The US to Canada by Road: Things to Keep in Mind

If you’re planning to travel from the US to Canada by road, crossing the border can be a different experience. United States and Canada share the longest international border, with about 5,525 kilometers (3,451 miles) of shared boundary between these two nations.

That’s longer than the distance between New York City and Los Angeles, or London and Moscow. So, crossing the border from the US to Canada by road can be an interesting experience if you know what to expect.

So let’s look at what you’ll need to do to make your journey as simple as possible. First, we’ll take a quick look at how to plan your drive between two countries.

united states to canada by land border

US to Canada by Road: Be Prepared

For crossing the border from the United States to Canada, you will need to do some preparation for your trip in advance. Because it will make your trip smooth and easier. Also, you will not miss out on anything due to lack of preparation.

First, check your passport validity otherwise apply for a new one if needed. If your passport has an expiration date within 6 months of crossing into Canada, get a visa.

Checklist for crossing USA/Canada border

You will require some important documents at the entry point of US-Canada border. Here are some important things to keep in mind.

When crossing into Canada, you may answer a few questions and provide documents that prove you are indeed a Canadian or an American.

If you’re traveling with kids, make sure you have original birth certificates or citizenship cards and passports (photo ID). They can ask for your relationship proof, if planning on staying together as a family.

Moreover, be sure that whether your children can travel with just their birth certificates or additional documentation, such as adoption or custody papers are needed.

Remember, your vehicle may not be allowed into Canada if it does not meet the country’s safety and emissions standards. The Canadian CBSA and US Customs agencies both have websites that give full details on all their different processes.

Above all, at the border service’s office, declare belongings such as pets, animals, food, plants, and firearms you’re bringing with you to Canada.

By Car Crossing the US-Canada border

You will need to show your valid US driving license and IDP (International Driving Permit). In most of US states, you can get an IDP for free, but there is a fee to pay in regions, for example Illinois and California.

Besides, you may require a Canadian visa unless you are just visiting for tourism. Visa requirements vary depending on what type of travel document is used (resident card) and where it was issued.

Best Time for Travelling

Some parts of Trans-Canada Highway remain closed in winter, so plan your trip for spring or summer. It is also worth knowing that in Canada; they sell the gas in litters. Also, they use high-octane fuel such as “super” and “premium” and some older American cars aren’t compatible with.

Also Read: Cheap Places to Live in Canada

Fee & Cost: At Borders

For travelling between New York and Ontario, pay an inbound fee of $3.00 (CAD) and/or outbound fee of $7.50 CAD. Thus, the total cost per person is $10.50 each way. However, children aged 5-11 pay half price. But for children under 5-year of age there is no fee for border crossing.

Moreover, $2.50 fee applies on a private vehicle that crossing border. If you’re driving a commercial vehicle, pay $6 fee. You can also purchase an annual pass for $75 that allows to cross multiple times throughout a year.

Even though it’s less than $20 USD per person, don’t forget that travelers should always carry their travel documents when crossing border from US to Canada by road.

Non US Citizen

If you are not an American, may need to face a short interview with a customs official while entering to Canada. Usually, these interviews determine whether you’re admissible to Canada.

You may be asked to show your passport and some questions, for instance:

  • How long do you intend on staying?
  • What is your employment in the USA?
  • How much money do you have?

Don’t be scared or confused. The immigration officials are relatively friendly and aren’t too concerned with answers of travelers.

Entry points at US-Canada Border

In reality, the USA and Canada shares the lengthiest international border. That stretches 8,891 km (kilometers), or 5,543 m (miles) from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west.

This international boundary has over 100 entry points although, not all of the land borders remain open a year round. You can access the border region from eastern-side or west.

The points on the eastern border are mostly located in major cities like Buffalo, New York, or Detroit, Michigan. Furthermore, the most heavily travelled entry point is between Blaine, Washington, and Lynden (Washington).

There is no trouble entering or leaving at official points. Otherwise, pay fines or have your vehicle confiscated. Above all, some entry points at border are not safe for travelers with no government supervision.

The busiest borders crossings

  • Ambassador Bridge (Ambassador Gateway)
  • Peace Bridge (Buffalo–Fort Erie)
  • Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls–US side)
  • Blue Water Bridge (Sarnia–Port Huron)
  • Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

The busiest two, Ambassador Bridge and Peace Bridge are in proximity to Canada’s three largest metropolitan areas, Toronto, Ontario; Buffalo, New York; and Windsor, Ontario. Queenston-Lewiston is roughly midway between Buffalo and Montreal while Pigeon River is approximately equidistant between Toronto and Boston.


If you’ve ever considered taking a trip from the US to Canada by road, you’re in for a treat. The journey itself is half the fun. You’ll get to experience the wide open road, take in the gorgeous scenery. But don’t let the excitement of the journey distract you from the planning process.

When planning a road trip, most people will head to Google Maps to find the best route. But exploring Canada by road offers a different set of challenges and rewards than simply sticking to the highway.

Therefore, in this blog I discussed some important aspects, also highlighted key points with associated links. So, potential travelers can research and plan their trips to travel to the US to Canada by land.

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