I Declare – Border Crossing Tips to Ease Travel Stress


CBSATHUNDER BAY – Northwestern Ontario and the United States connect across a number of border crossing sites. For both business and for personal travel, Canadians head south from Thunder Bay via the Pigeon River border crossing point.

In summer, often the number of travellers increase, as warmer weather entices families to visit Duluth and Minneapolis and other points south.

During the summer season the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is making every effort to effectively manage the increased volumes of passengers during this peak period and invites travellers to keep these five tips in mind.

 Tips to Ease Border Crossing Issues


Plan ahead to avoid delays at the land border when you return to Canada
The CBSA suggests that you avoid travelling during peak periods, which occur mainly during weekends and statutory holidays, between 2:00 p.m. and midnight. You may also keep track of border wait times. To inquire about border wait times at major ports of entry, you may consult the CBSA Web site (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/bwt-taf/menu-eng.html), or Twitter (general: @CBSA_BWT; St-Bernard-de-Lacolle: @CBSA_SBL; Stanstead: @CBSA_STD; St-Armand/Philipsburg: @CBSA_SAP).


Bring appropriate identification for yourself and for all children travelling with you, regardless of their age. CBSA officers watch closely for missing children and may ask you detailed questions about the children you are travelling with. If you have or share legal custody of the children, have copies of the relevant legal documents, such as custody rights, on hand. 


Upon your return to Canada, declare all merchandise you have bought and received and have all your receipts on hand. Officers may ask you to show receipts for the goods you have purchased and your hotel receipts to verify the length of your stay outside Canada. Keep all of your receipts together and on hand to avoid unnecessary delays. 


Be aware of your personal exemptions. Depending on the length of your stay abroad, you may be entitled to certain personal exemptions.

After being away for…

You can bring back goods, tax and duty-free, worth up to…

Less than 24 hours

No exemption

24 hours or more


48 hours or more


Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products may be included in your 48-hour or 7-day exemption, provided you are of legal age. Certain restrictions apply.

Exemption chart on alcohol and tobacco

Only one of the following amounts of alcoholic beverages may be imported free of duty and taxes (when stays are more than 48 hours): 1.14 L (40 oz.) of liquor; or 1.5 L of wine; or 24 X 355 ml (8.5 L) containers of beer. You must be of legal age in the province of importation.

The following amounts of tobacco products may be imported free of duty and taxes (when stays are more than 48 hours): 200 cigarettes; 50 cigars or cigarillos; 200 tobacco sticks; and 200 g (7 oz.) of manufactured tobacco (a special duty fee might be applicable).


Know before you go. Certain goods are prohibited or restricted from entering Canada (weapons, certain plant and animal products, etc.). You can find out more about this by consulting the information document Residents Returning to Canada: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/ifcrc-rpcrc-eng.html

For more information, visit the CBSA website at www.cbsa.gc.ca or contact the Border Information Service at 1‑800‑461-9999.

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