Truck Drivers “Need To Know” For Border Crossings
04 Jul

Truck Drivers “Need To Know” For Border Crossings

Border Crossings for truck drivers can be daunting from the long line ups, what documents you need and even what food items you are allowed, here’s a list for you that should help:

ID As a Commercial Truck Driver you will need to have with you either a Valid FAST Card or a Valid Passport, please only carry one passport with you, for example, if you have a Canadian and one from another Country, remember to only carry the Canadian one, it is actually an offense to carry more than one when crossing the borders.

Children/Spouses/Travel Companion/Tag Team Driver If you are travelling with children you must have their birth certificates and if available their passports, if they are under the age of 16 and you are not travelling with your spouse you must also have a letter of authorization signed and dated by your spouse/partner for proof of authorization to travel with this child. If you are travelling with your spouse/partner/travel companion or tag team driver, this person must also have their proof of identity and citizenship, this must be a FAST Card if you are travelling in the FAST Lane, if not the FAST lane then they will need to provide a Passport or Nexus Card or Birth Certificate and Drivers License, they will also need to provide evidence of their current address.

Animals/Pets You must declare all animals, birds and pets. If you travel with your dog make sure that you have a recent rabies vaccination record from your veterinarian which includes your name, your dogs name and your address.

FAST Lanes In order to use the FAST Lanes into the USA you must have a FAST Card, be carrying a CTPAT load for a CTPAT Carrier & Shipper. For the FAST Lanes into Canada you must have your FAST Card, be carrying a PIP and/or CSA load for the shipper and the carrier must be PIP, CSA & Canadian FAST Certified.

Truck Inspections You must do both your MTO and/or DOT Safety Inspection as well as your 17-point inspection which is specifically verifying that there is no contraband on your truck, this must be signed, dated and the truck must be sealed. Please ensure that along the route, if you stop anywhere for example a coffee, make sure when you step out of your truck that you lock the doors, when you return to your truck make sure that nobody has tampered with your truck, locks or the seal on your trailer doors. If you see anyone near or around your truck or suspect that someone has tampered with your load please call your dispatch right away and if you are destined for a US border you may call US CBP at 1-716-888-4912 or if you are destined for a Canadian border you may call CBSA at 1-888-502-9060.

Transportation Documents required for full truck loads or LTL when crossing into the USA – You will need the Bill of Lading which contains the first location where the carrier takes possession of the cargo as well as the destination and goods being carried, Customs Invoice, copy of your 17 point inspection and an ACE eManifest, please ensure that all documents are legible and that the information is accurate including cargo weights, measurements and piece counts. Please make sure that all documents match details such as quantities and items being carried. You are subject to a very large fine if any of the details are inaccurate. If you are crossing into the USA empty, then you are not required for do an ACE eManifest. For crossing into Canada, you will need the Bill of Lading, Customs Invoice, copy of your 17-point inspection and either an ACI eManifest or a Lead Sheet, again please ensure that all information is legible and accurate. If you are crossing back into Canada Empty you are not required to do an ACI eManifest, but you will need a lead sheet.

Food, Alcohol, Tobacco & Drug requirementsRegarding food you can carry a cup of tea or coffee, bakery items such as bread, bagel or muffin, candy, chocolate, condiments, canned goods, vacuum packed jars such as unopened jams. You must declare the following food items when crossing the borders: fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, meats, dairy and any prepared foods. Alcohol is prohibited.

    • Tobacco – When traveling into the US, Cuban Cigars are prohibited they are however allowed when crossing into Canada. Cigarettes you are only allowed as much as is reasonable for personal consumption based on the timeline of your trip both sides of the border.
    • Drugs – It is against the law to drive a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs including marijuana/cannabis. Cannabis is prohibited when crossing all borders northbound and southbound. All other illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, crack, ketamine, hashish, ecstasy, opioids etc. are all prohibited. If you have Prescription medicines that you must take with you please make sure that you have your prescription medicine bottle/packages with you which include what the medicine is, dosage you take and the Doctor who prescribed it for you, this includes diabetic syringes for insulin.
  • Firearms, weapons such as knives and explosives are prohibited when crossing any border.

Currency If you are carrying more than $10,000. either one person or if you have other persons or family travelling with you, you cannot divide the monies amongst you, it is a total amount in the vehicle at the time of crossing, you are required to declare this and present a Report of International Transportation of Currency and Monetary Instruments form.

Please remember to take off your sunglasses, turn off your radio, cell phone, on board computer or anything that will distract the border guards.

Take your time and make sure everything is in proper order and you will have a successful border crossing. Have a safe trip!

For more information about this article, border crossings or safety & compliance programs such as CTPAT, FAST, PIP, TTP, AEO, CSA, please contact Cross Border Services at

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