WITH September 1 being a statutory holiday, many Canadians are heading down to the U.S. for a chance to get away for a short holiday before the kids go back to school. Be prepared for periods of very heavy traffic along the border between the United States and Canada. For many border crossings, this is the first or second busiest period for the entire year. Pardon Services Canada advises planning ahead and keeping in mind the following tips while travelling this Labour Day weekend:
* All adults and children who are travelling must have proper identification. For children under the age of 16, an original or copy of their birth certificate needs to be presented to border officials. When travelling with children, have their identification ready such as picture ID, birth certificate, or passport, as well as a letter of permission for any child who is travelling without their parents or with a non-custodial parent.
* Use your Nexus card and save time at land, air and marine ports of entry when entering Canada or the United States. Keep in mind that you can only use NEXUS if everybody in the vehicle is a cardholder.
* Know your personal exemptions, including those for alcohol and tobacco. Declare all purchases made, including duty-free purchases, and have your receipts readily available upon your return to Canada.
* For road trips, try to plan the time and place you return to Canada in advance and avoid crossing during peak travel times. Hitting the road on Thursday will avoid the first part of the weekend traffic, and by returning on Tuesday rather than Monday, you will miss the worst of the traffic as long as you also avoid normal rush-hour commuter hours.
* Consider all available ports of entry in the area. If possible, use a smaller alternative port rather than the major ports.
* Border wait times for land borders are available at www.cbsa.gc.ca.
* If you have a criminal record, you might require a US Waiver. If you already have a waiver, make sure has not expired. Learn more on about US Entry Waivers at www.PardonServicesCanada.com.
Now you are all set to have lots of fun and enjoy your trip!