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Old 05-29-2016, 10:51 AM   #21
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Crossing from the US into Canada happens thousands of times a day at border crossings all across our country. The Government of Canada and the US Government recently signed agreements which will soon see our shared border crossings staffed by either US and/or Canadian Customs and Immigration Officers. It is entirely possible in the near future US residents entering Canada my be processed by a US Customs and Immigration Officer, and vice versa.

Here are some simple facts:

Entering either country requires first meeting the requirements of the "Immigration"rules of that country. While producing passports and other requested information to the Officer, you, your vehicle and your passengers are in the "Custody" of the Officer and the Government of either country. This means you are "under arrest" by the government as represented by the Immigration Officer. The Officer has complete and absolute decision making authority while you are in the governments custody for the purpose of Immigration, and you must follow direction and answer questions unless you want to return to your home country.

Then this same Officer changes hats, so to speak, and become a "Customs" Officer and begins to enquire as to what you have in your possession for the purpose of Importing into the country either temporarily or permanently. You, your vehicle, possessions and passengers remain in the absolute custody of the government as represented by the Customs Officer. In effect, you remain under arrest until the Officer is fully satisfied.

Unless the Immigration/Customs officer finds some defect in your documents, or discovers you have something in your possession that creates a problem or prevents your entry into either country you will be permitted entry into the country and you will be released from custody as soon as permission is granted.

Every day Immigration and Customs Officers from both the US and Canada find many people attempting entry who fail to meet the requirements of Immigration rules (for example have a serious criminal history) or with respect to Customs rules, have in their possession some prohibited product (for example a pistol). This is exactly why they are there at our borders and this is the job we pay them to do on our behalf.

If you have nothing to hide, then simply accept that you are in the custody of the government and it's Officer, and patiently wait until you are released.

If you don't like the fact that you absolutely will be questioned and perhaps you will be detained even for a short period for further questioning and even a search of your vehicle, then do not attempt a border crossing.

Be prepared when you arrive at either border. Take off your sunglasses. Look the Officer in the eye. Do not engage in frivolous conversation. Answer questions fully. If you lose your patience or demonstrate anger, you will likely suffer further consequences. If you are hiding nothing about yourself or your vehicle/trailer, you have nothing to lose except a few, short minutes!
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Old 05-29-2016, 10:56 AM   #22
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Apologies to Eagle and Bear for their shabby treatment by my country's surly, officious border agents. We have been treated to the odd surly US fellow crossing at Fort Erie, especially when we crossed with our AS but it doesn't make us determined to never visit the US again! We just have to put up with these guys "doing their job" and know in our hearts that the citizens of our two countries rarely, if ever treat visitors like that. Come see our beautiful country. Don't give up on us because of those CC people. They are not us!! And thank you to Silverlabs for reaffirming how great Canada is!

These forums never fail to provide some really interesting daily reading!!
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:01 AM   #23
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My wife and I have been to Canada several times; once using our Airstream to visit our married daughter. We've never encountered an issue entering Canada but returning we encountered many more questions about out stay, why, where we went, etc.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:04 AM   #24
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And I agree with cbrittan, that if we have nothing to hide when crossing a border, we must respect the job the customs agents have to do. I can only imagine and appreciate the countless surly, lying, creepy people the agents must meet on a daily basis. Wouldn't want that job.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:23 AM   #25
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No Bullet Holes

Living in the Seattle area I cross into Canada at Sumas/Abottsford. The first time that I took my Airstream I too was given an extensive shakedown and inspection there. When asked if I had any guns I replied "No and I don't even own a gun", which the agent wrote down on her notepad. Last year, at the same station, I was virtually waved through. I guess they had established my profile.

How do you know you are driving in Canada and not the US? No bullet holes in the road signs.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:35 AM   #26
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I've always experienced more hassles when returning to the States than when going into Canada. We are looking forward to taking the Airstream up there real soon.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:43 AM   #27
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I have traveled to the US and other countries for business and vacations and have seen my share of customs officers. The thing to understand is that there are trigger phrases or words that will generally cause them to kick their inquiries up a notch and even though you might think you're describing things exactly the same, the reaction you get from the customs officer will be quite different. As noted by others, if you did not have a solid answer to the "what is your place of residence" question, then that may have tweaked the officer's interest. A similar thing would be the notion of doing casual labour to make a few bucks. When I go to the US, regardless of if it's business or pleasure, it's important to make clear that I will not be taking a job there (eg. I go there "for business meetings", not "for work").
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:46 AM   #28
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I have found both sides of the border to be the same. Remember you have 'no rights' when dealing with these people. They are not like your local police where they are your friends until you provide them a reason not to be friendly. Their job is to prevent you from harming the country or the people in it. If you respond to their questions and request correctly, you are usually on your way pretty quickly.

Being 'overly friendly' with them is part of the profile red flags they are taught to look out for.

Be sure to thank them for doing the job they hired on to do.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:59 AM   #29
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sorry about your hassle but something must have set them on the "search" ... i have crossed the us/canada border so many times in my life I can't even remember the number. Ive had it happen to me especially coming into the US from Mexico ....US customs had us pull over and do the look thru the vehicle ...made us wait close to an hour...finally let us in ...last time US customs asked me 2 questions and said have a nice trip! ....go figure!!....I don't take it personal and know that sometimes the border guys are going to do the full monty....thats US and Canada Customs .... My daughter had a huge hassle for no apparent reason with Ireland last year ....2 hours of pure hell.... if you want to see all the amazing countries and sights out there don't break any rules and if they want to search just smile and wait for them to do their thing ....Ive never been denied entry but once in awhile you get a border person who gets a bug about something and you may as well relax and follow the steps ......dont worry about being stopped in Canada once your here we don't have any random check on the highways like the southern US border patrols ....enjoy your trip!!
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Old 05-29-2016, 12:12 PM   #30
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Interestingly, we have had several intimidating experiences crossing into the US and while travelling in Texas. While crossing into Washingon state we were questioned by someone who was obviously either bored or having a hard day. He was sarcastic and impolite. And, our trailer was searched......we had been warned not to take any fresh food into the US so we gave away all our produce, meat etc. ahead of time. What they found was a small ziploc bag with some cut up red peppers left over from a picnic lunch. That was confiscated.
While in Texas near Big Bend, we got stopped by armed border control with dogs. As Canadians, this was a new experience for us. We were questioned and then had to drive through some kind of scanner....obviously looking for illegal immigrants.
In our travels throughout the US and Canada we have had some wonderful experiences and some uncomfortable ones....in both countries.
It is unfortunate that security concerns, politics and ill will seem to be replacing simple common courtesy and good will.
Canada is still a great country to visit.
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Old 05-29-2016, 12:24 PM   #31
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"We were questioned and then had to drive through some kind of scanner....obviously looking for illegal immigrants."

maybe they could make a little extra $$ and let us know if we have mice in our bellypans!
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Old 05-29-2016, 12:32 PM   #32
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When I was a kid my dad drove my two brothers and me up to Canada for a vacation. When the Canadian customs officer asked if we had anything to declare, I decided it was a good time to be a smart aleck and piped up from the back seat, "I declare war on Canada!"

Fortunately the CC could barely suppress a grin. My dad, though, was furious, about as angry as I'd ever seen him. I won't make that mistake again.
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Old 05-29-2016, 12:55 PM   #33
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We moved from Kenai, Alaska to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1973 for a two-year assignment. We loved camping at Jasper in our VW pop-top camper and decided to buy a Winnebago so I drove the VW to Billings, Montana, sold it and bought a Winnebago. Since we had some options added we couldn't take it home on that trip we went home and I got Alberta registration and license plates, returned to the RV dealer, slapped the plates on and drove across the border. The Canadian customs agent was ready to wave us through when he asked the critical question; "do you have anything to declare?" I could have said no but didn't hesitate and waved my arm over the coach. We spent the next 30 minutes while he called to find out what to do and then we were on our way. Sadly, those easy going, trusting days are gone forever.
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Old 05-29-2016, 01:07 PM   #34
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Seriously...

The IRONY of this tread is amazing. The sovereignty of each national border is front and center. The Rules are the Rules to gain admittance - period. I've been screened, searched, interrogated, and detained. All in the USA! I've even been "asked" to produce proof that I bought - yes bought - my AS playthings (once in Ft. Lauderdale, and again in Detroit, MI at U.S Customs). Was I TICKED OFF, yes, but not as much as when I was asked by a older 'good-old-boy' how'd I afford to have one. All in the USA. Never happened in any area of Canada we've visited.
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Old 05-29-2016, 01:11 PM   #35
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We travel between Washington state and British Columbia regularly.

Pre-9/11, you would pull up to the Canadian customs booth and say that you were going to play some golf (many fine courses) or ski, and the officier would say. 'thanks for coming - have fun'.

Now, of course, everyone is much more serious, or at least pretending to be. The US- Canadian border is about 4000 miles, mostly farmland and forest.

Best to answer questions with 'yes' and 'no' whenever possible when going in either direction; do not be chatty or friendly.

We've encountered grumpy and unpleasant people on both sides. These people are now armed to the teeth with nowhere to go and the job is almost all boring and repetitious - not a good combination.
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Old 05-29-2016, 01:43 PM   #36
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I have been to Canada a number of times in the last 25 years both for work and for vacation. There have been many times I did not enjoy the customs experience. Have only taken the trailer in and out about 20 times. We were searched 2 times by Canada and they looked in it a couple of more times. US customs opened the trailer a few times.

It is not unusual to have a smooth, quick, pleasant entry. It is not unusual to have an irritating experience. Business trips I pretty well know what the problem triggers are. I have hit several of them.

Personal trips, I have no idea what they think. I do know they have all the records in front of them and I have been asked about something from previous trips. Either way, business or pleasure, the trip has always been worth the trouble and I have enjoyed every trip after I got there.
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Old 05-29-2016, 01:46 PM   #37
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Entry into canada

To the misinformed Canadian, most US citizens do not own Guns.
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Old 05-29-2016, 01:57 PM   #38
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Tourism Vancouver reports that American visits were up 20% last year, and this year it could be as high as 25%. So, we must have something going for us.

Full-timing Rvers raise an employment red flag with customs because they are worried a Canadian may lose a fantastic job opportunity - dishing out the poutine at McD's.
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Old 05-29-2016, 02:51 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanologist View Post
The IRONY of this tread is amazing. The sovereignty of each national border is front and center. The Rules are the Rules to gain admittance - period. I've been screened, searched, interrogated, and detained. All in the USA! I've even been "asked" to produce proof that I bought - yes bought - my AS playthings (once in Ft. Lauderdale, and again in Detroit, MI at U.S Customs). Was I TICKED OFF, yes, but not as much as when I was asked by a older 'good-old-boy' how'd I afford to have one. All in the USA. Never happened in any area of Canada we've visited.
I don't understand, where are you going through customs in Fl or Mi with your AS? Let me know so I can avoid this.thanks.
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Old 05-29-2016, 03:20 PM   #40
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Avionstream, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, at the cruise ship port, U.S. Customs pulled me over for being "on United States Government property which encompassed so many feet BEYOND their outer fences. Sorta like being too close to Area 51. I was parallel to "their" fence - not inside it, yet they came to inquire my intentions. In Detroit, I was returning FROM Canada. We had a Great time for a week. We went to have CanAm RV do hitch work on our PanAm for the trip. Andy fine tuned all the components and off we went. Coming back to Detroit - through Windsor - WOW! Four U.S custom agents, a drug dog, check our papers, etc. We sat, and sat some more! Oh, and we our residents of both MI and TX.
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