What CANADIANS Need To Know Crossing the Canada US Border


As a Canadian citizen, when you cross the Canada US border, you must report to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for inspection. You arrive in the United States when your vessel first comes to rest in US waters, whether at anchor or at a dock. You would also be considered to have arrived in the United States if you had contact with another foreign vessel or a vessel entering US waters from foreign waters.


When you cross the Canada US border, you must have documents that are Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative – compliant. These would include a valid passport, Enhanced Drivers License, NEXUS./ SENTRI / FAST / Card.

If you are a Canadian citizen entering the United States by pleasure boat, you will need the following documentation:

For each person on board:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Passport, NEXUS, FAST card, Enhanced Drivers Licence or Secure Certificate of Indian Status
  • Boat Registration or licence number
  • Boat name
  • Boat length
  • CBP decal number for vessels 30+ feet
  • Dinghy licence and papers
  • Copies of prescriptions for any prescription medication
  • Value of any declarable merchandise
  • U.S. marina at which you arrived or will be arriving


Parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents. It is also recommended that they have a consent letter from the other custodial parent to take the child on a trip across the Canada US border. The parents’ full name, address and telephone number should be included in the consent letter. Although not necessary, the letter could be notarized to confirm its validity.

Adults who are not parents or guardians should have written permission from the parents or guardians to cross the Canada US border and to supervise the children. The consent letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or guardian can be reached.

CBP officers watch for missing children and may ask detailed questions about the children who are travelling with you.


When you cross the Canada US border and arrive in the United States, Customs and Border Protection clearance may be obtained by one of three methods listed below:

1) Be in possession of a pre-approved Form I-68 or NEXUS/SENTRI/FAST member card, and call one of the following numbers to report your arrival up to 4 hours in advance;

  • Minnesota/North Dakota: 1-800-505-8381
  • Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula: 1-906-632-2631
  • Port Huron area: 1-810-985-9541 ext. 235
  • Detroit area: 1-313-393-3793 or 1-313-393-3949
  • Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Duluth, MN: 1-888-523-BOAT (2628)
  • New York State: 1-800-827-2851

Only the Master or designee may go ashore to report the arrival to CBP either in person or if participating in the I-68 or NEXUS/SENTRI/FAST programs, by telephone. No other person may leave or board the boat and no baggage or merchandise may be removed or loaded until the report of arrival is made and release granted by a CBP officer. Each crew¬member and passenger must also be in possession of an I-68 or NEXUS or SENTRI or FAST card to qualify for phone-in reporting.


2) Utilize a CBP Videophone inspection station located in the following;

  • In MICHIGAN: Mackinac Island
  • In OHIO: Put-in-Bay (Bass Island), Cedar Point Marina, Brands Marina (Port Clinton), East 55th Street (Cleveland), Lagoons Marina (Mentor), Chagrin Yacht Club (Eastlake), Grand River marina (Fairport), Ashtabula Public Dock.
  • In ERIE, PA: Presque Isle, Dobbins Landing, Perry’s Landing, Lampe Marina.
  • In NEW YORK: Dunkirk, Erie Basin Marina (Buffalo), North Tonawanda, Youngstown, Wilson, Olcott, Point Breeze, Rochester, Sodus Point, Oswego, Sackets Harbor, Clayton, Alexandria Bay, Morristown, Ogdensburg, and Waddington.

If using a Videophone station to report your arrival, all passengers and crew must report to the videophone for inspection with your identity and citizenship documents ready for presentation. Have a pencil and paper ready to record your inspection receipt number, which the Officer will give you upon completion of your inspection. This is an eighteen digit number and must be provided to Border Patrol Agents or other Law Enforcement officers when requested.


3) Report in person for inspection to the nearest open marine Port of Entry during the established hours. The following are designated ports of entry;

  • Milwaukee, WI (414) 486-7790
  • Chicago, IL (312) 296-6534
  • Duluth, MN (218) 720-5203
  • Baudette, MN (218) 634-2803
  • Crane Lake, MN (218) 993-2321
  • Sault Ste. Marie, MI (906) 632-7221 or (906) 632-2631
  • Port Huron, MI (810) 985-9541 ext.235
  • Detroit, MI (313) 393-3949
  • Toledo, OH (419) 259- 6424
  • Sandusky, OH (419) 625 – 0022
  • Cleveland, OH (216) 267 – 3600
  • Erie, PA (814) 833 – 1355
  • Buffalo, NY (716) 881-4447
  • Niagara Falls, NY (716) 282-3141
  • Lewiston, NY (716) 285-1676
  • Rochester, NY (585) 263-6293
  • Alexandria Bay, NY (315) 482-2065
  • Ogdensburg, NY (315) 393-1390
  • Massena, NY (315) 764-0677
  • Champlain, NY (518) 298-8346

After crossing the Canada US border, if you arrive at a marine Port of Entry after the normal business hours of a port, you must telephone the CBP to report. A CBP officer will provide further instructions regarding reporting and entry processing.


The following information must be available when reporting:

  • Name, Date of Birth & Citizenship of Master (with supporting documentation
  • Name of Boat
  • Boat Registration or Licence Number
  • U.S. Decal Number (if 30 feet or longer)
  • Name, Date of Birth, Citizenship of all passengers with supporting documentation
  • Home port
  • Current location

Here is a link to the US Department of Homeland Security that will give you additional information on crossing the Canada US border

Extended Visits

Canadians who enter the United States by boat are required to re-report into CBP every 72 hours until they leave United States waters.


If you have left Canadian waters and landed in the United States (i.e. docked or anchored in American waters), you are required to report to a CBSA-designated marine reporting site. Upon arrival at a CBSA-designated marine reporting site, call the Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC) at 1-888-226-7277 (888-CANPASS) from the phone provided to obtain clearance.

If you have left Canadian waters and entered U.S waters but not landed in the United States (i.e. not docked or not anchored), you must still report in. You can contact the CBSA by calling the TRC at 1-888-226-7277 from your cellular telephone upon arrival back into Canadian waters.

Here is a link to Canada Border Service Agency offices.

This link to CBSA will give you the location of all telephone reporting sites in Ontario.

Click here for a list of CBSA Designated Reporting Sites

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