Canada - Canada Customs Information
Border Crossing Information
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires U.S. and Canadian travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. It is a result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA).
American and Canadian citizens entering the United States through air terminals, land or sea borders must have a passport or other federally approved ID, such as Washington state's enhanced driver's license.
This requirement affects Washingtonians driving home from a Vancouver, B.C., for a weekend trip; those taking a ferry back from Vancouver Island; or Seattle-Alaska cruise passengers whose ships call at British Columbia ports.
U.S. Passport office: For details on obtaining a U.S. passport or a passport card, www.travel.state.gov or 877-487-2778.
Washington enhanced driver's license: www.dol.wa.gov/. Phone 866-520-4365 to make an application appointment.
British Columbia Enhanced Driver's Licence The enhanced driver’s licence (EDL) is an inexpensive, convenient option for Canadian citizens and residents of BC driving across the border.
Department of Homeland Security: For more details on the new passport requirement, see www.dhs.gov/.
Canadian Immigration: www.cic.gc.ca
Canadian Air Transport Authority : http://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/english/
Application for Rehabilitation for those with past criminal records wanting to enter Canada.
Customs and Immigration officials from both the United States and Canada are now required to inspect all vehicles, trains, buses and airlines for contraband and for immigration purposes. Visitors or returning Canadian Citizens are required to know what documentation they need ( receipts for all purchases of goods being transported) and there is a list of items that cannot be taken across the border (such as certain meats, all plants and all fruits). This list changes freqently.The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
The CBSA is an integral component in enhancing Canada's national security. We will build on the success of the Canada-United States Smart Border Declaration to ensure the twin goals of public safety and economic security.
Non Americans in Canada - Consular Services- Information on entering the United States for Non Americans.
Note: Increased security is resulting in longer delays at entry points to Canada and United States. Please allow plenty of time for crossing border points.
Firearms - Permits must be obtained to import firearms for competitions and for transit to Alaska. See Canada Firearms Service for details. Many weapons are restricted. Please check with Customs before you arrive at the border, or you may be refused entry or have your weapons confiscated.
Money and Taxes
The Canadian monetary system is based on dollars and cents. US money is accepted at the current exchange rate. All establishments accept US dollars at slightly lower rates than banks. Be sure to check at the cashier before making any purchases for the daily rate. Traveller's cheques are the safest to carry money and are accepted by banks and major establishments. To get the best rate when exchanging currency, it is recommended that visitors use one of the chartered banks, or currency exchanges. Visitors from other countries should exchange enough money prior to departure if possible to allow time to get to a currency exchange. Use Credit Cards wherever possible. Note that many establishments accept only VISA or Master Card. Hotels will generally accept a wider range of cards. Most banks will have branches open on Monday to Saturday and there are ATM's at many locations throughout BC. Most 24 hour convenience stores have an ATM, but will charge a service charge on each transaction ranging from 1.50 to 3.00. Many shops and hotels now have online credit card validation with debit (bank) card capability.
BC is on Pacific Daylight Time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. the same as west coast of US. The clocks are advanced 1 hour from Pacific Standard Time. There are five time zones in Canada. Remember that the rest of the country is ahead of BC. If travelling to Toronto or Montreal, remember to set your watch forward three hours.
BC's weather can change at a moment's notice due to the proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Vancouver and Victoria are generally casual , but there are many places where a jacket and tie are appropriate. For summer visiting, lightweight comfortable clothing will do. In spring, summer and fall, a lightweight jacket may be useful for coastal regions. Inland and northern areas will be somewhat colder. However in winter, a warm coat, gloves, boots and definitely an umbrella are necessary. For evening, people will dress up and some places do have dress codes.
The use of seat belts, child restraints and motorcycle and bicycle helmets are mandatory in B.C. It is illegal to drive while using a mobile phone or other hand-held device, including GPS systems. You must do this while parked. Voice activated devices while driving are ok.
For full details see Driving in British Columbia
Years Day - January 1