October 5, 2023
Border crossing sign into Canada on Amtrak

Amtrak Border Crossing Canada and Seattle– Cruise Maven

I’m asked this query really a bit. How do I choose an Amtrak coach concerning Seattle and Vancouver?  I’ve crossed the Canadian border with Amtrak eight periods for four unique cruises to and from Vancouver. 

Now would be a fantastic time to demonstrate how you cross the US and Canada border with Amtrak, although it is contemporary in my brain.

Border crossing sign into Canada on AmtrakHow to Cross the Canadian Border on Amtrak 

To get started, when touring on Amtrak concerning Seattle and Vancouver, there are two ways that Amtrak has organized to cross the Canadian border.  I will make clear this as plainly as doable.

First, you should know it is simpler to go north than go south. In other words and phrases, from Seattle to Vancouver, BC.

This Pacific Northwest route is a person of many across the place exactly where Amtrak operates focused motor coaches.  Indicating, you have to be an Amtrak passenger making a connection right before or right after an Amtrak practice to use the bus assistance.

Why is heading north much easier?  Though Amtrak features 6 northbound border crossings every single day, only two of these are on trains. The other 4 departures are by means of motor coach.  But there is far more to this claim.

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Amtrak Northbound Border Crossing into Canada

If you are an early riser, you are in luck.  The initial of the two Amtrak each day trains departs Seattle at 7:45am and comes into Vancouver at 11:45am.  This incorporates about an hour border halt to go via Canadian Customs and Immigration.  You can have the total day to explore Vancouver.

The other Amtrak coach into Canada leaves Seattle’s King Road Station at 7PM and comes into Vancouver, B.C. at 11PM.

Here’s how the border crossing is finished if you are on the practice.  You never need to do a factor. 

Border agents get on the train and verify everyone’s passports, a person by one particular.  They question a few inquiries.  Carry-on baggage can be randomly searched as perfectly as any checked baggage in the baggage car.  I’ve witnessed this happen on quite a few situations.

This isn’t to say that Canadian officials are lax.  On the opposite.  I was on a teach border crossing final year and we were delayed at the border for two hrs while agents searched for and removed two males who were trying to sneak by devoid of a passport.  But frequently, it’s about an hour.

Amtrak Dedicated Motor Coach to Cross the Border

If neither of the educate departure or arrival occasions are easy, then you’re left with option two:  the motor mentor.

There are four motor mentor departures:  10:45 AM, 1:45 PM, 4:45 PM or 9:00PM.  Each individual of these will choose involving 3:30 – 3:45 hrs, relying on an supplemental hiccup…traffic. 

The drive by itself is uncomplicated, with highway all the way after you depart downtown Seattle.  Vancouver traffic can be a bear, particularly if you arrive all through lunchtime, rush hour or weekends.

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Here’s how the border crossing is done if you’re on the motor coach, heading north into Canada.

There is a separate bus lane to enter into the inspection location.  Traffic from personal vehicles can be backed up for around a mile.  Your bus will have to queue in the bus inspection lane.  This signifies ready for any buses in front of you to finish the customs and immigration method just before your bus can enter the “zone” – a single bus at a time.

At the time your bus pulls up in front of the entrance, the bus driver will explain to you to keep on being seated on the bus till he has unloaded every single piece of baggage from beneath the bus.  This will usually acquire about five minutes.  When you exit the bus, you will have to bring all of your possessions with you.

There is a particular listing of prohibited items, like open, unwrapped sandwiches, vegetation, fruit etc.  Anything at all that could have a bug in it.  If you try to smuggle an apple, the Customs agent will pull you out of line and you could experience a steep fantastic.

Haul Your Baggage into the Canadian Customs Building

Then, one particular by a single, you’ll exit the bus with all your possessions, declare your luggage and progress inside the constructing.

As soon as inside the customs setting up and a further extended queue, where you will existing your passport to the Customs particular person. They’ll request a several queries (where by are you going, why you are in Canada etc.) and then haul your luggage to be screened. 

Your baggage will go through x-ray although you stroll by means of the typical archway.  You’ll have to raise your baggage on to the conveyor belt or maybe question another person to help if it is way too hefty.

The moment this is performed, there’s time for a swift rest room crack in the custom’s making (there’s 1 on the bus, far too) just before you haul your luggage back to the bus to be reloaded.  Ultimately it’s time to depart and get again on your way.

Which choice of transportation seems better to you?

Amtrak from Vancouver to Seattle

If you like to snooze late, the very first outbound educate from Vancouver to Seattle isn’t for you.  It leaves Vancouver at….6:35 AM!  Granted, you will get to Seattle in about 4 hrs.

Seattle King Street Union Station

The next prepare leaves Vancouver at 5:45 PM and arrives Seattle at 10:10 PM.  If you happen to be a solo woman traveler, this could not be the best arrival time.  Nevertheless, there is an Embassy Suites Lodge just yards from the coach station.

Seattle King Street Union Station
Seattle King Street Union Station

The southbound border crossing process will be the exact as the earlier educate with agents on the coach to check out passports and check with questions. 

If you make your mind up that the motor mentor departure periods could possibly be additional effortless, here’s when they depart:  5:30 AM, 9:00 AM, 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM.  Once more, it is about a 3:30 – 3:45-hour bus experience.  The seats are narrow and there’s no cup or magazine holder on the seat-again in entrance of you.  There is overhead storage, equivalent to (I consider) an plane.

In my belief, it can be a lengthier process crossing back again into the US than into Canada.  On my final bus vacation, there were being 52 of us bus travellers and One particular U.S. Immigration officer for the 1st 20 minutes.  It felt as nevertheless our line was at a standstill.

Two other individuals agents had been present but carrying out other factors.  Just one of them remaining to verify the buses while the other took a seat at the screening kiosk.  Then it went more rapidly. 

Of program, the extra non-US passengers on the bus, the lengthier the screening course of action will just take.

Just one significant thing to keep in mind if you’re traveling to Vancouver there is no Uber or Lyft.  When you exit the prepare station – regardless of whether you arrived by practice or motor coach, you are going to have to get into the taxi queue.  But taxis are ordinarily there, waiting around to meet the bus or prepare.

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