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Trip Paperwork Covers all documentation, carnets, customs and country requirements, how to deal with insurance etc.
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Old 13 Jun 2018
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Newbie: Crossing from USA to Canada with Questions

I'm sure this has been answered on here before, but my search skills have broken down.

I'm doing my first international bike trip so I have never crossed a border before. It is probably the easiest border in the world to cross and I'm sure it's pre-school stuff to you guys, but I want to make sure that I have everything I need before I show up. I'm going from the US to Canada and back (lap around Lake Erie). I have my passport and my insurance company is sending Canadian insurance cards.

The bike still has a lean on it. I've heard some countries require something from the bank stating that they are alright with their bike leaving the country. Will I need something like for this?.

Is there anything else I need to have?
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Old 13 Jun 2018
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The CBSA website has a lot of information on it, including phone numbers. That would be your best source of information. I've never had a problem taking my formerly financed bike into the US and back but do give them a call to be completely sure. It's usually only an issue if you're planning on permanently importing the bike into Canada.

The main thing you need is to not have a criminal record; don't be carrying drugs of any kind; no firearms; and just answer the questions asked without volunteering anything else. DUI is considered a criminal offence for CBSA purposes. Many US citizens are shocked when they're turned back at the border because of a DUI/DWI.

They may ask about employment and/or the amount of money you have, what you're bringing into the country, and whom you're planning on visiting. But overall, it should be a very routine crossing for the vast majority of US citizens.

Have a great trip!
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Old 13 Jun 2018
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They may ask you if you are planning to work - the only acceptably answer is "No" and make sure you have a stack of bills/CC with you to prove you can finance yourself.
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Old 13 Jun 2018
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"What's the purpose of your visit?"
"Where ya going?"
"How long you staying?"
"Are you visiting anyone while you are here?"
"Have a nice day.'

The border guys couldn't care less about how your bike is financed.
Don't say or do anything stupid.
If they ask if you've ever smoked pot, lie and say 'no'.
Bruce Clarke - 2020 Yamaha XV250
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Old 13 Jun 2018
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Originally Posted by brclarke View Post
"What's the purpose of your visit?"
"Where ya going?"
"How long you staying?"
"Are you visiting anyone while you are here?"
"Have a nice day.'

The border guys couldn't care less about how your bike is financed.
Don't say or do anything stupid.
If they ask if you've ever smoked pot, lie and say 'no'.
The above is pretty much all I've ever been asked, but I've only crossed that border 4 or 5 times in last 20 years.

One time the guy did ask if I had any guns ... NO is the answer, then he came out to look closer at my bike. He rode a BMW sport touring bike, IIRC.

AFAIK, ALL US insurance companies cover you while riding in Canada, NO special permissions required. Watch out for the very LOW speed limits in Canada ... and due to having almost NO crime of any kind, the RCMP (coppers)
are hiding everywhere with Radar guns.

When I was last there, Foreigners PAY ON THE SPOT for tickets (unless this has changed?) I paid twice crossing Canada years ago. Ridiculous low limits ... In the USA cops typically give tourists and foreigners a break ... NOT SO in Canada. (can't blame them!)

You may face far more scrutiny re-entering the USA. Our Homeland guys often about 20 IQ points below the Canadians in terms of basic instincts and common sense. Military absurdity all the way.

Riding a dirty bike that's been on the road a couple months, I was treated like a criminal ... just trying to cross back into USA.

This was at height of 9-11 hysteria ... but no excuse, IMO.
Horrendous behavior. I can only hope things are more sensible now.
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Old 13 Jun 2018
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Strangely enough, crossing from the US to Canada as an American citizen has been the consistently most difficult border that I’ve crossed, including some Eastern European counties. I wonder if it’s a bit more challenging at the moment, given the political tensione.

The big three issues in my experience are (1) being clear that your trip is for pleasure, not business, (2) not carrying weapons of any kind (though labeled bear spray is OK), and (3) drugs and/or any even minor criminal conviction.

(Twice I had a client in Canada and had many border crossings with the sole purpose being work. It took me several times to work out what additional paperwork to have and how to honestly, but strategically, answer the questions.)

Be polite and patient, as with all border crossings.
Stamford, CT

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- 2018 Ural Gear Up (the Happy Camel)
- 2017 KTM 350 EXC-F (the Cougar)
- 2014 BMW F800GS (the Goat)
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Old 14 Jun 2018
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Thanks for all the advise. It sounds like I'm worrying over nothing.
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