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Summer Travel Rules from U.S.and Canada

June 29, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent

This summer travel season, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have joined efforts to remind summer travelers of document requirements to travel into both countries. The two agencies want to educate travelers about these requirements to make their travel experience during the busy summer season a more enjoyable one.

The CBP reminded travelers of the following:

     •    The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires U.S. and Canadian citizens, age 16 and older, to present a valid, acceptable travel document that denotes both identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. by land or sea. U.S. and Canadian citizens under age 16 may present a birth certificate or alternative proof of citizenship when entering by land or sea.

•    WHTI-compliant documents for entry into the United States at land and sea ports include:
    ◦    U.S. or Canadian passports;
    ◦    Trusted traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST/EXPRES);
    ◦    U.S. passport card;
    ◦    State- or province-issued enhanced driver’s licenses (when and where available). For more information, visit the WHTI Web site. (
    •    A radio frequency identification- (RFID) enabled travel document, such as a U.S. passport card, enhanced driver’s license/enhanced identification card or trusted traveler program card, expedites entry and makes crossing the border more efficient.
    •    Other programs that facilitate the entry process for international travelers coming into the country to visit, study or conduct legitimate business include trusted traveler programs, such as SENTRI, NEXUS and Global Entry. For more information about these programs, visit
The CBSA reminded travelers of the following:
    •    Canadian entry requirements have not changed as a result of the U.S. WHTI.
    •    Canadians returning home (including children) are encouraged to carry proper identification to assist in confirming their legal right to enter Canada. A passport is not mandatory for entry into Canada but it is a preferable piece of identification. Other acceptable identification includes an enhanced driver’s license, a birth certificate with accompanying photo ID such as a regular driver’s license, a permanent residence card, a citizenship card, a certificate of Indian Status or a NEXUS card or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card when traveling by land or boat.
    •    United States citizens do not need to carry a passport to enter Canada however they should carry proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate) as well as photo identification.
Traveling by Air
    •    Prior to arriving in Canada by air, all travelers are provided with a Declaration form (Form E311). Be sure to fill it out accurately and keep it in an accessible place until you have exited the secure area of the airport.
Traveling by Boat
    •    Boat owners/operators are responsible for reporting themselves, their crew and their passengers to a telephone reporting centre (TRC) upon arrival in Canada by calling 888-226-7277 from a dedicated land line at marinas and other locations. Failure to do so may result in detention, seizure or forfeiture of the conveyance and/or monetary penalties. Our officers will apply discretion in their decision-making.
    •    NEXUS members can provide advance notice to the CBSA at least 30 minutes (minimum) and up to four hours (maximum) prior to arriving in Canada by calling the NEXUS telephone reporting centre (TRC) at 1-866-996-3987).
Other Useful Information
    •    Visitors to Canada should be aware of the requirements to import a firearm into Canada. Many weapons are considered prohibited and are therefore not allowed into Canada. All travelers must declare any firearms and weapons in their possession when they are seeking entry to Canada. Anyone who does not declare them upon arrival can face prosecution, and the firearms and the vehicle used to carry them may be seized.
    •    Visit for more information, including entry requirements into Canada for non-Canadians, and to download a copy of I Declare, a detailed publication describing what to expect when bringing goods into Canada.
    •    Canadians returning home and visitors to Canada are reminded that they can plan their border crossing to avoid peak times, and that they should check Canada-bound border wait times via the CBSA website and on Twitter.

For more information, visit or

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About the Author

George Dooley
George Dooley, Travel Agent’s senior contributing editor covering retail and technology, has a long-standing reputation as one of the top travel industry journalists. He notes...

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By George Dooley | June 29, 2011
The two agencies are working together to educate travelers.
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