The new document requirements were implemented for air travel to or through the United States in January 2007. Final document requirements for those seeking to enter the United States at land or water ports of entry will take effect June 1, 2009.

We still have a year from Monday to travel to/from the US by ground or water without passports. By air has been a requirement since 2007 though (so I guess only wrong for the time being, and assuming you were referring to the OP's stated method of travel).

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« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2008, 04:34:51 AM »

Regardless - get your passports gents!
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cheeba
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« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2008, 03:18:06 PM »

Crossing the border is dangerous. You really have to watch out for this guy:
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2008, 04:00:43 PM »

just look for the tunnels the illegal Canadian immigrants have been digging  icon_wink
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Rumpy
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« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2008, 08:26:40 PM »

Quote from: Purge on May 31, 2008, 04:04:22 AM

Quote from: Rumpy on May 31, 2008, 01:29:27 AM

Quote from: Purge on May 30, 2008, 08:23:06 PM

Quote from: Rumpy on May 30, 2008, 08:15:55 PM

Yeah, you need a passport starting this year. Don't forget your passport!

wrong (according to border services)

But you DO need one if you're a Canadian entering the US.


Wrong again. slywink

Quote
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a U.S. law that requires all travellers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, to present a valid passport or another approved secure document when travelling to, through or from the United States from within the western hemisphere. The U.S. WHTI is being implemented in stages by mode of transportation.

The new document requirements were implemented for air travel to or through the United States in January 2007. Final document requirements for those seeking to enter the United States at land or water ports of entry will take effect June 1, 2009.

We still have a year from Monday to travel to/from the US by ground or water without passports. By air has been a requirement since 2007 though (so I guess only wrong for the time being, and assuming you were referring to the OP's stated method of travel).



Yeah, and that's because the office that processes them got overwhelmed due to so many requests since all passports have to pass through one location, and people were getting worried they wouldn't be getting theirs in time due to the wait, until they devised some hubs so that people could get them taken care of there, instead of having to mail their requests in.
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« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2008, 11:09:04 PM »

As of last week there was no hassle for me. However, one of my friends was taking a picture at the border station and a few border patrol cops surrounded the car and demanded to know what we were taking a picture of. My friend was just taking a pic of the speed limit sign, they went through a few pics on the camera and returned it. So yeah, no taking pics at the border station!
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