With Memorial Day weekend as the official opening for local theme parks and beaches, it’s no surprise this marks the beginning of the summer season for many. This, of course, means thousands of people will be flocking across the U.S./Canada border to celebrate. If you’re looking to cross the border this busy weekend, here are some tips to make your trip a little less stressful.
• Try to leave early in the morning or later in the day to avoid rush hour traffic. CBP reports that the best times to cross the border are typically before 7 a.m. and after 8 p.m.
• Plan ahead and check local government websites for crossing times an hour or so before you plan on leaving for your commute. The Canadian Border Services Agency updates waiting times at least once every hour. You can access that information here: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/bwt-taf/menu-eng.html.
• Consider altering your route to a less frequented port. While this may be a bit out of the way, you could save yourself an hour or more in wait times.
• You can also save yourself (and those around you) some time by having everyone’s forms of identification ready. When crossing the border, the preferred form of documentation is a passport, but NEXUS cards and enhanced licenses are also accepted. Children under the age of 16 can present an original birth certificate in lieu of the passport, Nexus or enhanced license.
• If you’re planning on attending or hosting a BBQ or cookout, you may want to hold off on your grocery shopping until you have reached your destination. CBP enforces strict regulations on bringing food into both countries. You could be asked to pull over for an inspection if you have prohibited goods, such as fresh fruit or firewood.
• If you have done any shopping on your trip, be sure to know what you have purchased while out of the country. You will need to declare the total value of all purchases at the border. Border inspectors may even ask to look at your receipts for said goods.
• You can also make the border inspector’s job easier by rolling the window all the way down, turning off distractions like car radios or TVs, speaking clearly, and removing sunglasses so that you can be properly identified.
Remember, Berardi Immigration Law can help you cross the border on Memorial Day, and throughout the year, with confidence! If you have any questions about crossing the border, please schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today.