RV Travel & Destinations

What you need to drive across the Canada-US border in an RV

Posted on October 21, 2021
What you need to drive across the Canada-US border in an RV

Are you looking to embark on an epic RV adventure, but you need to find out what you'll need to cross the Canada-U.S. border first?

Not to worry. Driving into Canada or the U.S. in an RV is simple, as long as you've got the proper documentation and you're familiar with the countries' travel rules and restrictions.

This article covers everything you need to know about clearing customs and driving across the Canada-U.S. border in an RV.

What kind of documents do you need to cross the Canada-US border?

It doesn't matter whether you own or you've decided to rent an RV; the requirements for driving across the Canada-U.S. border will depend on your citizenship and which direction you're crossing.

To drive an RV across the Canada-U.S. border, you'll need:

  1. A valid passport or acceptable travel document for each person traveling with you.
  2. A driver's license (or another form of identification), a copy of your vehicle's registration, and proof of insurance. Don't forget to bring the registration and insurance for all of your vehicles, whether you're driving a motorhome pulling a dinghy, taking across a truck camper, or towing a travel trailer or fifth wheel.
  3. If you're renting an RV, you'll need printed or electronic copies of your booking voucher, rental agreement, and insurance certificate, as well as written permission to take the RV from Canada into the U.S. (or vice versa).
Want to know what kind of driver's license you need to drive an RV? Read our simple guides to RV driver's licenses in Canada or the United States.

4.  Health screening information such as proof of vaccinations, negative COVID-19 test, or other required medical documentation.

5.  If you're traveling with a pet, you'll need your most recent vet records showing proof of current rabies vaccination.

6.  Both country's customs requirements. Currently, Canada requires all travelers to use the ArriveCan app to expedite the customs process regardless of citizenship. The United States uses the Clear Pass for CBP Mobile Passport Control, but using the app isn't required.

Keep in mind that the required documentation to cross the border could change at any time. Visit the Canadian Border Services Agency for details on entering the U.S. from Canada by RV or U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the most up-to-date information for driving an RV from Canada into the U.S.

What will make crossing the border easier?

  1. Ensure you understand the rules for transporting foods, goods, animals, animal products, weapons, and other prohibited or restricted items in and out of Canada or the United States. Dispose of any restricted items before approaching the border.
  2. Understand the weapon laws in each country and remove all items considered weapons from your vehicle. Before leaving home, read about Canada's list of prohibited weapons and firearms or the United States' list of prohibited weapons and firearms.
  3. At the border crossing, open all of your windows and RV blinds to make the inside of your RV more visible.
  4. Remove your sunglasses, turn off the radio, and place your phones into airplane mode.
  5. Document your reasons for travel, dates of travel, and the addresses and phone numbers of where you're traveling.
  6. Answer the border agent's questions honestly and refrain from sarcasm.

COVID-19 travel updates

RV travel during the pandemic boomed because of its self-contained nature, which allowed people to explore parts of the U.S. and Canada and still keep a safe distance from others. In fact, COVID-19 created 18 million new first-time travelers in the U.S. and 3 million first-time travelers in Canada.

Until recently, RV travelers had to stay within their own country. Now, with restrictions easing, vaccinated, or medically documented, Canadians and Americans can begin to plan road trips across the borders again.

Is the Canada-US border open?

In August 2021, Canada opened its border to welcome travelers driving from the United States into Canada in cars and RVs. In mid-November, the U.S. will follow suit and open its borders for recreational travelers driving from Canada into the United States. This is big news for people who want to drive an RV across the border to visit parts of Canada, Alaska, or the Lower 48.

Do your research and plan ahead

International travel requires research and advanced planning. Now, more than ever, it's important to know which documents you'll need and what type of vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests are required to drive an RV across the Canada-U.S. border.

By planning your RV road trip ahead of time, you'll also give yourself the peace of mind that you've prepared for your international trip — and a bonus? You'll save money by booking your RV, campgrounds, and activities months in advance. Consider that a win-win for you and your family!

Team RVezy
Team RVezy

Team RVezy is a group of RV enthusiasts who traverse the U.S. and Canada in our campervans, tiny trailers, and motorhomes. We love the open road and the feeling of having nowhere to go but everywhere.

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