HEAD FOR THE BORDER with these border crossing regulations in mind

Canada is so close and accessible, it’s easy to forget it’s a foreign country. And, being a foreign country, it has its share of border crossing regulations. Not to worry-crossing the border is a smooth procedure if you’re able to follow directions. Scan this page before you head North, and contact Canada Customs, 1-800-461-9999, if you need more information.

New border rules – What does it mean for guests?

There is still a lot of confusion over the announcement made by Immigration Minister, Jason Kenny and MP Greg Rickford regarding relaxed admission procedures for guests who have minor criminal records, such as DUIs. We are aware that a number of operators have circulated notices to their guests that indicate that these past offenses are no longer a barrier to admission. We believe that this greatly overstates the nature of the actual change that has been made, and have been confirming details in original documents and with our sources in the Canada Border Services Agency.

Finally, the Operational Bulletin for this initiative has been posted outlining the details of the initiative and its application.

This change does not make all formerly inadmissible guests admissible!Although it is an important step forward, it does not significantly change the rules for admissibility. It does not replace or change the existing procedure for applying for Criminal Rehabilitation, and really only applies to the process of obtaining a Temporary Residency Permit (TRP) – the traditional $200 one-time admission that is granted at the border.

This initiative does not change the fact that front-line border officials have very broad discretionary authority. Although this initiative reflects a policy direction from the political leadership, final decisions will continue to be made on the spot as you cross the border.

What Changes?
•The normal $200 fee can be waived.
•A TRP can be granted even for a recent offense – guest with a single DUI a year ago may now be admitted.

What Stays the Same?
•The rules and process for criminal admissibility have not changed.
•It is still a one-time admission. Guests will still be expected to use the Criminal Rehabilitation process if they want to come back in the future.
•It is not being offered to guests with more than one offense. As before, the guest with several DUIs from many years ago still needs to apply for rehabilitation.
•Guests with a single offense that is more than ten years old were already eligible to be considered Deemed Rehabilitated and admitted. This does not change.
•A guest who would appear to qualify for Criminal Rehabilitation but who has not yet completed the process can still be admitted with a TRP. This was already the case and has not changed.

These changes are a very positive step forward and will make life easier for many guests. They are not, however, a “magic bullet”. We urge you to advise your guests to check carefully the details of their individual situation, and, of course, to call NOTO for individual advice.

The full bulletin can be found at:

New Border Rules Operational Bulletin
You may apply for a Letter of Rehabilitation to either office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. In Thunder Bay call (807) 624-2158 or Fort Frances call (807) 274-3655. Either office will forward a kit that has been slightly modified from the one available on the ministry website. The processing time is expected to be approximately 4-6 weeks. Those individuals with a more serious offense must go through the Canadian Consulate.

The border crossings are staffed with an Immigration Officer In Fort Frances, Sunday through Saturday from 8 am – 12 am. In Rainy River, Tuesday through Saturday from 8 am – 4 pm.

If you have any questions or if you require any further information contact the Canada Immigration Centre Thunder Bay (807) 624-2158 Fort Frances (807) 274-3655.

Border Crossing Wait Times – http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/general/times/menu-e.html

Firearms Information – http://www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca/

Non-Residents Guide to Pre-Arrival Processing of Non-Resident Firearms – http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/index-eng.htm

Info for Non-Residents with Minor Criminal Offences (DUI) – http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/rehabil.asp

Questions regarding US passport requirements please visit the US Department of State website – http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_2223.html. We are sure that the information will answer any of your questions.

If you have any questions regarding admissibility, below are the telephone and fax numbers for the Canadian Consulates:

Detroit: Phone: 313-567-2340 – FAX: 313-567-2164
Minneapolis: Phone: 612-332-7486 – FAX: 612-332-4061


Citizens or legal, permanent residents of the United States do not require passports or visas and can usually cross the U.S.-Canada border without difficulty or delay.

To assist officers in expediting the process, especially to reenter the United States native-born citizens should carry a birth, baptismal, or voter’s certificate. Proof of residence may also be required. Naturalized U.S. citizens should carry a naturalization certificate or other evidence of citizenship.

Legal, permanent residents of the United States who are not U.S. citizens are advised to carry their Alien Reg. Receipt Card (U.S. Form 1-151 or Form 1-551). Persons under 18 years of age who are not accompanied by an adult should bring a letter from a parent or guardian giving them permission to enter Canada.


The entry of vehicles and vacation trailers into Canada for touring purposes is generally a quick and routine matter. Customs permits, if required, are issues at the time of entry.

Rental vehicles or trailers are also admissible, however the vehicle registration forms should be carried together with a copy of the rental agency.

Visitors entering Canada with vehicles not registered to themselves should carry a letter from the owner indicating authorized use of the vehicle. Note: Guidelines for entry by private aircraft or boats are also available from Tourism Canada.


Visitors may bring personal baggage into Canada duty-and tax-free, provided all such items are declared to Canadian Customs on arrival and are not subject to restriction.

Personal baggage may include such items as fishing tackle, boats, motors, snowmobiles, camping, golf, tennis and scuba diving gear, radios, television sets, cameras and other similar items to be used in Canada during the visit.

Alcoholic beverages may be brought into Canada duty-free if visitors meet the minimum age requirement of the province or territory of entry (19 years in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Yukon and Saskatchewan; 18 years in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec).

The amount cannot exceed 1.1 litres (40 ounces) of liquors or wine, or 24 x 355 ml (12 ounce) cans or bottles of beer, ale or their equivalent. Additional quantities of alcoholic beverages, up to a maximum of nine litres (two gallons) may be imported into Canada, except Northwest Territories), upon payment of duty and taxes plus provincial fees at the port of entry.

Persons 18 years of age in most jurisdictions, but 19 years in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia, may import 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes, and 2 lbs. of manufactured tobacco duty free. Federal duty and taxes apply to additional quantities.

Subject to some restrictions, visitor may bring food with them for their own use, without Customs assessment, provided the quantity is consistent with the duration and nature of the visitor’s stay.

Gasoline and oil brought into Canada for consumption is dutiable. Reasonable quantities for tourist use such as gas and oil used to the normal capacity of the vehicle are granted free entry.


All animals, plants, vegetables, fruit and meat (and any product of these) must be declared to Canadian Customs upon entry to the country and accompanied by import documentation when required and must pass inspection.


Domestic dogs and cats may be brought into Canada provided each animal is accompanied by a licensed veterinarian certificate identifying the animal and certifying the dog or cat has been vaccinated against rabies during the preceding 36 month period. Up to two puppies or kittens under three months of age and dogs for the visually impaired may enter with their owners without certification. Further information is available on other animals.


Handguns are not allowed entry into Canada. Firearms are divided into the following three categories:

Prohibited firearms are those that are capable of firing bullets in rapid succession during one pressure of the trigger and any that have been adapted from a fife or shotgun so that its barrel measures less than 18 inches or is less then 26 inches overall in length.

Restricted firearms include any designed or intended to be fired by one hand, any with a barrel less than 18.5 inches capable of firing center-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner and any that can be fired when reduced to a length less then 26 inches by folding or telescoping. Tourists cannot import restricted weapons.

Lon guns (regular rifles and shotguns) may be imported without permit by visitors over 16 years old. All visitors must declare all firearms to Canadian Customs. Most provinces and territories have regulations concerning the transportation of firearms. Visitors should check with the province.


Hunting is prohibited in Canada’s national parks. Firearms cannot be carried in national parks unless unloaded and carried in a dismantled condition by separating the barrel and stock or are in a closed case, tied securely with no parts exposed.


200 rounds of ammunition for hunting purposes can be imported duty free.


Hunting is governed by federal, provincial, and territorial laws. Non-residents are required to obtain a hunting license from each province or territory in which they plan to hunt. When hunting migratory game birds, a federal migratory game bird hunting permit is also required. This permit is available at most Canadian post offices.

In many of Canada’s provincial parks, reserves, and adjacent areas, the entry of any type of weapon is forbidden. Further regulations can be obtained from each province. In the Northwest Territories, export permits are required to take out all unprocessed wildlife.

Fishing is also governed by federal, provincial and territorial laws. Anglers must possess non-resident licenses for the provinces or territories in which they plan to fish. British Columbia also requires tidal waters sport fishing licenses. Special fishing permits are required to fish in all national parks. These permits can be obtained at any national park for a nominal fee and are valid in all national parks across Canada. No permit is required to import fishing tackle for personal use.

Foreign fishing guides are not permitted to work in Canada without an employment authorization card.


The possession and use of radar detection services are illegal in Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Yukon. It is suggested these units be rendered inoperative and placed inside luggage when visitors are traveling through Canada. In Quebec and Ontario, it is illegal to possess these types of devices.


It is the responsibility of travelers to satisfy U.S. customs authorities of their rights to reenter the United States, through some form of identification. Reentry can be simplified if travelers keep a list of all purchases, have sales receipts and invoices handy, and pack purchases separately for inspection.