Many travelers have questions when it comes to international travel rules and regulations. Especially since the advent of tighter border rules as a result of Homeland Security in the US, it’s important to know ahead of time what the rules are before traveling between Canada and the US for any reason. One such question is whether or not you can drive a rental car from Canada into the US? Some Canadians think that it’s ill advised or even illegal to take a rental car across the border. However, read below as this article may clear up some of the common misconceptions about this.
The good news is that most Canadian car rental companies will allow Canadian and American customers to take Canadian registered rental cars across the border in the United States for personal or business travel. It’s not illegal to do this and it doesn’t require any special type of permission to travel from Canada into the United States. Before doing so, however, it’s important to check with the rental company to see if the mileage rates will be the same since in Canada the mileage is metric while in the United States the mileage is standard measurements. If you are driving a Canadian vehicle, it’s probably going to be a good idea to choose unlimited mileage on your contract terms, otherwise you will be stuck trying to figure out the mileage to avoid any mileage over limit fees upon return of the vehicle. It’s also possible that the insurance laws may be different in the states in which you are traveling to in the US so be sure to check ahead of time to make sure the vehicle will be carrying enough liability in the event of an unexpected car accident. Keep in mind that car rental companies are never responsible for legal fees, fines or tickets in the event of a DUI or other vehicle related offense. You should also note that in order to cross into the US via Customs, you will need to have proper identification for yourself as well as any passengers in the vehicle.
When returning to Canada from the United States it’s important that the vehicle is checked in through Canadian customs. You will show them your Canadian driver’s license, the vehicle registration ID card and the Canadian insurance certificate upon return. Be prepared to spend some time in Customs, but not as much as you would as a US Citizen. This is in adverse to someone traveling from the US into Canada with a US registered vehicle, which requires swapping out at the border for a Canadian licensed vehicle. That can be an inconvenience and stressful for any traveler.
As with any car rental situation, it’s important to have all the proper documentation readily available to avoid any possible difficulties in your travels. In addition to having your driver’s license, you will need a passport issued in your country of origin. You will also need to keep the rental paperwork and any vehicle insurance cards available in order to show Customs you are driving a properly registered and insured vehicle. Be sure to ask the rental agent in Canada about all required documentation before you make this trip to save yourself a great deal of hassle. This will enable smooth passage between the custom’s departments of each country. If you have any problems with this process, most rental companies include a toll-free number that you can call to obtain more information or to help manage any issues that may arise.