Normally, my husband, Andrew, and I travel together, but for this trip, Andrew stayed home and I took my mom on a mother-daughter road trip from Seattle, Washington to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada!
Excited to explore my 11th country, we flew into Seattle, got in our rental car and headed for my first ever experience with a the land border crossing. I’ve visited many countries, but I’ve never personally driven from one to another with my own car, let alone a rental! If you’re looking to drive into Canada from the U.S anytime soon, here are a few key things you need to know about border crossing before you go.
You CAN drive a rental car to Canada, no problem! Just make sure your car insurance covers you there before you go. We rented a car from Enterprise at the airport in Seattle and were told at the rental desk there should be no problems driving it across the border.
There are different paths of entry. As a common traveler, all you need to know is that they essentially they come down to NEXUS card holders and everyone else. If you do not frequently cross the land border for work or similar activities, then you will simply follow the classic customs entry.
BEFORE THE BORDERS
Before you get to the borders, there will be signs signaling upcoming names and types of crossings and the time estimated to get to them – including the different pathways for NEXUS card holders versus the rest of the public.
Time expectations of crossing varies greatly! Leave more than what will almost feel like “too much” time in your travel itinerary for crossing. On the way over, we crossed through the border in less than 5 minutes. On the return trip, it took over two hours to go through the border! Seriously – leave plenty of wiggle room in your time frame – you never know!
Items you need at the border: your U.S Passport or U.S Passport card and if you’re the one driving, your driver’s license. There is no requirements for Covid testing at land borders in either direction, just for re-entry into America by the air.
CROSSING THE BORDER
At the border, a customs agent will ask for the passport of everyone in the car and the license of the driver. They will then ask what you are coming to Canada for (e.g. tourism), how long you are staying, and where you are staying. As long as every answer is straightforward and there are no additional questions about your car or anything in it, you should be good to pass on through!
And that’s it! In my experience, crossing the land border from the U.S to Canada is a very simple and straightforward process. Remember to keep your important documents nearby and ready before crossing as well as name of the location you’ll be staying at while in the country.