View Full Version : Taking your Montana from the US into Canada

10-23-2010, 06:31 PM
Can someone with experience of crossing the border into Canada from the US and of course back into the US comment on what the experience is like?

For example, should we expect a dog to be taken inside our Montana? Do they do a lot of searching etc, does it take a long time?

My wife really does not want to cross the border with our 5er - but I am hoping her fears are unjustified.

Apprecaite your help!

10-23-2010, 06:52 PM
We have went back and forth four time this year. One time we had some one look in our refrigerator.
Other than that it did not take any longer than just driving a car.

10-23-2010, 07:08 PM
Folks do it all the time! No probem. The odds of having a search dog into your rig is rather remote. As a matter of fact you will most likely have zero problems. Do read up on the government site about crossing the border to know what the rules are.

When we crossed into Canada we had a "sick" dog with us. By that I mean our little guy was allergic to the meds he was to get for rabies etc. So it had been more than 10 years since we'd had any shot record for him. We knew that they might turn us back because of the little guy. But the agent asked a few questions about his routine and how we kept him and she was satisfied enough to let us in.

In addition to questions about the dog they asked the standard questions about guns and ammunition. We do not carry so no gun or ammo. Then the questions about the food stuff. We had no beef and no fruits. I had a six pack of beer..... I was aging it since it had been in the rig for at least a year! I think they asked about wood too. But we had none.

The rules about the food stuff changes from time to time so you do need to get the latest info. But no biggies. We have learned to NOT joke or try to be funny with the agents! They do not like that!

Coming back across was even easier. They took our Id and went into an office and came back in a few minutes and said "welcome home". Total time about 5-10 minutes.

At the time we were still financing our tow vehicle and rig so got a statement from finance company allowing us to leave country with them. Our insurance for vehicles is good in Canada as well as US. Unlike going into Mexico.

In short don't worry about it. Go. Have fun. You, of course, do need a passport or a passport card. So make sure you have those.

Let us know how it works out for you.

10-23-2010, 07:37 PM
Cris, We do it all the time. We actually live in Langley, BC and store our Montana in Lynden. We have on the average of about once every other month taken it back and forth. From storage to home in Langley then back into USA for our vacations and holidays. At the end of our holidays we bring it back into Canada to clean up and prep for next trip. We have two dogs too. Only problems were with dry dog food into US not in original package so we had no proof it came from US. ANy type of beef into US wont go. Even processed lunch meat from Costco from Canada, US will not accept. There are numerous Goverment sites that give info. IF you have any specific questions I would be glad to try and calm your fears.

10-23-2010, 08:49 PM
We crossed each direction once last year and once this year. They did look in the frig into the U.S. once - otherwise just asked what we had. However coming into Montana last year we got a full Monty scan!!! We had to leave the trailer and take the dog with us. Then they slowly drove a semi cab with an xray arm attached. It went up about 15 feet, over the trailer, and then down to almost ground level. I was about to take a picture of it and then thought I had better ask. NO PICTURES of anything at a border crossing! :D

stiles watson
10-24-2010, 04:15 AM
We crossed at New Brunswick crossing with a caravan of fellow RVers. The first 13 went through like a breeze. But the 14th was thoroughly searched. They found a small canister of mace that the single lady driving the rig had forgotten about.

They impounded her rig. It cost her several thousand dollars in fines and then she was persona non grata, but they sold her a "temporary citizenship" for an additional $250 and let her in. Things change. This occurred in summer 2007.

Guns, ammo (even one cartridge), or mace or the like can get you into deep trouble quickly whether you did it intentionally or not.

10-24-2010, 04:19 AM
Unfortunately the full scan will be more and more prevalent but that is no reason not to go. If you are legal you have nothing to worry about. Do read the rules but remember that agents differ. We forgot about a cheap bottle of champagne once, a new agent found it and it cost us $20, about 3 times what it was worth.

10-24-2010, 04:52 AM
If you travel with a gun, mace or stun gun, etc, what do you do with them when you want to go into Canada? I would think renting a storage locker somewhere on the USA side would be the answer to this, but where would you do that? Anyone else have a solution?

10-24-2010, 05:18 AM
We travel the opposite way from Canada to the US usually twice a year and have done so for so many years I can't remember when we started hauling our Rv across. It's definitely different to cross today but no real problem for any law abiding citizen. You might want to give Canada Customs a call to find out just what you can/cannot take across because it can change from one week to the next. This last time crossing US customs took our peppers, onions and tomatoes (guess they all had a fresh salad for lunch) as they had just been put on the restricted list for some reason. Just answer all the questions honestly and in a business like manor and you will be just fine. We find when we go down the US customs always wants to step into our trailer and have a look, hey we are not hiding anything so feel free. We have never had an extensive search or even seen a dog. When we come back to Canada customs we just make sure we have a documented list of our purchases, proof of our first night of camping when we crossed, our passports and documentation of dog ownership and rabies shots and it's like welcome home, have a safe trip home. Also watch the height of some of those canopies at the border. I know at Dunseith the US canopy states 13'2" of height. We are at 13' with just a little clearance to spare while the Canadian side is like 14'6" go figure? If we get any taller we will have to take the outside lanes with all the large trucks, anyway, just come to our country and HAVE FUN!!!

10-24-2010, 08:19 AM
You don't mention you have pets. You'll need documentation to show current license and rabies or other appropriate shots, and I've read you need a "note from your doctor" that the animals do not have communicable diseases to animals or humans.

I've always left my pets home if I know I was crossing a border so I have no pet experience at crossings. It's also been 4 years since I crossed into Mexico or Canada, but I just wanted to cover what little I've heard about pets.

10-24-2010, 08:21 AM
What about cats? We travel with our 2 cats. Because they are inside cats we don't both with rabies shots for them and don't really have any vet records for them. Will that be a problem crossing?

Mrs. CountryGuy
10-24-2010, 09:18 AM
Dennis, could you extend additional information on what you had for documentation that your dog could not have the shots. I have that issue.


10-24-2010, 11:36 AM
Living as close as I do and having to drive through Canada to get to
Los Anchorage and back I do wish to share a thought or two. If you ever decide to bring grandkids along make sure you have a notorized formal letter signed by parents and good ID for the kids. If you ever cross as a single parent with your own minor kids, have the same legal letter and ID. Very important. You can find yourself sitting at the border for hours or days without these items in these situations. I had a good friend sit at the border last year with his own boys for 6 hours while attempting to get in touch with his wife on a fishing trip to BC. His cell phone did not work at the border.

Also... if you plan on doing any fishing, at least in Alaska, BC or the Yukon you can buy bear spray (HIGHLY suggest doing so) and CAN bring it across. Just make sure to declare it.

NEVER EVER NEVER attmept to bring a firearm across the border. They WILL catch you.


Robert and Kerri
Juneau, Alaska

10-24-2010, 11:47 AM
We had a letter from the vet outlining the problem. I believe we also had a statement from the city recognizing the problem and authorizing us to continue to register the little guy for his tags. We had absolutely no problem with the city. I thought we would have a major issue with them so it was nice to find out it was OK.

By the way the vet letter also indicated the little guy was in good health other than his allergy to the meds. The letter was obtained and dated just a day or so before we left.

There was a moment or two when we were talking with the border agent that I thought she was going to refuse to let us in the country. But after answering her questions straight forwardly she welcomed us to Canada.

On reentry to the US they did not even ask about the dog. If I remember correctly I think the agent may have offered the little guy a dog bone treat.

Hopefully if you run into the same situation you'll be lucky like we were. We were prepared to NOT go on into Canada because we knew we did NOT have the proper documentation and we would not have been upset. We would have been disappointed but not upset. After all rules are rules.

Good luck.

Mrs. CountryGuy
10-24-2010, 01:11 PM
Thanks Dennis, I believe I will have the vet issue such a letter to carry with me. Current plans do not include a run at the border, but, this is great info to store away for IN CASE something presents itself.

The preconcieved attitude of, if they won't let me, then we go elsewhere, ya, good plan.

10-24-2010, 01:19 PM
Thanks to everyone for the great source of information. This should definately make my wife feel more comfortable about crossing with our 5er. We do cross from time to time to Canada, living near Seattle, we enjoy our trips to Vancouver. But have so far never crossed for a longer stay with our 5er.

Should now be an option, thanks to you all.

We don't have guns and no pets, just 2 kids :-).

Thanks again.

10-24-2010, 04:12 PM
CasaDelSol, you need a rabies cert for Cats same as for dogs. We have show Cats and attend shows in Canada or cross Canada to Michigan. Most of the time we have the papers in our hand and they either don't ask or if they do we hold of the papers and they say thanks. We've had them look into the Rig twice in years of going back and forth. Like eveyone says, be polite and truthful and no problem.

10-25-2010, 02:37 AM
thanks mhs4771...that's what I needed to know!! It's time to take them to the vet anyway.

10-25-2010, 12:15 PM
Since this is a common discussion perhaps a mod can make this a sticky on the main page.


10-25-2010, 02:31 PM
We have crossed several times and had no probems. This year we crossed north of Shelby, Montana. The Lewis and Clark RV Park in Shelby rents lockers where you can leave firearms, ammo, liquor, etc. The price for the locker this year was $20/month or portion thereof. That worked well for us.
Dick and sharon

10-26-2010, 11:11 AM
quote:Originally posted by footloose

We have crossed several times and had no probems. This year we crossed north of Shelby, Montana. The Lewis and Clark RV Park in Shelby rents lockers where you can leave firearms, ammo, liquor, etc. The price for the locker this year was $20/month or portion thereof. That worked well for us.
Dick and sharon

:) Thanks Footloose, for the locker storage info at the border for things not legal to cross into Canada. It came up in conversation the other day. Thanks again!:)

10-26-2010, 12:26 PM
We were concerned about crossing the border the last two years with our aging dog. It was a simple matter of going to the vet for a check up/shot update if needed and he filled out a certificate of health which was good for two years. Handed that to the agent at the border, who looked at it, handed it back and said hello to the dog allowing us to enter Canada. Very similar story coming back. Only concerns they told me they have with RV's is because we usually haul our own food. Most concerned with transporting fruit over the border. We just waited till we crossed and then loaded up on fruit and produce. Very easy and painless procedure.

10-26-2010, 01:50 PM
In re-reading my post, it might not be quite clear. The charge for the locker is $20. The charge is good for a month. We weren't gone for a month, but we still had to pay $20. We thought it was a bargain.

11-03-2010, 07:03 PM
We were searched from one end to the other on both the truck and 5er...maybe it had something to do with me being in LE ( have a lic plate indicating state police alumni)and they figured I had to have something somewhere...which we did not...but it took about 45 minutes at the border to get thru...no problem coming back....we will be going again in 2011..crossed in new Brunswick as well...have fun...it is worth visiting...

11-04-2010, 03:07 AM
Our daughter and family were up visiting a few months ago. We were under the IMPRESSION, HAD BEEN TOLD BY FRIENDS children 15 and under did not need passports. Upon returning to US they were instructed in no uncertain terms the children must have passports regardless of age. I post this as a heads up from personal experience. ...do you suppose they would have made us keep the three grandkids here in Canada? Happy travels, crossing the border should be no more intimidating than renewing your drivers license, or having your yearly physical.