Preparing for This Year's Border Crossing

Fall 2001 CSANews Issue 40  |  Posted date : Apr 01, 2007.Back to list

At the time of this update, the turmoil in the U.S. is still painfully fresh and there has been much discussion about our shared border. As many of you will be travelling south soon, we'd like to help you cross the border as easily as possible, with some helpful reminders.

Border security has been understandably tightened and customs agents are asking more questions and conducting more thorough inspections. As Bob Jackson noted in his President's Message, our best advice is to get a passport and be patient and courteous when crossing the border. Above all else, remember that travelling into the United States is a privilege, not a right. Our friends and neighbours in the U.S. have gone, and continue to go through, a devastating time and our support is needed more than ever before.

While passports are not mandatory to cross into the United States, Canada Customs now says it's a good idea for Canadians travelling into the U.S. to take their passports along for the ride. They are quite easy to apply for - simply visit your local passport office or post office outlet for an application. It can also be downloaded from the Government of Canada Web site (www.canada.gc.ca). The CSA also recommends a copy of a utility bill, a Canadian property tax notice or rental agreement (as proof of your permanent Canadian home) and a copy of a recent bank account statement (as proof of financial means). Also, be sure to carry at least two types of photo identification if you do not carry a passport.

Our office has been inundated with calls about the trial NEXUS program that was detailed in the last issue of CSA News. Like the CANPASS program, which is designed to simplify re-entry to Canada, the NEXUS pass is designed to "simplify crossing the U.S. border for pre-approved, low-risk travellers." At this time, all designated traffic lanes for the NEXUS and CANPASS programs have been closed while officials reassess our border security. No indication has yet been given as to when these lanes will be reopened.

We encourage you, however, to apply for both of these programs. Not only can they make life easier for you, but it will also demonstrate to the authorities at the border that we are willing to do what we can to help make border crossing more effective and efficient for everyone.

You can apply for the NEXUS program either online at the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Web site (www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca) or via their toll-free number
(1-866-639-8726). For those of you crossing back into Canada on a frequent basis, whether by car, private boat, or by air, the CANPASS program application is available at the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Web site (see above) or by calling their toll-free service number (1-800-461-9999).

For our members who fly to their winter destinations any where in the world, common sense is the key. According to an article on the AOL home page, newly forbidden carry-on items include knives, scissors or shears of any kind, nail clippers, straight-edged and certain razors, box and carpet cutters, ice picks and "cutting instruments" of any kind. Some foreign airlines and airports are even banning knitting needles. Here's a good rule of thumb - in your carry-on luggage, bring a book, a change of underwear, any medication you may need and your jewellery. Anything else should go into your bags to be checked.

As a last suggestion, if you are driving to the U.S. or Mexico, a list of Canadian border crossing posts and up to date waiting times are also available at
www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca. Also know that early morning (prior to 7:00 a.m.) have much shorter crossings delays than during the day.

If you follow these suggestions and guidelines, they should help minimize any potential problems that may arise while crossing any border during these troubling times.