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Travel Center for Sandpoint, Idaho

Crossing the U.S./Canada Border

Entering Canada

To enter Canada from Idaho, travelers can either go through customs at Kings Gate on U.S. Highway 95 across from Eastport or at Rykerts on U.S. Highway 2 across from Porthill. Both take you into the province of British Columbia; Kings Gate is on the way to Cranbrook, and Rykerts is just before Creston. The Kings Gate customs office is open 24 hours a day year-round including holidays, while Rykerts is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Pacific Time.

How to contact Canadian customs

Call Kings Gate at (250) 424-5391 or Rykerts at (250) 428-2575. Or look up customs information on the Canadian government’s website.

Click here for southern B.C. highway conditions reported by the Government of British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highways. Click here for Alberta highway conditions as reported by the Alberta Motor Association.

Whichever customs station you choose, American travelers must consider the following standards and restrictions in order to enter Canada:

Firearms and Other Weapons

Handguns, pepper spray and mace are not allowed in Canada, but you can bring long guns, such as for hunting big game, into the country as long as you have a permit.

Fruits and Vegetables

Several fresh fruits are not allowed to be brought into Canada, including apples, pears, peaches, quince, nectarines and apricots. Occasionally, fresh strawberries, blueberries and cherries are also restricted. As for vegetables, don’t bring along any corn on the cob or potatoes. In addition, most live plants are restricted.

Alcohol and Tobacco

In general you can take tobacco products as long as they are for your own consumption and you plan to be in Canada for more than 24 hours. However, each traveler is restricted to one-half pound of loose tobacco, one carton of cigarettes and 50 cigars. As for alcohol, you may bring up to 40 ounces of hard liquor, 40 ounces of wine or 24 cans of beer per person of legal age (in Canada, the legal drinking age is 19). Only one type of the alcohol mentioned above is allowed per person. If travelers wants to bring alcohol in excess of these limits, duties and taxes will be charged on 150 percent to 200 percent of the actual value. The only other option would be to abandon the excess alcohol products; in that case they would be destroyed by customs agents.

Pets

Dogs and cats are allowed to be brought into Canada; however, you must have proof of current rabies vaccinations in the form of a certificate signed by a veterinarian. Travelers are discouraged not to bring any other type of pet - birds, for example - as several permits are often required.

Children

It is required that children have a passport or certified birth certificate. Single parents may also want to bring a copy of a legal custody order or a permission letter from the custodial parent that includes a phone number where he/she can be reached.

Vehicles

Travelers should use a vehicle that is registered to themselves, and they should have proof of registration and liability insurance.

Money

You are required to carry sufficient funds – cash or major credit cards – for your trip.

Identification

As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires U.S. citizens present certain documents - click to view the list.

Gifts

Gifts may be brought into Canada; however the value is restricted to $60 Canadian. If the gift is worth more than that, it is subject to duties and taxes. Gifts of liquor or tobacco are not allowed.

Commercial Goods

Any item brought into Canada for resale purposes is subject to duties and taxes.

Note: This is not a complete list. Customs agents urge visitors to Canada to call if in doubt about restrictions.

Re-entry into the United States

American citizens wishing to re-enter the United States at the Idaho border may go through customs at either Porthill or Eastport. Like their Canadian counterparts, Eastport is open 24 hours a day year-round while Porthill is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Pacific Time.

How to contact U.S. customs

Call Eastport at (208) 267-3966 or Porthill at (208) 267-5309. Or you can look up information on the website of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Whichever customs station you choose, American travelers must consider the following standards and restrictions in order to re-enter the United States:

Firearms

U.S. Citizens are not allowed to buy any kind of firearms in Canada.

Identification

Be sure to have a valid form of identification.

Purchases

You may buy up to $200 worth of goods duty free in Canada if you are there for less than 48 hours. If you are in Canada for more than 48 hours, you may purchase up to $400 worth of goods duty free. If you are purchasing a motor vehicle in Canada, it is suggested that you stop at the U.S. customs office on your way into Canada and check on current restrictions as they change regularly.

Alcohol and Tobacco

You will be charged duties and taxes on any form of alcohol or tobacco purchased in Canada if you are there for less than 48 hours. If you are in Canada for more than 48 hours, you may bring back one liter of alcohol and a carton of cigarettes duty free.

Pets

If you have a dog, you must have proof of current rabies vaccinations in the form of a certificate signed by a veterinarian. Cats are not restricted.

Medications

Some forms of prescription medications are sold over the counter in Canada, including aspirin that contains codeine. You are limited to 50 tablets of these types of medications.

Fish & Wildlife

You must provide documentation, such as a hunting license or permit from Canada, in order to bring any form of fish and wildlife back into the United States. Restrictions also apply to products and articles made from fish and wildlife parts.

Note: This is not a complete list. Customs agents urge Americans to call U.S. customs before they travel into Canada if they have any concerns about restrictions on re-entering the United States.

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