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Post Info TOPIC: Routine Canadian border crossings?


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Routine Canadian border crossings?


Any full-timers who make frequent summer trips to Canada and winter back in the US?  Interested in your immigration experiences, medical coverage tips, anything to make the process a smooth one



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Don't take any weapons (guns) and check the Border Crossing Website for the food and amount of alcoholic beverage "restrictions."  Answer any questions simply and short without embellishment.  For example, "Any tobacco products?"  The answer is "yes" or "no." Not: "I don't smoke."  Don't be cute and you'll be waved on.  They've heard all the one-liners and don't need to hear them again.  Be nice and they are.  Be belligerent or "smart" and expect to be delayed. 



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Bill & Linda



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To add to Bill's comment, especially with regards to firearms of ANY kind.  Should you have some that you normally carry in the RV, be sure and remove ANYTHING related to a firearm from the RV.  There was a case some time back where the travelers removed all their firearms and ammo, but forgot a holster for a handgun.  That prompted the authorities in Canada to search EVERYWHERE in the RV looking for a firearm.  (I'd also recommend that any cleaning materials also be removed from the RV.)

While it might not be a problem with regards to them searching one's RV, they might not be too careful about putting anything back where it belonged.

Terry



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Bill's right…but sometimes even just answering their question will get you delayed. Back when Connie and I were first hitting the road, we had switched our car registrations over to SD and drove up to Halifax for a concert. They asked why we were coming to Canada…I said to attend a concert, honest answer. He looked at the tag, saw it said SD and asked if we drove from SD for a concert…I said actually we drove from VA and he said pull right over there.

They basically unpacked everything in the trunk and then dug through the luggage for an hour, along with the spare tire well and all other compartments. Meanwhile…we were inside getting grilled with the "you need to tell us the truth" line. I explained that we didn't do drugs, I had a US DoD security clearance and would never jeopardize that with drugs.

Turns out that there was a Grateful Dead concert in Halifax the same weekend and given our apparent age they thought we were aging hippies and had a kilo or weed in the car or something. I had told them it was a symphony concert, offered to show them our tickets, explained that we traveled the world to see this particular piece performed, and offered to show them my web page with all of the concert reviews.

They're really picky on alcohol…just don't carry more than a bottle of wine and 6 beers each and you'll be ok…have to pay the ridiculous Canadian prices.

No bullets either…when we went to the Maritimes in 2018 we met a guy who lived 6 months up there and 6 in the states…US citizen…and they found a single 22 round in his basement stuck over in a corner…he thought he had them all but had been waiting 6 hours so far to figure out if they were going to take him to jail or not.

Foodwise…we've been waived through…we've had garlic confiscated…we've had limes taken…we've been asked the origin of our eggs and chicken…they've taken our last two potatoes leaving Newfoundland…and the rules on what they ask, what they want, and whether they take your word for it have never been the same twice.

For a long time I thought it was because we had non Canadian passports…but Canadian snowbirds in our park in FL told us that they are jerks to their own citizens too.

 



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Going into Canada, they were polite, but meticulous. I had to pull over and extend slides so they could open drawers. One of the guys had a lot of “RV” questions. None of them had a sense of humor. In contrast, returning to the US ... the guy (sitting in his booth) asked me how much cash I had ... told him “about $300 dollars” ... he waved me thru with no other questions. You would think Canada had the terrorist attack not the US😏

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Returning to your home country where you are a citizen and have a history is ALWAYS less intrusive then entering a foreign country of which you are not a citizen. I can tell you entering the US as a Canadian citizen is also a ”Meticulous process applied without any sense of humour.”, and often they aren’t very polite about it either. One thing you can be guaranteed of is that no Canadian customs officer will ever ask you about your political associations or your ethnicity. I have crossed the US / Canadian border as a snowbird every year since 2016 without incident however you need to understand the laws going both ways. Both countries have excellent websites. 



-- Edited by RVStrayKatz on Wednesday 11th of March 2020 07:43:03 PM

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I am a Canadian who winters in the US each year. If there is any info I can help you with let me know. 



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RVStrayKatz wrote:

Returning to your home country where you are a citizen and have a history is ALWAYS less intrusive then entering a foreign country of which you are not a citizen. I can tell you entering the US as a Canadian citizen is also a ”Meticulous process applied without any sense of humour.”, and often they aren’t very polite about it either. One thing you can be guaranteed of is that no Canadian customs officer will ever ask you about your political associations or your ethnicity. I have crossed the US / Canadian border as a snowbird every year since 2016 without incident however you need to understand the laws going both ways. Both countries have excellent websites. 



-- Edited by RVStrayKatz on Wednesday 11th of March 2020 07:43:03 PM


 I think it really depends on which crossing you are going over, how busy it is, and the age and self importance of the border guard. We've had easy and hard times going both ways…and as I said before our Canadian friends in Seminole CG in FL tell me the same thing.

Overall…it's been our experience that the farther west you go…the more pleasant and easy going they are going both directions. The concert stop one I mentioned before was at the top end of I-95…a busy crossing. When we went to the Maritimes 2 years back…we crossed at Calais right down by the ocean instead and it was easier. Out west…in SD, MT, and WA…guards in both directions are a lot more laid back and just ask questions. The "bring your chicken inside so we can see it" one was back east…and we gladly brought our chicken inside to be checked…unfortunately for them it had all been repackaged so there was no origin info. Same with eggs…we showed them a carton that said it could have come from 6 or 8 states…some of which were 'bad'…but when asked where we got it our answer was Walmart…in FL or VA or wherever we had shopped last.

Younger guards tend to be a lot more rigid and…in my opinion…impolite compared to older ones. While I'm not one to say that border security and immigration aren't important…it's always seemed to me that the border is a visitor's first exposure to the host country…and while they can and should do their job…there's no reason to be unfriendly, inconsiderate jerks about it.

The absolute easiest immigration we've ever had…outside of pulling in somewhere on the submarine back in the day which was easy peasy…was crossing from Hyder AK back into BC, Canada. Hyder is on a little bit of the US that's not connected by road to any other US territory, there's no airport but only a fishing port…so pretty much the only way to get there is drive. It's so small that there is no US customs going in…not even a guard or post other than a US border sign. Coming back into BC…one pulls up to the border and holds up closed passports. As long as the number of passports equals the number of people in the vehicle…we were waved through a half dozen times. Even pulling the RV back into BC was the same…no inspection and no questions. Of course…the fact that Hyder is isolated and one had to have already been through a more rigorous screening at some other Canadian PoE to even be there might have had something to do with it.

Don't be a smartass…answer their questions simply and accurately (although my attempt to do that on the way to the concert fell short) and don't joke about guns or drugs or booze or cash or anything like that and it's just fine. Just expect that sometimes they'll want you to open the slides so they can look inside…but even then they only looked in our fridge and nowhere else…and give them whatever food items they ask for. Connie says that what they confiscate is whatever they need to cook dinner that evening at some of the more remote stations.

 



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"Hyder AK back into BC, Canada"

That border crossing is in place to collect duty. Long ago there was no border guard and Hyder had stores selling firearms, tabacco and alcohol with Alaska tax rates. Merchants in Stewart BC complained about lost business, the government put in the border crossing and the reduction of tourists hurt Stewart along with Hyder.

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Not sure what they are collecting duty on since they pretty much waved everybody through without asking anything...at least back in 2015. Maybe it’s border theater much like the security theater that is the TSA. 



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Neil;

I think your spot on however things have changed a little out west over the last couple years. It seems the crossings between BC and Washington State have become much more difficult, it seems that sector has been interpreting political rhetoric as direction. There have been many reports in various news media regarding these issues so if anyone is interested they can do there own research. I think your advice of playing it straight is wise, if you have nothing to hide a little extra scrutiny to satisfy over zealous employees is simply the cost of doing business. We all have to remember that entering a foreign country is a privilege and not a right. If your an old white guy like me there is seldom a problem. 



-- Edited by RVStrayKatz on Saturday 14th of March 2020 02:12:56 PM

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You may be right...15 was the last time we were across out west. Crossed in 18 from Maine and that one was relatively easy. 



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I guess you got the result from fellow members. If you need more then it might help you-
travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Canada.html

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