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Crossing the border from the U.S. to Canada in a rental vehicle

Visitors who drive from the United States to Vancouver or elsewhere in British Columbia can avoid delays at the border by proper planning. Making the trip in a rental vehicle is a bit more complicated than when the driver owns the car. However, a border crossing could be hassle-free if the essential requirements are understood and anticipated. 

Before heading to the border, it would be good to make sure the company whose car is rented allows their vehicles to cross into Canada. Even if the company does, there may be restrictions, so a thorough understanding of the rental terms and conditions is crucial, and it would be wise to inform the rental company of any plans to cross the border. 

What documents are required?

Canadian law determines the restrictions of the Canadian Border Services, and the following documents must be presented: 

  • A valid document to prove U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status is required. This could be a birth certificate, passport, naturalization certificate, U.S. Permanent Resident Card or a Certificate of Indian Status accompanied by a photo ID. 
  • FAST or NEXUS members must have membership cards if they are U.S. citizens. Members of these plans who are U.S. permanent residents must have proof of residence and a passport. 
  • The driver needs a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative enhanced driver’s licence. 
  • Those travelling on military orders must show their Military ID. 
  • Native Americans must have Tribal ID cards. 
  • Car rental documents, including U.S. auto insurance or Canadian Non-Resident Insurance are required. 

The insurance card is essential to show Canadian Authorities that the rental car driver is insured. In the event of an accident, the lack of such proof could make the driver liable for a fine.

Before crossing the border, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding your trip and your rental vehicle. In the event of an accident while abroad, it can be worthwhile to seek assistance from a personal injury attorney who has experience in the laws and insurance procedures of both Canada and the U.S.