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Old 01-02-2024, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Flawduh
17,321 posts, read 15,498,182 times
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Drove into Canada from NY over the weekend. 3 hour wait at the customs at I-87. Saw quite a few cars get turned away.
The very first thing the agent asked for was passports. Then he proceeded with a slew of other questions. Apparently, it "doesn't make sense" to fly into and visit Plattsburgh from Florida, as there is "nothing to do or see there." In his own words, in French, "Tu viens me dire que tu es allé a Plattsburgh, de la Floride, et que tu n'a rien fait. Y'a rien a Plattsburgh. C'est quoi que tu faisait la?"
(Translation: You mean to tell me you FLEW INTO Plattsburgh, from FL, and that you didn't have any business there? There is nothing in Plattsburgh. What were you doing there?)
Something as silly as that apparently raised suspicion.

Took Amtrak from Montreal to NYC on the return trip. Train was delayed an hour. Basically, a bunch of people getting turned away at customs for not having passports.

Both sides of the border were quite clear on this: You needed a passport to enter -- no ifs and buts about it. (We already touched on the enhanced DL subject -- it doesn't apply to the vast majority of people.)
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Old 01-02-2024, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Elsewhere
88,689 posts, read 85,015,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcenal813 View Post
Drove into Canada from NY over the weekend. 3 hour wait at the customs at I-87. Saw quite a few cars get turned away.
The very first thing the agent asked for was passports. Then he proceeded with a slew of other questions. Apparently, it "doesn't make sense" to fly into and visit Plattsburgh from Florida, as there is "nothing to do or see there." In his own words, in French, "Tu viens me dire que tu es allé a Plattsburgh, de la Floride, et que tu n'a rien fait. Y'a rien a Plattsburgh. C'est quoi que tu faisait la?"
(Translation: You mean to tell me you FLEW INTO Plattsburgh, from FL, and that you didn't have any business there? There is nothing in Plattsburgh. What were you doing there?)
Something as silly as that apparently raised suspicion.

Took Amtrak from Montreal to NYC on the return trip. Train was delayed an hour. Basically, a bunch of people getting turned away at customs for not having passports.

Both sides of the border were quite clear on this: You needed a passport to enter -- no ifs and buts about it. (We already touched on the enhanced DL subject -- it doesn't apply to the vast majority of people.)
Just curious--I usually drive in at I-81/Thousand Islands (never had a wait that long) -- How could you know what was being said to someone in another car?

At any rate, I am baffled at the idea that anyone would even try to cross the border without a passport.
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Old 01-02-2024, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Flawduh
17,321 posts, read 15,498,182 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Just curious--I usually drive in at I-81/Thousand Islands (never had a wait that long) -- How could you know what was being said to someone in another car?

At any rate, I am baffled at the idea that anyone would even try to cross the border without a passport.
I don't know what was said to the people driving.
Just saying that I saw several cars get turned away, and that when we pulled up, the very first thing out of the agent's mouth was a demand for passports.
I know what was said to those who were turned away from the train on the return trip however.

(I also never had that long of a wait. I-87 is usually quite seamless. It was quite frustrating.)
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Old 01-02-2024, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Elsewhere
88,689 posts, read 85,015,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcenal813 View Post
I don't know what was said to the people driving.
Just saying that I saw several cars get turned away, and that when we pulled up, the very first thing out of the agent's mouth was a demand for passports.
I know what was said to those who were turned away from the train on the return trip however.

(I also never had that long of a wait. I-87 is usually quite seamless. It was quite frustrating.)
Oh, ok. My experience is that I always hand the agent the passport when I drive up. I don't think I wait to be asked!

The busiest I ever saw it at Thousand Islands (Lansdownewas on a US Memorial Day weekend. Bunch of NY and PA plates bringing boats up.

I came in once from Buffalo. That was more of a wait. Busier crossing, and I needed an extension to my Visitor Record so I had to go inside. Still not too bad.
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Old 01-02-2024, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
18,504 posts, read 15,592,530 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcenal813 View Post
Drove into Canada from NY over the weekend. 3 hour wait at the customs at I-87. Saw quite a few cars get turned away.
The very first thing the agent asked for was passports. Then he proceeded with a slew of other questions. Apparently, it "doesn't make sense" to fly into and visit Plattsburgh from Florida, as there is "nothing to do or see there." In his own words, in French, "Tu viens me dire que tu es allé a Plattsburgh, de la Floride, et que tu n'a rien fait. Y'a rien a Plattsburgh. C'est quoi que tu faisait la?"
(Translation: You mean to tell me you FLEW INTO Plattsburgh, from FL, and that you didn't have any business there? There is nothing in Plattsburgh. What were you doing there?)
Something as silly as that apparently raised suspicion.

Took Amtrak from Montreal to NYC on the return trip. Train was delayed an hour. Basically, a bunch of people getting turned away at customs for not having passports.

Both sides of the border were quite clear on this: You needed a passport to enter -- no ifs and buts about it. (We already touched on the enhanced DL subject -- it doesn't apply to the vast majority of people.)
I'm a bit confused as to how those on the train were able to purchase tickets. If in person, they will ask for the proper ID. Heck, even Greyhound in NYC when I took a bus to Montreal many years ago, refused to sell me a ticket until I could prove I had the proper ID to cross the border.

Even if you book online, Amtrak's site they state "When making a reservation for services crossing the US-Canadian border, you must provide certain information, including your date of birth, gender, country of citizenship, and detailed information regarding the form of ID that you will carry with you on your trip. Further conditions apply."

https://www.amtrak.com/crossing-the-us-canadian-border
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Old 01-02-2024, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Flawduh
17,321 posts, read 15,498,182 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natnasci View Post
I'm a bit confused as to how those on the train were able to purchase tickets. If in person, they will ask for the proper ID. Heck, even Greyhound in NYC when I took a bus to Montreal many years ago, refused to sell me a ticket until I could prove I had the proper ID to cross the border.

Even if you book online, Amtrak's site they state "When making a reservation for services crossing the US-Canadian border, you must provide certain information, including your date of birth, gender, country of citizenship, and detailed information regarding the form of ID that you will carry with you on your trip. Further conditions apply."

https://www.amtrak.com/crossing-the-us-canadian-border
A lot of people buy the ticket at the kiosk. Or try to. Only to then find out...

As for online booking, I can only guess here, but I'm going to assume that some entered their standard DL info under "enhanced," perhaps thinking they were the same thing, as some in this thread appeared convinced about as well. Amtrak's website doesn't check the validity of the numbers you put in there. You can literally put in anything you want and make up an expiration date.

A number were turned away when it came time to present ID. And from what I've read, it happens quite frequently with Amtrak (look it up.)

Last edited by Arcenal813; 01-02-2024 at 01:44 PM..
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Old 01-02-2024, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
3,974 posts, read 5,786,882 times
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Yep. Besides a strict border guard that goes by the book and asks all the questions, don't be surprised if he/she asks you to pop open your trunk because it happens every so often. A colleague and a former supervisor both had in the past the unfortunate task of pulling over to the side and dumping everything out to get inspected. Another former colleague went with his buddies to Montreal during college years ago during the same time some protests were scheduled to take place. One buddy of his uttered the wrong thing which ignited the patrol officer's suspicions that they were going to participate in the protests and the next thing you know, they were detained and interrogated for over an hour before being let go. I suspect border guards are more suspicious of young travelers and single travelers than families and seniors and they are more on guard during politically sensitive times. I've always traveled with my family and only once were we ordered to pull over to the side for inspection and that was only because my father said we weren't bringing food across the border when there was an open bag of potato chips in plain view in the backseat (the officer explained afterwards that we can bring food across so long as they're not fruits and vegetables but we have to declare the food and let us off so all was good). Otherwise many guards will simply let you through after you give satisfactory answers.
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Old 01-02-2024, 10:28 PM
 
Location: Elsewhere
88,689 posts, read 85,015,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natnasci View Post
I'm a bit confused as to how those on the train were able to purchase tickets. If in person, they will ask for the proper ID. Heck, even Greyhound in NYC when I took a bus to Montreal many years ago, refused to sell me a ticket until I could prove I had the proper ID to cross the border.

Even if you book online, Amtrak's site they state "When making a reservation for services crossing the US-Canadian border, you must provide certain information, including your date of birth, gender, country of citizenship, and detailed information regarding the form of ID that you will carry with you on your trip. Further conditions apply."

https://www.amtrak.com/crossing-the-us-canadian-border
That's a good point. If you are going to Toronto from New York Penn Station, you have to show your passport THERE before you board.
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Old 01-02-2024, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Elsewhere
88,689 posts, read 85,015,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
Yep. Besides a strict border guard that goes by the book and asks all the questions, don't be surprised if he/she asks you to pop open your trunk because it happens every so often. A colleague and a former supervisor both had in the past the unfortunate task of pulling over to the side and dumping everything out to get inspected. Another former colleague went with his buddies to Montreal during college years ago during the same time some protests were scheduled to take place. One buddy of his uttered the wrong thing which ignited the patrol officer's suspicions that they were going to participate in the protests and the next thing you know, they were detained and interrogated for over an hour before being let go. I suspect border guards are more suspicious of young travelers and single travelers than families and seniors and they are more on guard during politically sensitive times. I've always traveled with my family and only once were we ordered to pull over to the side for inspection and that was only because my father said we weren't bringing food across the border when there was an open bag of potato chips in plain view in the backseat (the officer explained afterwards that we can bring food across so long as they're not fruits and vegetables but we have to declare the food and let us off so all was good). Otherwise many guards will simply let you through after you give satisfactory answers.
I've had them ask me to open the trunk. On my tenth visit up, which was in the spring of 2018 when I was going into Canada pretty much monthly, my car was searched and then I had to talk to an immigration lady. She asked how many times I had entered Canada in the past year, when, how long each visit, and then she started laughing because she said everything I said exactly matched the printout she had in her hands. She wanted to know why I was coming up all the time, and I told her, and also that I owned a home in the USA and had an elderly mother and a part-time job.

Then she told me that since the 2016 US Presidential election, 8000 Americans a month were applying to move to Canada and they were pretty sure more were coming in and just not leaving, so I guess my frequent trips flagged me for interrogation. It was all good.

Later during COVID, I was able to get an exemption to come in during the border closure. That took a lot of paperwork and more questioning at the border, along with a temperature check, a nasal smear, and the necessity to do a second smear on Day 8 of my visit on a video call with a nurse and then leave the swab for a courier to pick up and take to a lab. I also was quarantined for 14 days and got phone calls and emails every day asking me if I was where I was supposed to be. I was in a rural area, but I know that some people like me got surprise in-person visits.

Still later I requested extensions to the six months we are allowed, and they were easily granted because of the circumstances. I was up there for two years.

Left a piece of my heart in the true north. It's a good place.
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Old 01-03-2024, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Flawduh
17,321 posts, read 15,498,182 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
That's a good point. If you are going to Toronto from New York Penn Station, you have to show your passport THERE before you board.
Yes. Amtrak is supposed to check at the station -- and they did. Hence people getting turned away.
You don't need a passport to buy a ticket.
A lot of stations also don't check boarding passes until you are on the train and it is well on its way.

At the US border, a US agent boarded the train and verified everyone's documents again. I didn't see anyone get removed there, although I've heard of it happening.
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