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Old 09-25-2015, 10:58 AM
vjz vjz started this thread
 
4 posts, read 2,712 times
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Hi all!

New here, but I have some questions abuot driving to Canada.

Background: I have been to over ten countries (mainly Europe since 2011) and once to Canada on a family trip when I was 13. I'm 28 now.

I have a valid passport with stamps from a few places. Most of my travel was in the EU, Norway, Iceland, etc in 2011 and then in 2013. The first trip was via a school study abroad type of thing. The 2013 trip was a college graduation gift from my grandparents.

I have heard many horror stories about crossing the Canadian border in your car. I have heard both sides can be a pain to deal with at the crossings.

In the next year, I'd really like to drive to Niagara falls, or just spend a weekend across the Detroit border with my girlfriend.

Last year after graduating from college, I opted to become part of my family's small retail business as a part owner. It has yet to generate a profit for me, and my parents are essentially paying for my expenses (I live at home with them for the time being). On paper, I am essentially unemployed, but have all my expenses covered. I'm not lazy, I'm trying to make a business work to make a long term career as a small business owner. While I may not stay and venture out into the normal working world, at this time I'm not.

That's what I have to wonder when crossing the border if they ask what I do for a living. What would I say that I do?

I also have a friend who is a graduate student at the University of Buffalo in NY. He tells me the Canadian side is friendly and quick for crossing. He freely tells friends that he just drives across to the duty free for cigarettes. I thought about visiting him to go see Niagara falls, since it's so close. I really like nature and seeing things like the falls. I'm not a smoker or a drug user. The only thing I might bring back are a tee shirt, hat, and some stickers or something for my collection.

I guess I'm not sure what to do at the crossing. I don't want to get turned away, detained, or arrested for traveling when I'm not really making any money.

Another friend of mine works for a few months out of the year just to travel. She quits her job so she can go all over the world. That's not my cup of tea, but I want to make sure if we go to Canada we have all of our info straight for going and coming back.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Seminole County, FL
9,832 posts, read 6,725,656 times
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All they do is ask you where you are headed and for what purpose.

My mother lives in Montreal and routinely travels to Plattsburgh for cheaper groceries. She never has any issues crossing.

When I go to Montreal, I fly up to NYC, rent a car, and drive across. Typically goes like this:

Custom Agent: Where are you headed?
Me: Montreal
CA: Passport?
Me: Here you go.
CA: For what purpose?
Me: Fun, visit friends, family
CA: Where will you be staying?
Me: Some hotel.
CA: Any guns, alcohol, drugs?
Me: Bottle of alcohol in the trunk.
CA: Is it open?
Me: Yes, wife and I stopped at a park and had a drink on the way up.
CA: May we see it?
Me: Sure (Pops trunk open.)
CA: Okay, have a safe trip. Enjoy.
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:29 AM
vjz vjz started this thread
 
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I just wanted to make sure. I have just heard many stories, from even regular average looking Americans and Canadians about being grilled for stuff when they aren't hiding anything. I'm your regular white American who just enjoys exploring other places while I'm young!
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:59 AM
 
Location: British Columbia ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️
7,373 posts, read 6,650,577 times
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Quote:

CA: Any guns, alcohol, drugs?
Me: Bottle of alcohol in the trunk.
CA: Is it open?
Me: Yes, wife and I stopped at a park and had a drink on the way up.
CA: May we see it?
Me: Sure (Pops trunk open.)
CA: Okay, have a safe trip. Enjoy.
It should go without saying that one doesn't try to bring guns and drugs into Canada. However, the above quote about drinking and bringing booze across the border is not the best advice. Play it smart okay, don't drink any booze before attempting to drive across the border and don't carry any open bottles of booze in the trunk.

If I was crossing the border into Canada there is no way I'd be carrying an opened bottle of booze in the trunk, nor would I admit to having stopped and had a drink on the drive up. It's grounds for being detained for a complete search of the vehicle and everything in it while the driver has to do a breathalizer test and it's grounds for refusal of entry into Canada. DUI is a very serious criminal offense in Canada, it's like the equivalent of a felony offense in USA and having had even only one small drink before or during driving can be all the customs agents need for permanently red-flagging the traveller in their shared data base and refusing entry into Canada forever after that.

.
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Old 09-25-2015, 12:04 PM
vjz vjz started this thread
 
4 posts, read 2,712 times
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Yeah I wouldn't drink before driving. When we went to Niagara falls when I was a kid, my dad brought a six pack of beer home. I don't remember them questioning us much. I asked my dad and he said they asked simple questions, but I wasn't sure about how things were after 9/11.

I get that it's a tough, necessary job, but there's never a need to harass a traveler for no reason.
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Old 09-25-2015, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Seminole County, FL
9,832 posts, read 6,725,656 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
It should go without saying that one doesn't try to bring guns and drugs into Canada. However, the above quote about drinking and bringing booze across the border is not the best advice. Play it smart okay, don't drink any booze before attempting to drive across the border and don't carry any open bottles of booze in the trunk.

If I was crossing the border into Canada there is no way I'd be carrying an opened bottle of booze in the trunk, nor would I admit to having stopped and had a drink on the drive up. It's grounds for being detained for a complete search of the vehicle and everything in it while the driver has to do a breathalizer test and it's grounds for refusal of entry into Canada. DUI is a very serious criminal offense in Canada, it's like the equivalent of a felony offense in USA and having had even only one small drink before or during driving can be all the customs agents need for permanently red-flagging the traveller in their shared data base and refusing entry into Canada forever after that.

.
I mentioned this in my example because it happened (we had a drink some 4 hours prior, so we were in no way inebriated) and they were lax about it. We weren't DUI LOL. They asked a question, I gave them an honest answer (if you lie and they find out, THEN you're screwed) and they waved us off. Of course I wouldn't be trying to cross drunk. LOL
I'd actually kind of forgotten we even had that in there until I was asked. Worst case scenario, they'd make us throw it away. They didn't.
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Old 09-25-2015, 12:50 PM
 
3,431 posts, read 3,071,693 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vjz View Post
Hi all!


Last year after graduating from college, I opted to become part of my family's small retail business as a part owner. It has yet to generate a profit for me, and my parents are essentially paying for my expenses (I live at home with them for the time being). On paper, I am essentially unemployed, but have all my expenses covered. I'm not lazy, I'm trying to make a business work to make a long term career as a small business owner. While I may not stay and venture out into the normal working world, at this time I'm not.

That's what I have to wonder when crossing the border if they ask what I do for a living. What would I say that I do?
You sort of answered your own question here, regarding what you do for a living. You state that you're a part owner in your family's small retail business. So you have employment. Whether or not it's generating a profit or income isn't really relevant. Do you have an occupation? Yes.

For the most part, at border crossings, they just want to know 1) who you are and 2) how long you'll be staying. Show them your passport, and just be clear that it's a short trip (of xx days or x weeks' duration) and that you're travelling as a tourist to see some sites, do some shopping, etc. They might ask you a few follow-up questions, just to verify the story, like, where will you stay? What city are you visiting? They probably won't even ask you that much.

It's doubtful you'd get much of a screening driving across the border unless you state that you're unemployed, broke, and going up to look for a job. Or if you had a criminal conviction on your record or an outstanding warrant--that would come up in their database. Do you have a drunk driving conviction? Possession? Anything like that? If not, then you're not likely to run into any problems.
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Old 09-25-2015, 02:13 PM
vjz vjz started this thread
 
4 posts, read 2,712 times
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My criminal record and driving record are clean and sterile. I had a speeding ticket about ten years ago, but I did a deferral program and had that removed before it hit insurance or the record by not getting a ticket for six months.

I don't want to work in Canada, I just want to visit and explore!
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Old 09-25-2015, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,582 posts, read 12,716,944 times
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We drove up in August - crossed in NY into Ontario at the Thousand Islands Bridge. The Canadian border crossing agent asked for our passports/birth certificates for kids, where we were going - what cities, how long we would be staying (and I think if we had a place to stay), and if we were going to be visiting anyone there. She asked if we had any alcohol, guns (I think), and some other things. Then she asked us about our license plate and what it meant (we have a low-number plate). My husband explained it to her; she didn't quite get it, but waved us through.

On the return, we crossed at the Derby Line/Stanstead Border Crossing from Quebec into Vermont. Because we had been poking around the two border towns a bit and nearly got in trouble for almost putting my foot on the American side while still in Canada while trying to take a picture of the famous street that is half in Canada and half in the USA, https://sites.google.com/site/hanxiaoqiang02/canusa the guy seemed to have a bit of an attitude with us. He asked where we had been, why we were in Canada, if we had any alcohol (yes two bottles of wine closed in the car - he didn't ask to see it), any fresh fruit, what did we buy while there, how long we were there, and then waved us through, but not before my husband asked if he could stamp our passport book to which he rolled his eyes, but complied.
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Old 09-26-2015, 05:16 AM
 
34,518 posts, read 41,669,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vjz View Post
My criminal record and driving record are clean and sterile. I had a speeding ticket about ten years ago, but I did a deferral program and had that removed before it hit insurance or the record by not getting a ticket for six months.

I don't want to work in Canada, I just want to visit and explore!
You shouldnt have a problem as many tourists come to Canada and have a good time.Just be honest and direct when speaking to the border guard,whether you use it or not its in your best interest to also have a planned itinerary regarding where you are going where you are staying and have enough money to cover the trip and when you will be returning to the USA..As for job just tell him you are working using your Dads company as your place of employment.
The border guard gets very interested if there is any possibility you are coming to Canada to stay and work,do not give him any reason to suspect this course of action.
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