The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), is sharing some tips for travellers who are returning from a trip to the States. 

Weekend travel tips: save time at the border

1. Timing is everything

Over a long weekend at the land border, wait times are generally longest during the afternoon and evening, especially on Sundays and Mondays. Beat the rush by crossing in the morning instead. We recommend using the North Portal port of entry because it is open 24-7 and has the greatest processing capacity during peak travel times. You can also monitor border wait times for North Portal from your mobile device – just download the CanBorder app.

2. Know your personal exemptions

It pays to know your personal exemption limits: Once you have been out-of-country for more than 24 hours, you can claim goods of up to CAN$200 as free of duty and taxes. This increases to CAN$800 after 48 hours. Note that only goods for your own personal use qualify for this exemption; items you are bringing back for others are subject to applicable duty and taxes.

3. Travelling with alcohol or tobacco?

Once you have been out-of-country for 48 hours, you can return with one of the following free of duty and taxes: 1.5 litres of wine, 1.14 litres of liquor, or 8.5 litres of beer. Additional amounts are subject to duty and taxes, as well as provincial levies. There are also 48-hour personal exemptions for stamped tobacco products sold at duty-free stores: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 200 grams manufactured tobacco, and 200 tobacco sticks. You must meet minimum age requirements.

4.    Mind your munchies

Before returning to Canada with food products, visit the CFIA website to make sure they are allowed entry. Certain goods are restricted or prohibited because they can harbour foreign animal and plant pests and diseases. Your food products may not be allowed entry to Canada, but you will not face penalty as long as the items were declared to the CBSA officer.

5. Be ready

Whether you are driving or flying, have your passport ready, make a full and accurate declaration, and when in doubt, ask the CBSA officer for help. Do not bring back any prohibited items such as switchblades or butterfly knives – they will be seized and you could face significant penalties if they are not declared. You can also contact our Border Information Service in advance of your crossing if you have any questions.

Quick Facts

  • CBSA officers in southern Saskatchewan processed approximately 6,000 travellers over the Family Day weekend last year.
  • CBSA officers at Regina International Airport and Saskatoon International Airport processed approximately 5,000 travellers over the Family Day weekend last year.

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