ENTERING CANADA (Estevan Motor Speedway)
As of June 1, 2009 the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) will change the way that US and Canadian citizens cross borders. Before June 1 all it took to cross either border was proof of citizenship (birth certificate) and a state or province issued drivers license or ID. After June 1, all research and several phone calls to border officials tells me that Canadian border officials are going to ask first for a passport, passport card, or NEXUS card from a US resident asking to go into Canada. However, when pressed on the subject, they all said they will still take your birth certificate and driverís license. If you have time a passport is really a good deal at just $100 (plus picture fees), as itís good for 10 years and makes border crossings much easier. However, it takes about 8 weeks to get this document at any larger post office. Passport cards are just $45 (plus picture fees) and are good for 10 years. My son got one today and they told him delivery would be 4-5 weeks. Best bet is to get a Passport or Passport Card. Getting into Canada from the official Canadian website--word for word--what their latest policies are concerning US residents crossing into Canada before June 1, 2009. ďEntry into Canada is solely determined by Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials in accordance with Canadian law. Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid US passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for US citizens. If US citizen travelers to Canada do not have a passport, passport card or approved alternate document such as a Nexus card, they must show a government issued photo ID (e.g. driverís license) and proof of US citizenship, such as a US birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or expired US passport. Children under 16 need only present proof of US citizenship.Ē A Canadian border official told me on May 25, 2009 that they will not deny entrance into their country after June 1 if you do not have a passport, as long as you qualify (see below) and have a BC and valid driverís license. However, if you donít have both of these items you will not be getting across the border Divorced parents who share custody of their minor children should carry copies of the legal custody documents. Parents or guardians should travel in the same vehicle as their children when making a border crossing. Pets need vet papers certifying vaccinations. I will also quote Canadian law concerning offenses that will bar you from entering Canada. ďAnyone with a criminal record (including misdemeanors or Driving While Impaired (DWI) charges may be banned from entering Canada and must obtain a special waiver well in advance of any planned travel.Ē A DWI from 20 years ago can bar you from entering Canada, but you can get a waiver if you have been crime free for five years after your sentence was served. This can get costly and donít take the chance of getting across the border if you have a record and youíve not got official permission to cross. There are also some items you need to keep at home if you enter Canada. Handguns and weaponsósuch as pepper spray or mace are prohibited from being brought into Canada. Additionally, some fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products and plants from other countries cannot be brought into Canada. You can bring only 1.5 liters of wine, 1.14 liters of liquor, or a total of 1.14 liters of wine and liquor together. You can only bring (1) case (24 bottles or cans) of beer across the border. Tobacco limits are: (1) carton of cigarettes. Canadian border officials will ask you what you have in your vehicle and everything is subject to inspection if they suspect anything. RULE OF THUMB FOR ANSWERING THEIR QUESTIONS IS THISÖbe courteous, respectful and truthful and you wonít have any problems. Donít volunteer questions and for sure donít get smart or you will be sitting there for a long time! Have the driver of your vehicle be someone who can do the above and have a talk with those who are prone to smarting off to say absolutely nothing unless prompted by an official. This is good advice from someone who sees the same racers get searched year after year when they cross the border.
RE-ENTERING THE US
After the June 1, 2009 (WHTI) rules go into effect the State Department will tell you there will be no entry back into the US without a passport. However, calls to the border agency confirmed what I thought might be happening. US border agents canít deny entry back into your own country without just cause. If you have your birth certificate and photo ID and donít bring across merchandise and food that the US has always deniedóyou will probably be allowed back across the border. They may ask more questions and it may take more time, but they simply have to let a US citizen back in. Again, if you have the time to get the passport or passport card it will expedite the whole process.
CANADIAN CITIZENS GOING TO THE U.S.
Unfortunately, it will probably be a lot harder for Canadian drivers to get into the US after June 1, 2009. The US border people will not take anything but a Passport or NEXUS card, but we are told most all Canadians already have these items if they cross the border frequently. I wish we could help you out, but everyone I talked to said itís the US border crossing by Canadians that will be the tough side after June 1.
Minot, Mandan and Williston are all on Central Daylight Savings Time. Dickinson is on Mountain DST and Estevan is on Canadian time, both are one hour behind Central time.