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How Do I Enter Canada as a Commercial Truck Driver?

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 8:02 p.m.


How Do I Enter Canada as a Commercial Truck Driver?

“How do I enter Canada as a commercial truck driver?” is essential for many trucking professionals. Here are some critical tips to keep in mind before you attempt to drive into Canada:

  • Check the list of countries with restrictions and exemptions before traveling.
  • Ensure that you possess valid documentation, including a passport and an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). Read here about Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.
  • Obtain a commercial truck driver’s license from your home country and ensure it is still valid. What is the DOT SAP Program?
  • If you are transporting cargo into Canada, determine whether you must obtain a Temporary Operating Permit or weigh scale clearance.
  • Familiarize yourself with Canadian road regulations and safety standards.
  • Make sure you have all the required paperwork for the goods being transported.
  • After entering Canada, go through a written customs inspection to ensure compliance with import regulations. How To Request the DOT PIN Number?

The New Canadian Border Vaccination Requirement Is Still in Effect

Are you a truck driver planning on entering Canada? You'll need to use ArriveCAN to provide your mandatory travel information, including proof of vaccination. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that all commercial trucking professionals comply with the Canadian Border Vaccination Requirement for Exempt Essential Travelers. So don't forget to complete your ArriveCAN form before crossing the border!

You can submit your travel information to Canada up to 72 hours before you arrive using ArriveCAN. It's a generally fast process that is free. You can use either the mobile app or the web-based version. Truck drivers can also save time by creating a reusable receipt in ArriveCAN. With this single receipt, they only have to submit their mandatory details once for each border crossing. What is MC Number?

The FAST Program

If you haven't already, sign up for the FAST program. Drivers who plan to drive across the border into Canada or Mexico can join this program for a smoother transition at the border with pre-approved shipments. To apply and benefit from all that FAST offers, fill out an application and bring it to your nearest FAST center. For more information and access to an application form, visit the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection website.

Walk-Through for Arriving at the Border

Review your paperwork thoroughly, at least two hours before getting to the border. Connect with your Customs broker and send them your documents for further processing. Ensure all of your paperwork is in order, and be aware if an inspection from Customs is necessary. Also, make sure to adhere to truck weight regulations that are applicable at the Canadian point of entry. Doing this will help expedite the process when you arrive at the border. Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics.

When you arrive at the border, make sure to head towards the "Primary Inspection" lane. You must have two documents on hand as proof of identity. Typical documents include your passport and commercial driver's license. Remember that weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited in Canada. Having a firearm can result in detainment or imprisonment. If all your papers, documents, and information are checked out, then the immigration officer should grant you access to Canada without any difficulty. You must visit the website link.

If requested by an immigration official, proceed to the lane designated as "Secondary Inspection. This usually happens when your paperwork is not in order, or a Customs inspection is required for your shipment. Signs that read “Truck Inspection” will guide you through the process until completion. Once you have passed all inspections and fulfilled any requirements of the Customs broker, you may then enter Canada. Visit the DOT Authority Package, which contains tips to prepare for 2022 DOT Week filings in minutes. How do you get an Oregon Trip And Fuel Permit?

Tips for Arriving at the Canadian Border

Here are some tips for when you arrive at the border:

  • Turn off all radios, cell phones, CB communications, or other equipment that may impede communication or distract the immigration officer.
  • Remain alert and cautious when approaching the border.
  • Ensure you have all necessary documentation ready to present to the immigration officer. Also, visit the website link.
  • Follow instructions from the immigration officer carefully.
  • Respectfully answer the officer's questions and be prepared to provide additional information if needed.
  • Be aware of your rights as an individual entering a foreign country.
  • Never arrive at the border with alcohol in your system. If an immigration officer detects alcohol, you may be detained and not allowed to enter Canada—the importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule.
  • If you have a criminal record or a DUI conviction, expect more scrutiny from the immigration official.
  • In some cases, especially if you are carrying hazardous materials, you must provide a rehabilitation letter before being granted entry. What is Unified Carrier Registration?
  • Once again, be aware that entering Canada with alcohol on your breath can lead to severe consequences, including immediate detention and deportation. So, it's best to avoid drinking shortly before arriving at the border.

Do Truck Drivers Need a Passport To Enter Canada?

Truck drivers crossing the border need to be prepared with their personal documents. This includes a valid passport, driver's license, and proof of insurance. Be sure you have all these items in order before making the trip. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

Is a US CDL Valid in Canada?

US and Canadian commercial drivers are recognized as having valid licenses, as long as each driver's license is suited to the vehicle or vehicle combination being driven. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) states that these credentials must be in place for any cross-border travel. Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy.

More Information About Crossing the Border into Canada

Due to increased security regulations in recent years, crossing the border into Canada can be a challenge for truck drivers. If you have a criminal record, such as a DUI conviction, or are seeking employment with routes into Canada, you may need to obtain a FAST (Free and Secure Trade) card to help expedite your entry. To simplify the process, you must prepare all required paperwork beforehand and familiarize yourself with Canadian regulations. By following these guidelines, you can navigate the border crossing with ease. Check out The Basics of Farm Exemptions. You will then be able to maintain complete motor carrier authority or broker. What are the Top 3 DOT paper-appointedViolations?

Key Points: How To Enter Canada as a Commercial Trucker

  • Have a valid commercial driver's license from the US.
  • Obtain a Commercial Vehicle Operator's Registration (CVOR) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA).
  • Ensure that your vehicle meets Canadian safety standards before entering Canada.
  • Ensure you have the documentation required to enter Canada based on the type of goods being transported. Visit BOC-3.
  • Be aware of rules governing any hazardous materials or materials requiring special permits to be moved between countries.
  • Please familiarize yourself with Canadian road regulations because they differ from those in the United States.
  • If traveling through multiple provinces, become familiar with each province’s regulations and ensure that your documents remain valid throughout the trip.
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