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Although international border crossings are often just simple formalities, unnecessary complications can seriously upset travel plans. Be prepared! Make certain that you have all necessary entry documents in hand before leaving home.

This page is provided for general information purposes only. VIA Rail Canada cannot be held liable for travellers detained or refused entry at a border crossing, for whatever reason invoked by Customs officials.

Entering Canada or the United States

If you are travelling from Toronto to New York City, you must purchase your tickets by 8:30 a.m. on the day of departure as a complete passenger list must be submitted to U.S. Customs and Immigration at that time. Travellers whose names do not appear on this passenger list will not be permitted to enter the United States.

At the border, the train will be inspected by Customs officers. Your baggage, including hand baggage, will be checked. In the event that you experience problems at the border, the train may depart without you. VIA Rail Canada can assume no liability in this regard and your ticket will not be refunded or exchanged.

Customs requirements

Conditions for entry into Canada and the United States differ depending upon your country of origin. We strongly recommend that all our travellers know the customs requirements before departure.

To know the requirements for entry, please refer to the following web sites:

Entering Canada - Visit the Canada Border Services Agency web site.
Entering the U.S. - Visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site.

You may also contact the Canada Border Services Agency at the following telephone numbers:

  • Within Canada - (toll-free)

For service in English: 1 800 461-9999
For service in French: 1 800 959-2036
For the hearing impaired: 1 866 335-3237 (TTY)

  • From outside Canada - (long-distance charges apply)

For service in English: 1 (506) 636-5064 or 1 (204) 983-3500
For service in French: 1 (506) 636-5067 or 1 (204) 983-3700

Baggage policy on Amtrak trains

Aboard all Amtrak trains (in the U.S. and between Canada and the U.S.), you must limit yourself to two items of carry-on baggage. In other words, you can only bring two articles of baggage in the passenger car. However, you might be able to check excess luggage in the baggage car. Consult Amtrak's baggage policy.

Don't forget to check both the services and policies of the VIA Rail trains and Amtrak trains you will be taking (to/from U.S.).

Entry restrictions

Cigarettes, spirits, wine, plants and pets are subject to restrictions. For details, check out the FAQ section on the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency web site.