Are the Canadian Land Border Duty Free Stores owned by the Canadian government?
No, each Duty Free store is independently owned and operated. They are licenced by the Canadian government and follow Canada Border Service Agencies rules and regulations.
I am Canadian, can I shop at Duty Free?
Yes, if you are Canadian you can shop at Duty Free. There are advantages to shopping with us.
Does every border crossing have a Duty Free store?
While Canada and the United States share 140 border crossings, only 27 offer Duty Free shopping.
If I live in Canada and visit a Duty Free store can I turn around and never leave Canada?
No, in order for shoppers to take advantage of the tax savings, they must cross the border.
If I stop at Duty Free, do I still have to go through customs?
Yes, it is the law that everyone who crosses the border must go through customs. Be sure to follow the Canadian or American border crossing guidelines and be aware of customs allowances.
Is there a difference between Canadian and U.S. Duty Free?
Yes, Canadian and U.S. Duty Free stores are separate business entities and are not related.
Do I need travel insurance or medical insurance?
If you are travelling in a personal vehicle, buying travel insurance is your choice. Your Canadian government health care plan is not valid abroad and will likely only cover a small portion of medical expenses if you experience a medical emergency.
Do I need to go through a body scanner?
Body scanners are technology currently only used at airports, not at land border crossings.
Will my luggage/vehicle be scanned?
Vehicles are scanned for RFID tags and radioactivity while they wait in line, just ahead of the customs booth.
Can customs search my laptop, camera and mp3 player?
Yes, U.S. customs has the legal right to open and review your electronic devices.
If I have a criminal record, can I still cross the border?
Yes, you can still cross the border, but be prepared to answer questions about your conviction, including when it last occurred.
Can I drive a car that is not registered in my name, such as my father’s car?
You can drive a car that is not registered in your name but it is best to have written consent from the car owner. Also be sure to bring proof of insurance and registration.
I’m travelling with kids who are not mine (i.e. driving a sport team to a competition). What do I need to be aware of?
You must have written consent from the parents or guardians giving permission for the children to leave the country.
If am travelling with my children but not with my spouse, or if I am bringing my grandchildren but not their parents, what do I need to be aware of?
In both cases, bring proof of written consent. The consent should grant permission for the children to leave the country, and state the name and contact information of the other parent(s) or guardian(s). Please visit Canadian Border Services or the U.S. Department of State for the latest information.
Can I drive a rental car over the border?
Yes, generally you can drive a rental vehicle across the border. You should inform your car rental company that you will cross the border and they will inform you of their individual policies. It is best that you keep a copy of the rental agreement with you.
Do I have to declare food that I am taking across the border?
Yes, travellers to the U.S. must declare all food, plants and animals, including fruit, vegetables, snacks and beverages.
Can I bring my prescription medicine?
Yes, you can bring your prescription medicine if the prescription is written in your name.
Can I carry large amounts of cash across the border?
You can carry up to $10,000 USD without declaring it to customs. If you carry more, you must declare this to U.S. Customs.
Can I carry firearms across the border?
Canadians will need an export permit to bring a firearm across the border. Contact the Export Controls Division of International Trade Canada to find out more.
Visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency for a complete reference to what can and cannot be brought into the U.S.
Can I bring a pet?
Yes, you can bring your pet. Some States require cats to have proof of rabies vaccinations, and all customs officials may request a veterinarian inspection if they suspect your cat is ill. Dogs must have a certificate showing they have been vaccinated against rabies. Any pet suspected of illness will likely be detained by customs. You do not have to pay duty on your pet cat or dog.
Can I transport a horse?
For horses and all other animals, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture for further details.
What happens if I have visited a farm?
You should inform U.S. Border Services if you live on or have visited a farm or if you have been around livestock. Unless you have been to a country with known health and safety issues, your farm visit is unlikely to be an issue.
Canadians can bring 1L of alcohol (1L of spirits, wine and beer) and some tobacco into the U.S. regardless of the duration of the stay in the U.S., so long as the alcohol and tobacco is for personal use.
You may have to pay taxes and duties on purchases over and above the customs allowance. If you exceed your duty free allowance and exemptions entering the U.S., the following approximate U.S. duty and tax rates apply:
- US $2 – $3 per bottle of liquor, on average
- US $1.90 per case of beer, on average
- US $10.07 per carton of cigarettes, on average
*US duty rates on purchases exceeding 1 litre of alcohol are assessed according to alcohol content
Products other than alcohol and tobacco may also require a duty payment.
If you are Canadian, when you return to Canada you may be asked to pay the regular taxes and duties on the value of items over your customs allowance. Be aware that many items qualify for reduced or zero duty.