Canadians Cannot Drive a U.S.-Rental Car in Canada

Canadian officials are working to fix a regulation stating that a Canadian cannot drive a U.S.-rental car into Canada, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

The regulation states that Canadian residents entering Canada in a non-Canadian vehicle, such as a rented vehicle registered in the U.S., do not meet the conditions for the temporary importation on non-Canadian vehicles into Canada.

One Canadian couple, Charles Magill and his wife, traveled to England and France in 2009. They later returned to North America on the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship. They planned to pick up a rental car once they docked in New York, and drive home to Ottawa.

Magill had booked the car through Hertz in New York and planned to drop it off at the Ottawa airport. He was told he would have to pay extra for the convenience of having Hertz worry about getting the car back to New York.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection says no such rule exists for Americans driving Canadian-plated rentals into the U.S. A spokesman says a motorist would only be turned away at the U.S. border if proper documentation, such as a rental agreement, isn't presented.

Magill eventually decided it would be best to get as close as possible to the New York-Ontario border by rental car and then find another means of transportation to get into Canada. But he ran into more hassles, because not all car rental companies have offices at various border towns or in cities within a reasonable distance of U.S.-Canada crossings. Finally, he found out he could rent from Avis because it had an office in Watertown, New York, about an hour drive south of the Thousand Islands crossing near Gananoque. Still in France, he called a friend in Gatineau, who agreed to drive to Watertown and pick them up -- a six- to seven-hour return journey.

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