Crossing the border from Canada back to the U.S.

Mountie_TrooperI get stressed out before driving across the border to or from the U.S. in the RV.  Not because we have anything to hide, but because of some horror stories I’ve heard about people who presumably also had nothing to hide. So before driving across the Canada/ U.S. border, I always prepare thoroughly. This time I gathered passports, paperwork for the car and RV, Angel’s rabies certificate, and a list of open and unopened liquor.uscanadaborder

In the past we’ve crossed with zero produce nor raw meat, but we had a few vegetables left and decided to bring them and declare them. Our sense from various sources of information was that no fruit is allowed whatsoever, but some vegetables might be ok.

I’d also read that dog food wasn’t allowed in or out of the U.S./Canada border. So when we bought some dog food in Canada, I asked the proprietor of the pet food store about that. He said that the important thing was to keep the package to show what the ingredients are and where the food was made. But he didn’t know which specific foods were not allowed.glacier  001

We crossed the border at a pretty quiet area, Chief Mountain, which is between Watertown National Park and Glacier National Park. The customs officer did in fact ask about produce, raw meats and dog food. We showed him our produce, and he confiscated all of it except for onions, garlic and cilantro. For some reason he even took our rosemary. So maybe he was going to make a fabulous dish with rosemary that night 🙂

Hector handed him the dog food bag. And the officer told us that the two ingredients currently not allowed are goat and lamb. Apparently because those were responsible for an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease years ago. Good to know.

He never asked about liquor nor about the rabies certificate. And he of course asked about guns, which require proper documentation.

So a couple of tips from this border crossing are:

It’s best to avoid taking ANY produce or raw meats across

If you must take dog food across the border, keep all bags or containers

Always be honest when answering questions because if you declare something that’s not allowed they will confiscate it or you might be refused entry, but if you don’t declare something not allowed, you may get fined or worse

And the resource with the most comprehensive information I’ve found to this point is – www.ezbordercrossing.com. This website includes a separate page for every port of entry between Canada and the U.S. And for each port of entry it contains information about border wait times, days when high traffic is anticipated, closures (for example, the Chief Mountain border crossing closes in Winter), telephone numbers and more.

us can flagBeing better informed relieves some of the stress.   And I have to say that every customs officer we’ve encountered these last two years has been extremely courteous. But check with me next summer when we’ll cross the border into and out of the U.S a couple of more times.

~ Brenda

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  1. Was the meat fresh – we, and friends usually take a freezer full of Canadian beef if we are going to Florida because the beef there is not the best. A call to US customs ve themchecksaid that is permitted and we have never been asked if we have raw meat.

    • The officer didn’t specify frozen vs. fresh since we told him we had none. It makes sense to me that frozen might be ok and fresh might not, and if you called to check I’m sure you’re ok.
      Enjoy beautiful Florida this winter!
      Brenda

  2. For us it was always the crossing back to USA that we feel anxious about. Like you, they took away our cut up lemon and tomatoes in the fridge.
    And yes we answered all questions honestly 🙂
    Welcome back to the good old USA!

  3. Thanks for the website link Brenda. I had no idea how extensive the questioning was getting back into the states. And I agree, it is always best to be informed.

    • You’re welcome, that’s a really good link that took me two years to find. If you have any questions, feel free to send a message. Glad to be home.
      Brenda

  4. Problems I have never even thought about!!!! Glad you made it back, although I would have come to bail you out!!! Welcome back!