"May these gates never be closed"
Canada and the United States share the longest undefended international border in the world. At one of the busiest crossing points, Peace Arch Park in British Columbia, an inscription reads "May These Gates Never Be Closed" and, for the most part, that hope has rang true. Each year, millions of people and millions of dollars of goods cross the border , the vast majority doing so in a timely and pleasant fashion. But tightened security and long lines can lead to frayed nerves. So no matter if you're crossing into Canada or the US, here are some tips to make it go smoothly.
Ask Your App For Help.
Crossing land borders can be stressful and a long lineup doesn't help. Fortunately there are tools to help lighten your load. Border Buddy, Border Times, and Border Wait are all apps that give you updates on border lineups and crossing times. Know before you go!
Get Your Paperwork in Order.
There's more to border crossings than just passports! In addition to having your passport open and ready for inspection...
-Be prepared to show visas and NEXUS/Global Entry cards, if applicable.
-If you are travelling with children who are not your own, bring along a written permission note from their parents.
-If you’re travelling with furry friends, you must present their vaccination records. If your pet appears unwell (for example, they are wearing a cast or they just got over a stomach bug), border agents can request a veterinarian’s certificate stating your animal is in good health.
-Even your car needs paperwork! Be prepared to show your car's registration papers.
-Keep your receipts organized. If you have done any cross border shopping, officers will likely want to see your receipts.
Get Ready To Talk.
Get ready to talk - take your sunglasses off, turn off your cellphone, turn down the radio, and roll down your window -all before you pull up to the officer's booth. If you have passengers in the back seat, their window will need to be rolled down as well.
Declare or Despair!
When crossing into the US from Canada or vice versa, be aware of restrictions on firearms and other weapons, taxable items like tobacco and alcohol, and agricultural products like fresh food and farm materials. It is much, much better to declare the item and have options than to face seizures and heavy penalties for lying to a border agent.
Hold the Jokes!
he job of a border agent can encompass everything from extreme boredom to extreme danger – but it’s not your job to brighten their day with your “jokes” or liven up their repetitive routine with an ill-timed comment about terrorism. Your job is to be polite, professional, honest, and cooperative – a combination so rare it will both brighten anyone's day!
Get Ready for Adventure!
North America is the perfect place for an epic road trip and, with a bit of planning, there's no reason why a border crossing should hold you up or slow you down.
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