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Crossing the Border into Canada


Canada has an open border with the United States, so crossing the border into Canada will be easy, but youll need to plan ahead. Passports are not required for native-born citizens of either country, but proof of citizenship will be required. If you have a passport, bring it or bring a certified copy of your birth certificate along with a photo ID issued by a government agency (such as a drivers license if it has your picture on it). Alien residents of the United States should have a passport and Alien Registration Card (green card; U.S. Form 1-551), but are not required to obtain a visitors visa before traveling to Canada. Citizens of countries other than the United States who are not alien residents of the United States must have a passport and may also need visitors visas. For further information, please contact the nearest Canadian Consulate or the Canadian Embassy at 1-202-682-1740, prior to departure . You can also find information about travel in Canada at http://gocanada.about.com/library/weekly/aa02198.htm.

The letter from Canada Customs may be handy at the border to show that you are attending a conference that is acknowledged by Canada Customs. The letter will provide proof that materials you bring with you into the country (papers, etc.) are for the conference. This waives certain tariffs that might otherwise be assessed.  To get a copy of the letter as a PDF, click here.

We have appointed Mendelssohn Customs and Transportation Services to be our customs broker. If you are planning to mail boxes to the conference, please contact Mario Mendez at 1 800 665-4628. He will need to know the value of what you intend to ship. Boxes shipped this way will actually clear customs at the hotel, by Mario, and will not be held for clearance at the border.

At the time this publication went to press, the Canadian dollar was equal to $.63 US. If you purchase anything in Canada with a credit card, your credit card company will handle the currency conversion. For cash transactions, like taxi rides, you should have some Canadian dollars. You can change money at the Toronto airport, in the hotel lobby, or you can probably get some from your own bank before you come. Stores may take US dollars, but their rate of exchange is not usually as favorable as banks or currency exchanges. SIOP has quoted all conference fees in US dollars.

Canada charges a 7% Goods and Services tax (GST) and a 15% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), but visitors can apply for a refund on taxed accommodations or eligible goods, which are taken out of the country, by filing a form before leaving the country. You will need to submit the original sales receipt with the tax itemized in order to claim the refund, and certain minimums/criteria pertain. To obtain a form, please refer to the pamphlet Tax Refund for Visitors to Canada. This pamphlet will be available at the registration desk or you can download a copy from www.ccra.gc.ca/visitors.


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