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Montreal Guide

montreal guide

COMPLETE US VISITOR’S GUIDE TO MONTREAL

Crossing the border

By Air: It is Mandatory to have a Passport or Passport card when entering Canada by Air.
By Land: It is Mandatory to have either a Passport or Enhanced Drivers License (EDL) when entering Canada by Land.

Things to know before you arrive (CC, info, cell, phones)

All major credit and bank cards work in Montreal. We recommend getting an international calling plan from your local cell phone carrier as rates can get as high as a few dollars a minute.

How important is speaking French?

Montreal is officially a French-speaking city, but most people here are bilingual. If you’re staying in the downtown core, language will not be an issue.

Do they like Americans?

Since Americans are the most common tourists that visit our city each year there is a mutual recognition and love between Montrealers and Americans.

How to get a passport (times)

There are two wait times for US Passports:
Regular applications take 4-6 weeks to receive passports after application, but if you are in a hurry, for an additional $60 you can have your passport expedited and it will arrive 2-3 weeks after application.

To Cross the Border

Proof of Citizenship

In order to enter USA from Canada, everybody (including US Citizens) must prove that they are not a citizen of a country that is on poor political terms with the USA, and if they are, that they have all the necessary documentation that will allow them to enter the country. The only way this can be done is to prove your citizenship with a passport, Naturalization Certificate or birth certificate. Passports are now mandatory as of June 1st, 2009.

You do not need to be a US Citizen to obtain:
• Driver’s License
• Social Security Card
• Voter Registration Card
• Military ID

Therefore these pieces of ID only serve to prove who you are, but not the country of citizenship. There is a slim chance a person could get into Canada, however getting back into the USA could be difficult or even impossible without proof of citizenship.

For more information, follow this link: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html#

Proof of Residency

Regardless of your citizenship, you also need to prove where you live. Children do not have to prove residence as the adults they are traveling with take on that responsibility. Adults need to have something to show where they live, such as a driver’s license, or a state issued ID complete with their address on the card. For those who do not drive, a recent utility, or credit card bill in their name showing their address will suffice as long as they have picture ID to prove who they are.

Entering Canada

Canadian Customs Officers operate under similar rules and regulations as the Department of Homeland Security, although they are not as strict in enforcement of identification standards as their US counterparts. This is not to say that if they suspect something is amiss that they will not take your vehicle apart (literally), but they tend to be a little more trusting than their friends across “the line”.

Please verify that all group members have not been found guilty of a DUI before crossing the border. Otherwise, you will not be able to enter Canada without a pardon. For more information, simply contact one of the following numbers: 1-204-983-3500 or 1-506-636-5064, or follow this link: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1082.html

Entering the USA

For the most part, visitors from the USA to Canada have told me that it was much easier driving from the USA to Canada than trying to get home again. The personnel at the Department of Homeland Security take their jobs very seriously and just because you can prove that you live in the USA doesn’t mean that they have to let you cross unless you have the correct documentation.
For additional information, please visit the following link: http://www.canadawelcomesyou.net/shouldknow.html

Can I use US dollars? Should I bring cash? ATM’s?

You can use US dollars at most places in Montreal. However you will receive a poor exchange rate or none at all. Many find it advantageous to have some Canadian money for spending, but it is not necessary to obtain Canadian dollars at an airport or from your local bank.

There are many small exchange places along main streets, and they charge only a small fee though (usually 2%). Hotels often provide conversion services but at a rate much higher than exchange bureaus. We find the best solution is to use your US ATM card. US ATM cards work in our bank machines and you typically receive the best exchange rate from your bank. Typical ATM fees do apply. Also check if your bank charges “international” banking fees for.