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Traveling from the US to Canada

VW Derf

Administrator
Joined
Jul 3, 1996
Location
Richmond, BC, Canada
TDI
2010 Blue Graphite Pearl Golf Variant
While most of our Canadian members visit the US on a routine basis, the same isn't always true for our southern neighbours coming up to Canada. Therefore we have put together some information to help ease any uncertainty and give people a jump on getting their documentation in order:

Requirements for Entry into Canada

Documentation Required: For native-born US citizens, a birth certificate and Photo ID will suffice, but a passport is recommended. Naturalized-US citizens should carry their naturalization certificate. Resident U.S. Aliens should carry their Green Card.

  • Effective the 8th of January 2007, all persons traveling to and from Canada BY AIR will be required to present a valid passport
  • Persons traveling to and from Canada by land or sea WILL NOT be required to present a valid passport until the 1st of January 2008 at earliest
Here a link with more information:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/regional/regional_1170.html


As time progresses we will update this with relevant information.
 

TDIinRI

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2002
Location
NOT in RI
TDI
2003 GOLF silver
As stated, a passport in not required but recommended. I, however, would like to implore all of you to get a passport. It will make life easier. They cost less than $100, are good for 10 years, and are a form of picture ID accepted the world over!

If anyone has questions about crossing the border and the regulations, please post here. Some border crossings are less busy and less fussy, so ask someone if there is one better than the other for your chose route.

That said, the US border patrol when comming home is much more of a PITA then Customs Canada entering Canada.
 

Radman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 13, 2001
Location
Montreal
TDI
2014 Audi A6 TDI, 2014 Touareg TDI
I will start a list of common French words used for road signs etc for those coming by car. I will add to this list as more come to mind. If you wish to add anything please PM to me and I will add to the list. Question of not making a 15 page post out of it.

Nord = North
Est = East
Sud = South
Ouest = West
Rue Barré = Road Closed
Droite = Right
Gauche = Left
Arret = Stop
Pont = Bridge
Centre Ville = Downtown
Cul-De-Sac = Dead End

Also note that Right hand turns on Red is NOT permitted anywhere on the island of Montreal. Permitted off island and everywhere else in Quebec.

And for the late nite clubbers, whom may get clubbed when asking this question:p

Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi se soir? = Will you sleep with me tonite?
 
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Teejay

Active member
Joined
May 26, 2004
Location
Windsor, Ontario
TDI
2004 Jetta TDI Sport Edition, Platinum Grey
One thing I noticed about driving in Montreal.. good luck finding streets. Every intersection, the street sign was in a different spot, some were tucked away behind trees, or buildings. Also, Montreal drivers are NUTS.

Do remember to signal when changing lanes, but a cautionary note: the general rule in Montreal; first signal flash is courtesy, second signal flash better get moving. If you are changing lanes and you wait till the third flash to move, they do NOT let you in.

On a side note.. I cant wait!
 

Radman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 13, 2001
Location
Montreal
TDI
2014 Audi A6 TDI, 2014 Touareg TDI
Your right! And pesdestrians have NO RIGHT OF WAY! Dont expect drivers to be courteous and let you cross the street. And dont Hog the left lane if your not moving at least 120 KMH. That reminds me to add left + right to my list above!
 

brucetmoose

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Location
Rochester, NY
TDI
Used to own a 2002 Jetta TDI - Black/Black
Observation from a recent crossing earlier this year

Was driving home from Ottawa after a training class in a Canadian rental, was on a Friday at the Watertown crossing, NO ONE was anywhere near the border except for a few people heading north. Pretty quiet for a Friday summer night around 7:30 PM.

Customs seemed a lot less of a hassle than in Buffalo, could be due to the lack of traffic there. This was even before they determined I was an American citizen (they initially thought I was Canadian due to the car).

I agree with the suggestion on the passports. I had to have a brand new birth certificate plus other documentation, a passport would have been a lot easier and would have saved about 10 minutes plus a funny look. They actually called my company's travel agency to confirm that was the deal (they had the time, no one was behind me).

Also, if you plan on bringing kids and are getting passports for them - when you go to get the passport for them and they are under 14, BOTH parents have to go and sign for them. Also, you'll need the extended form of the birth cert that shows who the parents are, etc - See the website http://www.travel.state.gov/ for details. If only one parent is traveling with the kids, I HIGHLY suggest having passports as that shows that both parents approved of the kids being out of the country. The border has been very sensitive lately about single parent drivers with kids unless they have passports.

If you haven't made a reservation (which is required in most cases) to get yours, do it now.

One thing to keep in mind, the borders get VERY busy around the labor day weekend. The Watertown border area is also the gateway to the Canadian area of the 1000 islands and it gets very busy around there during the Memorial and Labor Day holidays.

IF you plan on crossing in Buffalo, the Buffalo area crossings are much busier - expect delays. My suggestion is if you plan on crossing there is to cross at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge as it's the least used because it's the farthest north along I290. You will also avoid having to go around Niagara Falls and it actually saves time. Keep in mind that if you come that way you'll have to go through Toronto and that can be a bit hectic also.

If you have Easy-Pass from another state, that works in NY also (PA, NJ people probably already know this).
 

Pelican18TQA4

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2002
Location
Philadelphia, PA
TDI
'13 Jetta Hybrid
A word of caution for those that may have a loan for the vehicle you will be driving into Canada. You should call your lienholder and see if you need a letter of permission or not. It's essentially a letter from the lienholder that indicates they are aware that you're transporting their collateral into another country and have their permission to do so. If you need it and you don't have it, the border may stop you from driving the vehicle into Canada.
 
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brucetmoose

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Location
Rochester, NY
TDI
Used to own a 2002 Jetta TDI - Black/Black
Pelican - thanks for the reminder about another issue - Auto Insurance

To everyone;

Check with your insurance agent and make sure you are covered in Canada for your auto insurance.
 

TDIinRI

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2002
Location
NOT in RI
TDI
2003 GOLF silver
US auto insurance policies are valid in Canada. Having crossed into Canada no less than 25 times in the past 3 years, nobody has asked me about whether or not there was a loan on my car!

Crossing the border is NOT that big of a deal. Just be smart about it. Having a passport makes your life much easier though
 

rotarykid

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Location
Piedmont of N.C. & the plains of Colorado
TDI
1997 Passat TDI White,99.5 Blue Jetta TDI
I like crossing at Detroit . I was up there last summer and crossed to have dinner on the Canadian side and spend some time on the water front . I was over for about 3 hours . Had no troulbe on either side . I've been doing this for over 25 years .

No radar dector use allowed in Canada . If you have one put it away before you cross .

Watch your speed in cities photo radar is commonly used . ( 100 maximum ) is the posted limit in Ontario & Quebec . But 110 to 120 kph is normally ok on the open freeway . Stay with traffic or you might be spending some time & $$$ for your trouble . I speak from experience .

And they do "WolfPack" up there , that is how I was nailed . Many places in the US ban this practice .:mad: :mad:

I always cross on the bridge and come back through the tunnel :D . I might add at neither side did they ask for ID .

Just a note if you plan to use duty free , keep your receipts from your hotel & purchases handy when you cross to prove you were in Canada long enough to qualify for it . If not be ready to be forced to pay duty on the American side :mad:

Also Buffalo is a good place to cross . I'd avoid Niagra falls in my experience that crossing is allways backed up .
 
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johnboy00

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2000
Location
Bridgewater,Ma.,USA
TDI
2005 Passat Wagon, 2004 Jetta, 2003 Jetta wagon
brucetmoose said:
If only one parent is traveling with the kids, I HIGHLY suggest having passports as that shows that both parents approved of the kids being out of the country. The border has been very sensitive lately about single parent drivers with kids unless they have passports.
A minor traveling with one parent needs a notarized letter from the other parent giving approval for the trip. This is independent of the passport.

We have had to do this several times for a hockey tournament and other travel.

A passport only acknowledges that at the time of application, the other parent approved of it's issue.
 

Leo819

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2003
Location
Limerick, Pa
TDI
TDIless 4 now
johnboy00 said:
A minor traveling with one parent needs a notarized letter from the other parent giving approval for the trip. This is independent of the passport.

We have had to do this several times for a hockey tournament and other travel.

A passport only acknowledges that at the time of application, the other parent approved of it's issue.
moreover, if separated/divorced. I would have a copy of the visitation/parenting plan by the court along with you.
 

bhtooefr

TDIClub Enthusiast, ToofTek Inventor
Joined
Oct 16, 2005
Location
Newark, OH
TDI
None
Cell Phone Information

I decided to look this stuff up, based on some stuff in the Convoy thread. PM me if you want info for another carrier to be added, if I can find it on the website, or you have it from a phone call.

Alltel

Voice cost per minute: $0.20
Discounted rate: $3.99 per month (Reduced Toll Rate), $0.10 per minute

Cingular

Voice cost per minute: $0.79
Discounted rate: $5.99 per month (World Traveler), $0.59 per minute

Nextel

Voice cost per minute: $0.20
Data cost per minute: "free trial" (?)
Notes: Must call Nextel to activate international dialing privileges, only "internet ready" phones will work

Sprint

Voice cost per minute: $0.65
Data cost per KB: $0.002
Notes: Must call Sprint to activate International Roaming

T-Mobile

Voice cost per minute: $0.49
Data cost per KB: $0.01

Verizon

Voice cost per minute: $0.69
Notes: Has a Canada roaming package (don't know info on it)

Please bear with me as I look more up...
 
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brucetmoose

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Location
Rochester, NY
TDI
Used to own a 2002 Jetta TDI - Black/Black
Verizon plan for Canada

It was hard to find, but I did find out that Verizon has a "North America" plan, it extends coverage into some of Canada. I saw that the areas around the "401/403" are covered, hard to tell if Montreal is fully covered, they told me Ottawa was but that some areas of Montreal you will encounter roaming. I'm cheesed that they didn't have a better map but here's the latest one:

http://mobileoptions.vzw.com/international/pdf/NAC_Map.pdf

And the plan details:

http://mobileoptions.vzw.com/international/rates/na_calling_plans.html

Basically, I was told by my local rep (Hi Sara!) from Wireless World in beautiful downtown Marion, NY that you can do an upgrade for a month. She wasn't in at the moment, but will be back later today and I will nail down the final details on what to do and when to do it.
 

hagar

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2005
Location
Columbia, SC
TDI
2002 white Jetta 5sp & 2006 Mercedes CDI
And remove your "You will pry my gun from my cold, dead hands" or "NRA Life Member" bumperstickers. You will draw undue attention to yourself, and if caught with a firearm you will be in hot water.
 

brucetmoose

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Location
Rochester, NY
TDI
Used to own a 2002 Jetta TDI - Black/Black
They are valid in Canada, but the limits are higher

TDIinRI said:
US auto insurance policies are valid in Canada. Having crossed into Canada no less than 25 times in the past 3 years, nobody has asked me about whether or not there was a loan on my car!
I haven't encountered the loan issue, but Canada does have higher required limits for cars than most states. Check with your insurance agent and make sure your lmits are adequate. Many companies will extend the limits for a weekend trip ( Amica did this all the time for us as long as we called them about a month in advance and gave them an itinerary ).

If you meet the limits, you're all set. You don't want to find out you don't meet the limits if there is an accident.
 

GoFaster

Moderator at Large
Joined
Jun 16, 1999
Location
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
TDI
2006 Jetta TDI
Further to a couple of things mentioned above: US citizens, don't attempt to bring any type of firearm (or knife other than the kind used with food) with you. Many such weapons are prohibited, others are restricted, all require permits in Canada that typically US citizens won't have. If you have the required permits in Canada then you know more than I do about this. You definitely won't see gun-racks in pick-up trucks here - that's cops-will-bust-your-arse illegal in every way, and you'll end up in the slammer.

Someone mentioned photo radar. It's not used in Quebec and it is no longer used in Ontario, we had it a few years ago but they axed the program (thankfully). We DO have Gatso cameras for red-light runners, though, so don't run red lights! All such locations are signed, and if you know what a Gatso looks like, you can see which way it's pointing ...

On the island of Montreal, it is illegal to make a right turn on a red traffic light. Elsewhere in Quebec and Ontario, it is permissible (obviously you have to stop and yield to pedestrians or other traffic).

Radar detectors or laser detectors are illegal to use. If you have one, best thing is don't bring it, otherwise put it in the trunk. If it's visible/audible to the driver, or if the cops get you on a signal from their detector-detectors, it will be confiscated. BUT ... Ontario's posted 100 km/h limit is widely ignored. As long as you don't ignore it by more than the locals are ignoring it, you should be okay most of the time ...
 

brucetmoose

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Location
Rochester, NY
TDI
Used to own a 2002 Jetta TDI - Black/Black
Brian - does the knife restriction include pocket knives ???

Brian;

Several of us probably have swiss-army pocket knives, is that what you were referring to or something larger like Rambo knives, etc
 

whitedog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Location
Bend, Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta that I fill by myself
What about a US citizen driving across the border to Vancoueoeueuver then flying to Montreal? Would there be issues at the airport?
 

Teejay

Active member
Joined
May 26, 2004
Location
Windsor, Ontario
TDI
2004 Jetta TDI Sport Edition, Platinum Grey
Not likely, generally they only do customs when there's a flight coming in from a foreign country, if you've already entered the country, and the flight was from say Vancouver to Toronto, connector to Montreal, then you wouldnt have to deal with customs at the airport because the flight never left the country. However, Air Canada is friggen expensive. I dont know if Westjet flies from Vancouver to Montreal or not.. might be something to look into though.
 

whitedog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Location
Bend, Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta that I fill by myself
Maybe not

Teejay said:
Not likely, generally they only do customs when there's a flight coming in from a foreign country, if you've already entered the country, and the flight was from say Vancouver to Toronto, connector to Montreal, then you wouldnt have to deal with customs at the airport because the flight never left the country. However, Air Canada is friggen expensive. I dont know if Westjet flies from Vancouver to Montreal or not.. might be something to look into though.
Maybe it's not such a good idea.
 

GoFaster

Moderator at Large
Joined
Jun 16, 1999
Location
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
TDI
2006 Jetta TDI
brucetmoose said:
Brian;

Several of us probably have swiss-army pocket knives, is that what you were referring to or something larger like Rambo knives, etc
If in doubt, don't bring it. A lot of those pocket knives are illegal here ...
 

wny_pat

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 7, 2004
Location
Western New York State
TDI
2002 Jetta TDI
Don't think anyone has covered this, and hopefully it does not apply to any of us. Canada has this thing called "Criminal Inadmissibility". It does not take much to fall into their idea of a criminal. Basically, if your name pops up on their computer which is linked to our computers, you fit the bill. You can read about it at the following link: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/index.html . Go down to the 3rd paragraph in "Before coming to Canada" and click on "inadmissibility to Canada". There you can read all about it. One who falls in this class can also apply for permission to enter Canada. Sorry, but could not link directly to the proper page. Kept getting a 404 page not available when I tried to link to it.

As you see, they include both minor and serious offenses to fall into the inadmissibility class. So if by chance you have been convicted even something you consider minor, check this first. And what ever you do, do not lie to Canadian Immigrations Officers. If they catch you in a lie, well you may spend some time somewhere else in Canada.
 

brucetmoose

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Location
Rochester, NY
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Used to own a 2002 Jetta TDI - Black/Black
Convicted - right ?

"No (looks at the army recruiting guy), we haven't been convicted." ;)

I do have several convictions though which relate to TDI's :D

I'll leave the knife home. No sense starting WWIII over it. Hopefully I won't need it while in the Yukon fighting off bears trying to steal my TDI.
 

whitedog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Location
Bend, Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta that I fill by myself
brucetmoose said:
"No (looks at the army recruiting guy), we haven't been convicted." ;)

I do have several convictions though which relate to TDI's :D

I'll leave the knife home. No sense starting WWIII over it. Hopefully I won't need it while in the Yukon fighting off bears trying to steal my TDI.
The correct question should be, "Kid, did you ever go to court?"
 

bhtooefr

TDIClub Enthusiast, ToofTek Inventor
Joined
Oct 16, 2005
Location
Newark, OH
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None
Reading that...

Would "failure to yield" be considered a criminal conviction that would cause trouble? I plead no contest on that, and my plea was accepted, though. Further complicating matters.

Based on some of the stuff there... :eek:
 

wny_pat

Top Post Dawg
Joined
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Location
Western New York State
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2002 Jetta TDI
bhtooefr said:
Reading that...

Would "failure to yield" be considered a criminal conviction that would cause trouble? I plead no contest on that, and my plea was accepted, though. Further complicating matters.

Based on some of the stuff there... :eek:
Think failure to yield would be minor traffic infraction. They are talking about criminal convictions like felony and misdemeanors, even traffic law related. DWI, DWAI, Reckless driving, Road Rage, and other more worse crimes.

A organization I belong to held a convention up there last year and they had to notify all the members of this particular Canadian Law. Also gave out the info on how to apply for special entry to attend the convention if anyone had a problem. I think the biggest thing is to be truthful, plus tell them at border that you are attending a convention, what and where the convention is.
 
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wny_pat

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 7, 2004
Location
Western New York State
TDI
2002 Jetta TDI
brucetmoose said:
No sense starting WWIII over it. Hopefully I won't need it while in the Yukon fighting off bears trying to steal my TDI.
Loved that John Candy movie!! And you should not have to fight off any bears unless you are running wvo.
 
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