Americans Traveling to Canada

Americans Entering Canada

Updated March 2024 – With the low Canadian dollar in relation to the US dollar, we have Americans entering Canada and camping here at Riverbend Campground. We also see folks from the lower 48 states making the epic drive to Alaska. If you are in this category we encourage you to read our blog post on making this trek. You will find it here.

Since the end of the pandemic this influx of visitors from south of the border has continued.  In an effort to provide some information to help our American friends, here are some basics. We also provide links to more comprehensive information and resources.  Remember, this is a guide. Regulations can change and it is best to consult with authorities for complete information and interpretations.

Document Requirements

First consideration is documentation when crossing the border into Canada and returning to the US at the end of your trip.  Most of our American visitors are travelling by land, but some fly and then rent an RV.  Border crossing rules differ depending on your method of arrival.  The rules also differ between your entry into Canada, and re-entering the U.S.  Document requirements for Canada are not as strict as for the U.S., but CBSA (Canadian Border Security Agency) Officers will want to know that you have the required documents to return.

Air travelers, adults and children, must have a U.S. Passport or a Nexus Card.  When entering at a land crossing adults require a U.S. Passport, Nexus Card, or an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) available in a limited number of states.  Children 15 years of age or younger require a U.S. Passport, Nexus Card, U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth abroad, or U.S. Naturalization Certificate.  If you are traveling with your children from a previous relationship you must have a parental consent letter from the children’s other parent.

Point of Entry

As a tourist entering Canada you will of course speak with a CBSA Officer. They wish to determine that you have the proper documentation, that you have enough money for your stay in Canada and that you will return home.  Things like home ownership, financial assets, job and family indicate you have ties in the U.S. and you aren’t planning to work or stay in Canada.  Both countries have currency declaration requirements. The objective is to prevent money laundering. Your customs declaration will ask if you are travelling with more than $10,000 in cash. If you have American cash, calculate its Canadian value. Bringing the money into Canada is permitted but it must be declared. You may also need to convince the authorities that you obtained the money legitimately.

Convictions & Firearms

Two important considerations for Americans entering Canada are previous criminal or immigration convictions and possession of firearms.  Laws in Canada differ from American law.  Some convictions including DUI and DWI can make you inadmissible.  Information can be found here under “Criminal Inadmissibility” and “Criminal Rehabilitation” and here under “Criminality and Rehabilitation.” The laws regarding firearms are much stricter in Canada, with some weapons classified as prohibited and will be seized by CBSA agents.  Our best advice is leaving your firearms at home.  If you want more information refer to this article.  If either the legal or firearms issues apply to any member of your travel group you need to do further research.

Food & Pets

Another area to look at is traveling with food.  Before you stock up on large quantities of food, be aware of restrictions.  Here is a link to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s guidelines.  And CBSA’s information here.

Traveling with pets.  Dogs and cats entering Canada from the U.S. do not need to be quarantined and do not need a microchip or tattoo.  Your family dog or cat does require a rabies vaccination certificate. The certificate must be in either English or French, and be signed by a licensed veterinarian. Be sure your pet is properly identified. Also confirm that the document includes the date of the vaccination, the trade name and serial number of the vaccine and specifies the duration of immunity.

Whether you are coming for a visit or travelling through our area on your way to Alaska Riverbend Campground welcome our American friends.