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Cross-Border Car Hire

Peak District...
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Cross-Border Car Hire

Can anyone comment on the process for renting a car in Canada, crossing into the US for a few days, then dropping off in USA or returning to the original or different Canadian drop-off?

I have a full UK driving license and would like to stay out of big cities.

It may be useful to have a hire company who can pick me up from ViaRail.

2 replies to this topic
West Grey, Ontario
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1. Re: Cross-Border Car Hire

Hi BigDave;

Renting a car from one location and dropping it at a different location will result in a "one-way drop fee" being charged. The fee is charged to cover the cost of returning the car to it's point of origin, towed if necessary.

When you add in an international boundry, the drop fee is considerably more.

The least expensive rental is to pick-up and return to the same location. If that isn't an option, then dropping the car within Canada would most likely be the next least expensive option, but distance is a factor in determining the costs.

Some companies offer unlimited mileage, but only within Canada. The rental company will use the onboard GPS to track your usage. The extra per mile charges can add up quickly, so be sure to ask in advance.

Ensure that the car rental company notes on the rental agreement that they authorize you to take the car into the US. You may be asked by Customs when entering the US, or when re-entering Canada, for this documentation.

On a side note;

As a citizen of the UK, upon entering the US you will be required to obtain an I-94W visa waiver as an addition to your passport. To obtain the waiver, you will be photographed, fingerprinted, and pay a fee of $6 US.

The I-94W visa waiver will be attached to your passport, and must be surrendered when you leave the United States.

The process of obtaining the I-94W waiver takes on average ½ an hour.

Best Regards

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Cross-Border Car Hire

Hi BigDave,


Good info here from my esteemed colleague RESCUE TEAM. I would just add the following...

I notice that you have posted this topic in the BROCKVILLE FORUM, so am assuming that you might be looking to do this car rental in Eastern Ontario... be it Brockville, Kingston etc (Guessing somewhere along the Via Rail line of Montreal to Toronto).

Although there are indeed car rentals available in this corridor, we had a Traveller here in the ONTARIO FORUMS last summer (2010) who reported that organizing a pick-up with alternative drop-off was VERY Difficult for these smaller towns & cities. Reason being, as RESCUE TEAM has noted, the car must some how make its way back to the point of origin… even if that means being towed (I suppose that these smaller franchise locations just didn’t have the resources to manage such a request).

The Traveller found that organizing a car rental with an alternative drop-off therefore was much easier (and cheaper) done in one of our major cities… Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto.

We tell Travellers the best solution is to plan a circle route… which will eliminate the EXTRA Drop Fees… alternatively, work out a route that utilizes both Toronto and Montreal (not necessarily needing to be done in a circle, or a straight line)… as these are Canada’s two largest cities and connected via Hwy 401 (Canada’s busiest highway)… and as such sometimes there are NO Drop Fees for cars picked up in one city, and dropped in the other (enough one-way demand that the cars can easily be returned to their point of origin by the next renter).

I also notice that this is your first post in the CANADA FORUMS… so if you give us more info about your planned Itinerary, perhaps we can make suggestions on how you might “tweak it” to get the best value out of your vacation dollars, and still have a rental car for the necessary bits (like the 1000 Islands area).

Hope this is helpful,



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