Every international air traveler entering Canada is required to show a passport. Note: U.S. and Canadian citizens entering the U.S. at land and sea ports of entry from within the western hemisphere must now present a passport of other documents such as a passport card, compliant with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI; visit www. getyouhome.gov for details; the Canada Border Services Agency website is www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca, and is also helpful).
Australia -- Australian Passport Information Service (tel. 131-232, or visit www.passports.gov.au).
Canada -- Passport Office, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa, ON K1A 0G3 (tel. 800/567-6868; www.ppt.gc.ca).
Ireland -- Passport Office, Setanta Centre, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 (tel. 01/671-1633; www.foreignaffairs.gov.ie).
New Zealand -- Passports Office, Department of Internal Affairs, 47 Boulcott St., Wellington, 6011 (tel. 0800/225-050 in New Zealand or 04/474-8100; www.passports.govt.nz).
United Kingdom -- Visit your nearest passport office, major post office, or travel agency or contact the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), 89 Eccleston Sq., London, SW1V 1PN (tel. 0300/222-0000; www.ips.gov.uk).
United States -- To find your regional passport office, check the U.S. State Department website (travel.state.gov/passport) or call the National Passport Information Center (tel. 877/487-2778) for automated information.
Like Canada, Australia and New Zealand are members of the British commonwealth and therefore need no special visas to travel between their respective countries, only a valid passport. U.S. citizens need only a passport to enter Canada. Visit www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp for a complete list of those countries which require a visa to enter or transit Canada.
If you're planning to spend time outside Vancouver and Victoria, you may wish to contact the Vancouver Coast and Mountains Tourism Region (tel. 800/667-3306 or 604/739-9011; www.vcmbc.com). For travel information on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, contact Tourism Vancouver Island (501-65 Front St., Nanaimo, BC V9R 5H9; tel. 250/754-3500; www.vancouverisland.travel).
For information about travel and accommodations elsewhere in the province, contact Tourism British Columbia (300-1803 Douglas St., Victoria, BC V8T 5C3; tel. 800/HELLO-BC [800/435-5622] or 250/356-6363; www.hellobc.com).
You'll pass through Canadian Customs (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada or 204/983-3500) upon arrival and U.S. Customs (tel. 360/332-5771), if you are traveling through the U.S., on your departure.
If you're driving from Seattle, you're most likely to enter British Columbia, Canada, at the Peace Arch crossing (open 24 hr.; often, there's a 30-min. or longer wait) in Blaine, Washington. You'll go through Customs when you cross the border into Canada and will need to show your passport.
Arriving by air, you'll go through Customs at the airport once you clear passport control. (Even if you don't have anything to declare, Customs officials randomly select a few passengers and search their luggage.)
Visitors arriving by train, ferry, or cruise ship from the U.S. pass through U.S. Customs before boarding, and Canadian Customs upon arrival.
What You Can Bring into Canada. Your personal items can include the following: boats, motors, snowmobiles, camping and sports equipment, appliances, TV sets, musical instruments, personal computers, cameras, and other items of a personal or household nature. If you are bringing excess luggage, be sure to carry a detailed inventory list that includes the acquisition date, serial number, and cost or replacement value of each item. It sounds tedious, but it can speed things up at the border. Customs will help you fill out the forms that allow you to temporarily bring in your effects. This list will also be used by U.S. Customs to check off what you bring out. You will be charged Customs duties for anything left in Canada.
A few other things to keep in mind:
If you're over 19, you're allowed to bring in 1.2L (40 oz.) of liquor and wine or 24 355mL (12-oz.) cans or bottles of beer and ale, and 50 cigars, 400 cigarettes, or 397g (14 oz.) of manufactured tobacco per person. Any excess is subject to duty.
Gifts not exceeding C$60 and not containing tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, or advertising material can be brought in duty-free. Meats, plants, and vegetables are subject to inspection on entry. There are restrictions, so contact the Canadian Consulate for more details or check the Canada Border Services Agency website (www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca) if you want to bring produce into the country.
If you plan to bring your dog or cat, you must provide proof of rabies inoculation during the preceding 36-month period. Other types of animals need special clearance and health certification. (Many birds, for instance, require 8 weeks in quarantine.)
If you need more information concerning items you wish to bring in and out of the country, contact Canada Border Services (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada or 204/983-3500; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca).
What You Can Take Home from Canada. If you're an international visitor, for information on what you're allowed to bring home, contact one of the following agencies:
U.S. Citizens: U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20229 (tel. 877/227-5511; www.cbp.gov).
Canadian Citizens: Canada Border Services Agency, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0L8 (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca).
U.K. Citizens: HM Customs & Excise, Crownhill Court, Tailyour Road, Plymouth, PL6 5BZ (tel. 0845/010-9000; www.hmce.gov.uk).
Australian Citizens: Australian Customs Service, Customs House, 5 Constitution Ave., Canberra City, ACT 2601 (tel. 1300/363-263; from outside Australia, 612/6275-6666; www.customs.gov.au).
New Zealand Citizens: New Zealand Customs, the Customhouse, 17–21 Whitmore St., Box 2218, Wellington, 6140 (tel. 0800/428-786; from outside New Zealand, 649/300-5399; www.customs.govt.nz).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.