How to Drive in Canada With USA License Plates

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Due to the fact that Canada is located just north of the United States border, traveling across the border by car is one of the easiest ways for travelers to get there. Although travelers arriving by air must have a United States passport book, there are different rules for land travelers. While you can drive a United States-license-plated vehicle into Canada, there are some requirements you must abide by to make your border crossing successful.

Things You'll Need

  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of identity
  • Call your auto insurance carrier and verify that your policy will cover you while in Canada. If you are driving a rental car, ask the rental company if the insurance will cover you in Canada, and if the vehicle is allowed to travel to Canada. If it doesn't, you will need to purchase additional coverage from your current carrier or another insurance company. Ask your insurance company for a supplemental card that shows valid Canadian insurance. You can cancel the extra insurance once you return to the United States.

  • Carry proof of both your U.S. citizenship and your identity. A U.S. passport book or passport card will satisfy both requirements. If you don't have a passport, a valid state-issued driver's license or identification card as well as a U.S. birth certificate, naturalization certificate or expired passport will satisfy this requirement. Travelers under 16 must present proof of U.S. citizenship. If the child is not in your full legal custody, you must show a notarized statement of consent from the child's parents. The document must include a photocopy of the parents' identification and the dates of permitted travel.

  • Show valid registration and insurance as needed. The vehicle must be currently registered. If possible, show a supplemental insurance card that states the vehicle is covered while in Canada. For car rentals, present the rental agreement to the border agent.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't attempt to cross the Canadian border with any alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, weapons and more than a couple days supply of tobacco products.
  • As radar detectors are illegal in Ontario, remove any radar devices from your vehicle when crossing the border.

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