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Traveling to Canada


It's a beautiful journey aboard a Washington State Ferry as your car ferry sails from Anacortes through the San Juan Islands to Sidney, B.C. on Vancouver Island. Visitors can enjoy Butchart Gardens, with its hundreds of trees and masses of colorful flowers and shrubs. Take double decker buses on a sight-seeing trip from downtown Victoria. Sidney is just 17 miles from Victoria, a one-of-a-kind city, capital of British Columbia and a blend of English and Canadian architecture, flavor and charm. This 2-3 hour cruise provides beautiful scenery, picture opportunities and views of island living.

WSF recommends making vehicle reservations
If you are traveling by vehicle between Anacortes and Sidney, B.C. or between the San Juan Islands and Sidney, B.C., you may make a reservation with us online or by phone .  No deposit is taken when making a reservation, but an American Express, Discover, Mastercard or Visa, is taken to confirm your reservation. The full fare will be paid when you arrive at the terminal. You will receive an email confirmation of your reservation after making an online or phone reservation.

Please note:
A reservation is required for customers wishing to travel from Lopez, Shaw, or Orcas, to Friday Harbor as proof of payment/travel to catch the international sailing to Sidney B.C. 
Customers  that choose not to make a reservation to Canada from the San Juan Islands will be required to pay a vehicle/driver inter-island fare to continue to Friday Harbor.
   
Identification is a requirement
U.S. and Canadian citizens 16 years of age and older traveling to or from Sidney BC  must have  one of the following designated documents: passport, passport card, enhanced driver's license (EDL), or "trusted traveler" document such as a Nexus Card. Travelers must have required travel documents such, as passports and visas if necessary, ready and in hand at the tollbooth.

The EDL is available from the  Washington State Department of Licensing  and in many other states. Please check your local department of licensing for more information.

Children traveling to Canada
U.S. and Canadian citizens who are 15 years old or younger are allowed to travel with their birth certificate, as are teens between the ages of 16-18 if they are a part of an adult supervised school, religious, cultural or athletic group.

If both birth parents are not traveling, you must have written authorization from the parent(s) along with a telephone number where they can be reached to verify the authorization or proof of custody. Failure to provide such evidence may make you inadmissible to enter Canada.

Travel options to Vancouver Island (Victoria)

Passenger-Only Ferry Service

  • Victoria Clipper , owned by Clipper Navigation, sails from Seattle to Victoria and offers reservations for passengers and year-round service. Reservations are accepted.
    Seattle: 206-448-5000
    Victoria, B.C.: 250-382-8100
    Toll free: 800-888-2535

Automobile Ferry Service

  • Washington State Ferries leave from Anacortes, 90 miles north of Seattle, through the San Juan Islands to Sidney, B.C. once daily in the fall and spring and twice daily in the summer. The scenic crossing takes about 3 hours. There is no service during the winter. WSF carries vehicles, buses  motor homes and passengers. Vehicle reservations are recommended and may be made online or by phone.

    Seattle: 206-464-6400
    Toll free in state: 888-808-7977
    wsfinfo@wsdot.wa.gov

    WSF has non-peak season rates that are significantly less than the peak season rates (peak season is May 1-Sept. 30). See our fares brochure  (pdf 516 kb) to compare rates. The non-peak season is a great time to travel to Victoria. Lower rates for accommodations are often available, so early holiday shopping or a quiet late-autumn escape can be affordable. WSF does not sail to Sidney during the winter.

  • BC Ferries sails from Vancouver, B.C. through the Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay, 20 miles north of Victoria. There are several departures throughout the day and reservations are accepted .
    Toll free: 888-223-3779
    customerservice@bcferries.com

  • Black Ball Ferry Line travels from Port Angeles, WA to downtown Victoria, B.C. This routes links the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island. Reservations are accepted.  
    Port Angeles: 360-457-4491
    Victoria, B.C.: 250-386-2202

Transit

The stop closest to the terminal is the one labeled “Fifth at Weiler."

Travelers heading to Victoria should be instructed to cross the street, as the bus stop on the terminal side is for BC Ferries-bound traffic (i.e. Vancouver). Cost per ride is $2.50 for all passengers, however, children under 5 are free.

The bus system accepts only Canadian currency and requires exact change. Bus drivers do not carry change. Sidney has many banks and ATM machines along its main street so people can also walk to Beacon Avenue to change currency when they arrive.

Helpful information 
All passengers and their vehicles and belongings on the Anacortes/Sidney, B.C. route or San Juan Islands/Sidney, B.C. route will be crossing international boundaries and will be subject to United States and/or Canadian Customs Service and Immigration inspection. Articles you bring into either country are subject to being taxed. Canadian law prohibits individuals from bringing guns, mace, pepper spray and other personal defense products into Canada.

If you’ve ever had a felony

Foreign nationals with a single minor crime conviction (DUI, shoplifting, etc.) may apply to be given a one-time Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and will be allowed to go to Canada. They will not be afforded this a second time. If they have two or more convictions of minor crimes they will not be allowed into Canada.

If they wish to enter Canada again, they will have to go to a consulate (one is located in Seattle) where they pay a fee to be “rehabilitated” and then they can go to Canada. The cost for this is $200 for a minor crime such as a DUI or shoplifting. It is $1,000 if a more serious conviction of a crime. NOTE: The person with the minor crime conviction must wait five years to apply for the rehabilitation fee.

If you have other questions, please contact the Canadian Border Service for assistance at 204-983-3500  (long-distance charges will apply). If you call during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday, except holidays), you can speak directly to an agent by pressing “0” at any time.

What is required for U.S. Permanent Residents?

A Permanent Resident or a holder of the immigration “green card” needs to present a valid card at the border.

What do I need to bring my pet across the border?

Information on importing domestic dogs and cats is accessible from the "Animals" section of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website.