ENTRY INTO CANADA
When you enter Canada, a Canada Border Services Agency officer may ask to see your passport and a valid visa, if one is necessary. If you are a citizen of the United States over the age of 16, you will need a Passport, a Passport Card or Enhanced Driver's Licence (only issued by certain states) to enter Canada. If you are travelling by air, you are required to have a passport, regardless of age.
As of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada, will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa.
Inadmissibility: You may be deemed inadmissible to Canada (not allowed to enter the country) by the Border Services Officer for a number of reasons. Reasons for inadmissibility include involvement in criminal activity (which may include impaired driving convictions), human rights violations, organized crime, etc.
For further information about documentation required and border procedures please visit the Canada Border Services Agency’s website.
BRINGING CHILDREN INTO CANADA
Minors age 15 and under must have proper identification, such as a birth certificate, passport, citizenship card, permanent resident card or Certificate of Aboriginal Status. While passports are recommended, they are not required for American minors age 15 or younger crossing the border by land - a birth certificate will suffice.
If a minor is travelling alone or with an adult that is not their parent or guardian, they should carry a letter from their parents/ guardians. This letter should authorize the person meeting them or travelling with them to take responsibility for the minor while visiting Canada. The letter should also include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or guardian can be reached.
Divorced or separated parents should carry custody or legal separation documents and a letter of authorization from the other parent to facilitate their entry into Canada.
If you are travelling with a group of vehicles, make sure you arrive at the border in the same vehicle as your children, to avoid any confusion.
RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES
Depending on the length of stay, American citizens are entitled to take goods back to the U.S. duty free. Be aware that goods purchased in a duty free shop are not automatically free of duty upon your return to the U.S.
You can find a list of duty free items to bring back to the U.S. here, as well as a list of prohibited and restricted items here. For further information on U.S. customs regulations, please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
BORDER WAIT TIMES
About 30 million visitors cross the border every year into Canada and an additional 18 million visitors arrive by boat or airplane. Visit the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission's website for detailed information to make crossing easier, and get hourly updates regarding border wait times.