If your shopping plans take you across the border this Black Friday, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has a few tips to make your crossing as easy as pumpkin pie.

Road trip? Be at the right place, at the right time

"We recommend the North Portal port of entry for Saskatchewan-bound travellers because it is open 24-7 and has the greatest processing capacity during peak travel times. Travellers can also monitor border wait times for North Portal prior to arrival by downloading the CanBorder app. Border-savvy travellers choose to cross in the morning, as weekend lineups tend to build during the afternoon and evening."

Know your limits

"There are no personal exemptions for same-day travellers, and your purchases will be subject to applicable duty and taxes. (You can estimate what you owe through our website.) Travellers who have been out-of-country for at least 24 hours are entitled to a CAN$200 exemption, and this increases to CAN$800 once you have been away for 48 hours. Make sure to have the total of your purchases added up, and all your receipts readily available."

Surtaxes

"Certain goods originating from the U.S. are subject to a surtax that apply to commercial shipments as well as goods being imported by travellers above their personal exemptions. The list of goods is available on the Department of Finance website."

Be a smart online shopper

"All international shipments coming into Canada are examined by the CBSA, so order online gifts early to provide enough time for your gifts to be processed. Also be prepared to pay duty on items worth more than CAN$20. Travellers picking up parcels from the U.S. need to make sure they know the contents and value of each one. Open parcels before arriving at the border and bring an extra copy of the purchase invoice along, as some shippers may not include one in the package. Finally, make sure the goods you want to import are in fact allowed in Canada."

Save the surprise

"When travelling with gifts, wrap them after you re-enter Canada. Otherwise, our officers may need to unwrap them when verifying your declaration at the border."

Cannabis. Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out.

"Despite the fact that cannabis (marijuana) is legal and regulated in Canada, it will remain illegal to take cannabis across international borders, whether you are entering or leaving Canada. For more information, consult cannabis (marijuana) legalization."

Travelling with children

"Border services officers watch for missing children, and may ask detailed questions about any minors travelling with you. For more information on requirements when travelling with children, please consult the travel tips section on the CBSA website or visit travel.gc.ca."

Be ready

"Just like any other time of the year, and whether you’re driving or flying, have your passport ready, make a full and accurate declaration, and when in doubt, ask the CBSA officer for help. You can also contact our Border Information Service in advance of your crossing if you have any questions."

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