Are you looking to embark on an epic RV adventure, but you need to find out what you'll need to cross the Canada-U.S. border first?
Not to worry. Driving into Canada or the U.S. in an RV is simple as long as you've got the proper documentation and are familiar with the two countries' travel rules and restrictions.
This article covers everything you need to know about clearing customs and driving across the Canada-U.S. border in an RV.
What kind of documents do you need to cross the Canada-US border?
It doesn't matter whether you own or you've decided to rent an RV; the requirements for driving across the Canada-U.S. border will depend on your citizenship and which direction you're crossing.
To drive an RV across the Canada-U.S. border, you'll need the following:
- A valid passport or acceptable travel document for each person traveling with you.
- A driver's license (or another form of identification), a copy of your vehicle's registration, and proof of insurance. Don't forget to bring the registration and insurance for all of your vehicles, whether you're driving a motorhome pulling a dinghy, taking across a truck camper, or towing a travel trailer or fifth wheel.
- If you're renting an RV, you'll need printed or electronic copies of your booking voucher, rental agreement, insurance certificate, and written permission to take the RV from Canada into the U.S. (or vice versa).
- Health screening information such as proof of vaccinations or other required medical documentation.*
- If you're traveling with a pet, you'll need your most recent vet records showing proof of current rabies vaccination.
- Both countries' customs requirements. Canada suggests that travelers use the ArriveCan app to expedite the customs process, regardless of citizenship, but using the app is not currently required. The United States does not have an app for travelers crossing the border by vehicle.
Keep in mind that the required documentation to cross the border could change at any time. Visit the Canadian Border Services Agency for details on entering the U.S. from Canada by RV or U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the most up-to-date information for driving an RV from Canada into the U.S.
*Although travel restrictions from COVID-19 have lessened, it's still essential that travelers are aware of current international travel protocols and travel health advisories before crossing the border.
What will make crossing the border easier?
- Ensure you understand the rules for transporting foods, goods, animals, animal products, weapons, and other prohibited or restricted items in and out of Canada or the United States. Dispose of any restricted items before approaching the border.
- Understand the weapon laws in each country and remove all items considered weapons from your vehicle. Before leaving home, read about Canada's list of prohibited weapons and firearms or the United States' list of prohibited weapons and firearms.
- At the border crossing, open all of your windows and RV blinds to make the inside of your RV more visible.
- Remove your sunglasses, turn off the radio, and place your phones into airplane mode.
- Document your reasons for travel, dates of travel, and the addresses and phone numbers of where you're traveling.
- Answer the border agent's questions honestly and refrain from sarcasm.
Is the Canada-US border open?
Yes. The United States and Canada have opened their borders to welcome travelers driving between the two countries in cars and RVs. As with any international travel, it's best to review the current border crossing status before starting your trip.
Do your research and plan ahead
International travel requires research and advanced planning. Now, more than ever, knowing which documents you'll need and what type of vaccinations or health tests are required to drive an RV across the Canada-U.S. border is important.
By planning your RV road trip ahead of time, you'll also give yourself the peace of mind that you've prepared for your international trip — and a bonus? You'll save money by booking your RV, campgrounds, and activities months in advance. Consider that a win-win for you and your family!