Crossing The Canada-US Border Is About To Become More 'Efficient' Thanks To These Changes

The CBSA hopes travellers could cross the land border in 15 seconds. 🇨🇦🇺🇸

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Crossing The Canada-US Border Is About To Become More 'Efficient' Thanks To These Changes

Travellers crossing the Canada-U.S. border can expect the process to become simpler and more efficient, thanks to a number of technological changes implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency.

On January 24, the agency announced its plans to modernize using new technologies and data, which it says will make "cross-border travel and trade more secure and efficient."

The CBSA says it is working in "close collaboration" with the Public Health Agency of Canada to continue using ArriveCAN to support cross-border travel.

It's also expanding the use of ArriveCAN to speed up the process of submitting customs and immigration declarations by scrapping paper-based forms.

"The new Advance CBSA Declaration feature allows passengers arriving at certain airports to electronically submit their customs and immigration declaration in advance of their arrival in Canada," the notice explains.

It means travellers would be able to send their declarations to customs before even stepping off the plane.

The feature has already been implemented at Vancouver International Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport. The CBSA says it will be expanded to other airports in Canada in the near future.

In an interview with CBC News, vice-president of the CBSA travellers branch Denis Vinette confirmed the agency wants to introduce it at the land border too.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vinette said the average traveller would spend 55 seconds with a customs officer when crossing the land border. With the new technology, the CBSA aims to reduce this to 15 seconds.

That's not all, as the CBSA intends to add facial recognition to NEXUS kiosks at the airport, which would make the process even faster for Canadians and Americans with NEXUS trusted traveller cards.

"You will tap your card, it will take a picture and verify it against your passport picture that's on file and confirm your identity and ask you one question — do you have anything to declare above your entitlements?" Vinette described.

E-gates that open automatically when an identity is confirmed have already been installed in Winnipeg Richardson and Toronto Pearson.

In the future, everything could even be done on a smartphone.

"You might have something similar where you've done everything on your phone, you've got your digital travel credential encoded on your phone and you would just swipe your phone," Vinette told CBC. "It will verify that the passport, the travel credential, the person are all the same. Gate opens."

Until then, you can find details of the wait times at Canada-U.S. land borders online.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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