Essential Black Friday Border Crossing Tips from CBSA

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Pigeon River Border Crossing
Pigeon River Border Crossing

Navigating the Holiday Rush: A Guide for Travellers

The Frontline Efforts of CBSA

THUNDER BAY – LIVING – As the Black Friday and U.S. Thanksgiving weekend is here, many Canadians head south. In Thunder Bay, Highway 61 will be busy with travellers heading to Duluth and points south for the Black Friday deals.  The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) plays a pivotal role in maintaining the balance between efficient border crossings and national security. Crossing into the United States means coming home again, often with purchases.

In 2022, CBSA’s diligent efforts facilitated the safe passage of over 60 million travellers while intercepting significant quantities of illegal weapons and drugs. Their proactive planning is key to managing the surge in travel during peak periods like the upcoming holiday weekend.

Making Your Border Crossing Smoother

Plan and Prepare

  • Check Border Wait Times: Avoid peak hours by crossing in the early morning or choosing less busy days.
  • Know Your Exemptions: Be aware of personal exemption limits for purchases made outside Canada. The CBSA duty and taxes estimator is a useful tool for calculating potential expenses.
  • Travel Documents: Keep them accessible, regardless of your mode of travel.
  • Be Ready to Declare: Have your receipts ready and understand the rules around importing firearms and restricted goods.

Advanced Strategies

  • Advance Declaration: At select airports, use the Advance Declaration feature up to 72 hours before arrival for expedited processing.
  • Declare Food, Plants, and Animals: Check the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) for guidelines on bringing these items into Canada.

Specific Items and Situations

  • Poultry Products: Ensure they are properly packaged and labeled as “Product of the USA”.
  • Travelling with Children: Carry a consent letter if traveling with a child for whom you are not the parent or legal guardian.
  • Cannabis: Remember, it’s illegal to bring cannabis across the border, even with legalization in Canada.
  • Boating into Canada: Familiarize yourself with the reporting requirements for private boaters.
  • Traveling with Pets: Ensure you have the necessary paperwork for your pet.

When in Doubt, Ask

The CBSA officers are there to assist. If unsure about what to declare or any other border-related queries, don’t hesitate to ask for guidance.

Conclusion: Safe and Efficient Travel

The CBSA’s commitment to safety and efficiency is evident in their extensive preparations for peak travel times. By following these tips and staying informed, travelers can contribute to a smoother and more secure border crossing experience during the busy holiday period.

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