Summer Cross-Border Recreation Travel Into The US

Summer Cross-Border Recreation Travel Into The US

Summer is in full swing, which means more reasons to travel, and what better way to do just that than with an RV escape to the US? Although Canada and the US share one of the world's most significant and robust relationships, recreational travel for Canadians could be subject to secondary inspection when going through Customs clearance.

This post will guide you on the items that can be brought in, prohibited items, and the necessary documents for hassle-free cross-border travel to the US this summer.

Bringing Pets Into The US Temporarily 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a temporary suspension for dogs being brought into the US from countries that are considered high risk for rabies; some states do require additional vaccinations and health certificates. It is essential to check the requirements for bringing dogs into specific states. Furthermore, the CDC stated that cats aren’t required to have a rabies vaccination certificate; however, some states in the US could require it. 

When traveling with your pet, it's important to take some precautions to ensure their comfort and safety. Animals can become overwhelmed during the loading and unloading process, so it's a good idea to give them time to get used to their carrier beforehand. Additionally, booking flights with fewer layovers or connections can make the journey smoother. It's crucial to make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel, and if they get easily stressed, consider booking a flight that allows them to sit with you in the cabin. However, it's important to note that each airline has different rules regarding pets in the cabin, so it's best to book in advance and check with the airline beforehand to prepare for your pet's travel. 

Food And Other Perishable Items 

Packing for a vacation, especially cross-border travel, can be stressful. From deciding what to bring to determining whether you packed enough, crossing the border can be far more difficult if you are unfamiliar with the regulations and rules. 

You are permitted to bring food items, including; fruits, meats, or other agricultural products. However, this is dependent on which region or country you are coming from. All food products will need to be declared to Customs. Failure to do so will result in fines and penalties of up to $10,000. Some items may be best to leave at home, and you should plan to purchase some items you want or need in the States. However, there are some approved items you can load up before you head out.

CBP provided the following list of food and other perishable items that are generally admissible
  • Condiments: ketchup (catsup), mustard, mayonnaise, Marmite, and Vegemite and prepared sauces that do not contain meat products.
  • Olive oil and other vegetable oils.
  • Bread, cookies, crackers, cakes, granola bars, cereal, and other baked and processed products.
  • Candy and chocolate.
  • Cheese - Solid cheese that does not contain meat is admissible.
  • Liquid milk and milk products intended for use by infants or very young children are admissible for several days if in a reasonable amount or small quantity. 
  • Juices - Commercially packaged.
  • Tea - Commercially packaged and ready to be boiled, steeped, or microwaved in liquid. Coca, barberry, and loose citrus leaves are prohibited.
  • Spices - most dried spices are allowed except for orange, lemon, lime, and other citrus leaves and seeds, lemongrass, and many vegetable and fruit seeds.
  • Noodles and ramen that do not have animal products in the ingredients.
  • Flour.
  • Mushrooms - fresh, dried, and above-the-ground parts that are clean and free of soil.
  • Nuts - Roasted.
  • Bakery items, candy, chocolate, and dry mixes containing dairy and egg ingredients commercially labeled and presented in final finished packaging are generally admissible.

The following items are admissible according to CBP:

  • Aloe - above-ground parts
  • Coconuts - husks must have been completely removed and cannot have sprouted
  • Garlic - peeled cloves
  • Ginger - clean roots
  • St. John's bread - pod
  • Water chestnut - corm or nut only

Recreational Vehicles 

Recreational vehicles are permitted entry into the US regardless of whether you own or decide to rent an RV. The following travel documents could be required upon arrival into the US;

  • A valid driver's license
  • A copy of your RV rental agreement or registration (Written authorization from the rental company may be required)
  • A valid passport (if applicable) 
  • Insurance certificate for the RV 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a vehicle registered in a country other than the US may enter for personal use by a non-US resident for a period not exceeding a year. 

Gift & Cash 

Money, traveler’s checks, or any other monetary instruments that exceed $10,000 USD must be declared to US Customs upon arrival on the following forms; 

  • CBP Form 6059B: This form provides US Customs with basic information about the traveler and what goods they bring into the US. One form can be completed for your entire family instead of each filling out a form containing more or less the same information.
  • FinCEN Form 105: This form is to be completed by travelers carrying money or monetary instruments. Upon arrival in the US, travelers should file this form. 

All gifts coming into the US must be declared to Customs. Additionally, gifts must not be wrapped when brought into the US, as they will be unwrapped if Customs inspect gifts. CBP states, “Gifts you bring back for personal use must be declared.” However, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, and perfume having a retail value of more than $5.00 are excluded from the gift exemption.

Other Restricted Items 

Plenty of goods are permitted entry into the US. However, there are exceptions, depending on the items and the state you enter. 

The following items require permits and permissions to be granted entry into the US; 

  • Firearms, weapons, and ammunition: You must have a valid purpose for bringing them, such as hunting during hunting season, competitions, repair, etc. 
  • Fireworks: According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), any person importing or transporting display fireworks must obtain a federal explosives license or permit from ATF. Example of display fireworks include those used in professional displays. The ATF does not regulate importing and transporting completed consumer fireworks such as the kind purchased from a stand; however, specific US states do, which could require certificates or permits. Consumer fireworks are regulated by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
  • Cannabis and Cannabis products: While Canada has legalized cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes, and several US states have done the same, it's important to note that cannabis remains a controlled substance at the federal level and is illegal in the US. Therefore, attempting to cross with cannabis products will likely result in refusals, seizures, penalties, and criminal charges. It can also create some challenges in terms of your access to the US in the future.

If you are fully prepared and aware of the requirements and regulations, very few things can go wrong when crossing the border. Stay informed and download our helpful US Summer Cross-Border Recreation Guide to ensure a smooth border-crossing experience that won’t put a damper on your summer travel plans.

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About Author
Aimee Miller

Aimee Miller is the Trade Compliance Supervisor with Pacific Customs Brokers Inc. US operation, located in Blaine, Washington. She is a licensed US Customs Broker and a Certified Customs Specialist, with 19 years of operational and Trade Compliance experience in the trade and transportation industry.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.
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