A Guide to Crossing the Border - Seabright Farm Cottages

A Guide to Crossing the Border

The Peace Arch, located at the border between Surrey, BC and Blaine, WA
Photo Credit: GoToVan / Wikimedia Commons /
Source

Living in Point Roberts means scenic ocean views, peaceful Pacific Northwest lifestyles … and lots of border crossings. While Canada and the United States have a strong relationship and crossing the border is usually a simple process, there are some rules and regulations that you should keep in mind if you want a smooth transit.

Here are some key points to know:

General

  • If you cross the border regularly, we strongly recommend enrolling in a Trusted Traveler Programs like NEXUS allow members to use dedicated lanes and bypass border traffic, thereby greatly speeding up crossings. And it’s easy to start your signup, it’s on-line.
  • Borders are under federal regulations and laws, not state or provincial. If it’s illegal federally, it’s illegal at the border, even if it would be legal in both Washington and British Columbia. These days marijuana usage is one tricky issue catching travellers off-guard.
  • Check the border wait time before you head out. The Point Roberts – Boundary Bay crossing can get surprisingly busy in the summer, so make sure you know how long the wait could be.
  • Know what items are prohibited and restricted (fresh apples have tripped up many travellers) and the special requirements for things like medicine.

Documents

  • Going to Canada:
    • Canadian citizens returning to Canada need either a valid passport, or another proof of citizenship and photo ID.
    • Americans entering Canada must have proof of citizenship and a government-issued photo ID. While a passport satisfies both these conditions, other documents can include a birth certificate, Certificate of Indian Status, a Permanent Resident Card or a certificate of citizenship or naturalization.
  • Going to the US:
    • Canadian residents entering the US must present either a passport, a Trusted Traveler (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST) card or an enhanced driver’s license.
    • US residents will need either a passport or a Trusted Traveler card to return to the US.

 Pets

  • Border guards can prevent an animal from crossing the border if it is sick, or if they think it might be sick. If your pet looks dirty or unhealthy it may get stopped at the border, so make sure your furry companion is clean and happy.
  • If you plan on bringing your dog or cat, make sure you have a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian. Other types of pets may not need health certificates, but may have specific requirements.

Children

  • For Canadians, children under 16 may present a birth certificate or a Canadian Citizenship card, but anyone 16+ must have a passport unless traveling with an organized group.
  • Anyone under 18 travelling without both parents must have a letter of authorization, signed by the absent parent(s).

Please don’t let this list deter you from a trip to Point Roberts. If you make sure you’ve got everything in order before you head out, you should have no problems going either way, and the transits are often shorter than an average red light. The Seabright Farm team all have their NEXUS passes and routinely pop into Tsawwassen for supplies, sushi lunches and Timbits!


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