Yacht’s Clearing Customs Entering Victoria
U.S. / Canada Border Crossing
Customs must be cleared whenever the US-Canada border is crossed, in either direction. Generally the process is quick and straightforward; but if the captain isn’t prepared with the proper information, it can be time consuming. It is extremely important to follow all the rules and be polite. While customs officers are trained in courtesy and usually are cordial, they have at their disposal regulations that can ruin your day.
All vessels are required to clear with Customs when arriving in either the U.S. or Canada from a foreign port. Canadian and US vessels do not need to clear out when leaving Canada. U.S. vessels do not need to clear out when leaving Canada. U.S. vessels do not need to clear out when leaving U.S., except if the vessel is being exported. Canadian vessels with a U.S. Cruising License do not need to clear out when leaving U.S. waters. Canadian vessels without a U.S. Cruising License are required to check-out when leaving U.S. waters.
Custom hours, rules and requirements can and do change with short notice throughout the year. We urge you to check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website and Canada Border Services Agency website for the latest.
The customs dock is opposite Victoria International Marina.
PASSPORTS: If you don’t have passports, get them. Lacking a passport, carry proof of citizenship such as an enhanced driver’s license, enhanced identification, birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, and photo ID. Standard drivers licenced are not proof of citizenship and are not accepted for border crossing. Citizens of some countries need visas as well. Carry birth certificates for all minors aboard-you may be asked.
CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCY: All vessels arriving in Canada from a foreign country must clear Border Services immediately after the vessel comes to rest. The master, or the master’s designated representative, mus report to Border Services in-person, or by telephone from a Border Services direct land line, phone or by calling (888) 226-7277. No one else may leave the vessel, and no baggage or merchandise may be removed from the vessel.
Proof of citizenship and identification is required of all on board when entering Canada. If you are bringing a child other than your own into Canada, carry a notarized statement authorizing you to take the child into Canada, and proof that the person signing the statement has custody of the child. The letter should include parents’ or guardians’ addresses and phone numbers. Canada Border Services Agency website has a sample letter.
To avoid delays, have the following ready when you report:
- Vessel name and length
- Names, addresses, citizenship, birth dates and passport numbers of all passengers
- Length of absence from Canada (Canadian boats); Length and purpose of stay in Canada (U.S. boats)
- Declare all goods being imported including firearms.
Once cleared, either by phone or by an officer, you will be given a clearance number. Post your clearance number in both side windows. Log this number with the date, time and place of clearance.