US/Canada Border Crossing

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Been crossing the Calais / St Stephen (US/Canada) border two times a year for more then 30 years. Sometimes by myself or with wife and four children. Funny how the agents attitude changes depending on each situation. One time wife forgot all passports. Canadian side tried to guilt us in to can't cross and 5 mins later after some discussion we were on our way. Most recently was by myself crossing in to US. I am just your avg Joe at 48 (I think??...white 48 year old male, bald, not dressed up,) and was driving the wife's Infiniti. He asked the basic questions...where you from, how long (4 days) then he asked me "is that your car?". Never got that before because was always in the minivan. Then asked me to open the back trunk gate which I had nothing but clothes and chips. On the way in to Canada she was busting me about to you have proof that you were born in NY...Proof? My Visa says that. (I did say I was going to visit family in NS which I was ). It was late but she asked I think if I had dirt/mud. I usually just tell the kids to pretend to be sleeping and no problems. Any insights or stories? Just chattin' here...Not mad.
 
Never been to Canada . Been through the port of entry ( a few times ) , driving back and forth from El Paso on US 54 . I am an old WASP male driving a company truck . Are you a citizen ? Yes . Have a nice day . Only international port of entry I have been through . If I take I10 home , no port of entry .
 
I've been crossing off and on since I was a baby. I carry a US passport, but I was born in Canada, which has more than once triggered something that meant I had to pull over and go inside for further questioning. That hasn't happened in quite a few years though. I suspect with all the electronic monitoring you need to have something "in the system" to get the third degree, or else you look suspicious. In informal observations at border crossings they seem to pick on younger people, people of color, and those not from North America. They occasionally have surprise inspections well away from the border, and at those stops they come out dressed like the military carrying weapons and often lead dogs around your car too. It's one good reason to always keep your license, car registration, insurance card, etc. all up to date with matching names and addresses, if possible.
 
I've travelled to Michigan international speedway from Toronto a couple of times to see a NASCAR race. Bought tickets in advance, rented a trailer and had reservations where I was staying. Both times my buddy and I were questioned at length, held up for maybe 30 minutes and certainly made not to feel welcome but eventually let in. Those people serving us [restaurant staff/hotel and Nascar park staff] often asked us about out trip and we told them how we were treated at the border. They appeared very uncomfortable to hear how we were treated. The speedway has recently taken down some of the stands as attendance has dropped and the trailer park we stayed in has closed. I very much agree that a country has every right to restrict who comes in for a visit but the attitude could be better. Not the only reason but it's part of the reason I haven't gone back in the last two years.
 
"I usually just tell the kids to pretend to be sleeping and no problems." Get em started young to be gamers.
 
I'm a Canadian and used to cross the border on business. I always had a passport but picked up a Nexus card to get in the fast track at customs. They also allow the Nexus card to be used for flights between Canadian cities. My card expired so I applied on the internet for new one ($50 US for 5 years). I always get courteous fast service from the US agents. The Canadian agents treat me like a criminal when trying to get back into my own country. smirk2 When driving back into Canada I always have a full tank of gas, a 6 pack of Coors and some of those tasty corn nuts. laugh
 
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Yes , any country has the right and obligation to control who does and who does not enter . If any person does not like it , stay home . That does not mean the entry officials should be over bearing to the average Joe or Jane . But the average Joe or Jane should not come across with an attitude . I am a USA citizen and have a right to be here . I do not have a right to be in another country .
 
I'm an older white male from the south- I've read that that is a targeted segment on the Canadian side- seems a Canadian prosecutor stated they were the biggest group arrested for having undeclared firearms. Also read some real horror stories of people having their RV's or regular vehicles torn apart, searched and damaged while they look for guns that were not there. Wife and I have been near the border several times and wanted to go into Canada but were worried about damage- they can search all they want because I'm not stupid enough to bring something they don't allow- but the possible damage concerns me greatly- I'm told they do NOT pay for any damages they cause.
 
Originally Posted by coopns
On the way in to Canada she was busting me about to you have proof that you were born in NY...Proof? My Visa says that. (I did say I was going to visit family in NS which I was). It was late but she asked I think if I had dirt/mud.
A visa? Dirt? Mud? Maybe the agent moonlights with a mobile car wash and shower parked behind back. Only $500.
 
I cross pretty frequently, almost exclusively at the Thousand Islands; Alexandria Bay - Ivy Lea. Usually it's easy, but I've notice that the trade issues have changed things a little in the past year or so. It's becoming more common for them to ask me how much food I have with me, or why don't I but my food in Canada. One guy last year made me turn around and discard all my apples, strawberries, and grapes back on the US side then come back in. The border patrol agents on the US side got a pretty good laugh over that one. "How long were you in Canada?" "Oh, about 3 minutes... He told me to come over here and throw out my fruit") You can easily tell the agents who are having a bad day or have a chip on their shoulder. (That holds true on both sides of the border...) Usually it's just the basic "Citizenship, where you going, how long, any alcohol/tobacco, weapons/firearms, are you leaving anything in Canada" We appear just as we are- a middle age couple with two young boys going to our family cottage. And usually treated as such.
 
Originally Posted by Uphill_Both_Ways
Dirt? Mud? Maybe the agent moonlights with a mobile car wash and shower parked behind back. Only $500.
Back in the 70s my uncle had a cooler full of night crawlers he'd collected for fishing. It is permissible to bring the worms into Canada, but not the dirt. He had to cross back across the line and rinse off all the worms. Then he was allowed in.
 
Born and raised in the USA, and had a passport at the time, but I traveled to the Vancouver area on business a few times in years past. Always seemed to have a much harder time getting back into the US than I ever had getting into Canada. Always watched as car after car with Canada plates get waved through into the US, but I always got questioned at length, lol. shrug
 
My wife and I have been across quite a bit at Niagara Falls and Sault Ste. Marie. I don't think we've ever been stopped more than a minute or two and asked the standard questions in either country. I'd say the standard attitude we receive is a mixture of business and boredom. Though we are surprised by the number of seemingly normal looking people in line in front of us who get pulled aside. Last year at Sault Ste. Marie coming back into the US, our line was moving much slower than all the rest. As we got closer to the guard booth, we watched several cars and trucks from our line getting pulled off to the side. We got up there, got asked the standard questions, and were allowed through without any issues (shrug). Last year, we got up early to head over to St. Catharines for breakfast and I sleepily pulled right up behind the guy in front of me at the guard booth. For those who don't know, you're supposed to stop at a stop bar 50 yards back from the guard booth and wait until you're signaled to pull forward. My wife just about died - lol. The guy in the guard booth just shoved his hand out the window and motioned me back. Once we were signaled to move forward, he didn't even mention it. I assume he sees that quite a bit. crazy
 
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Originally Posted by WyrTwister
Yes , any country has the right and obligation to control who does and who does not enter . If any person does not like it , stay home . That does not mean the entry officials should be over bearing to the average Joe or Jane . But the average Joe or Jane should not come across with an attitude . .
I have crossed too many borders to count, but have never ever seen anybody treated badly other than at our borders. It doesn't take too much effort to be nice. The border agents are there to do the job, so do the job thoroughly but respectfully. We see often that many in authority are power tripped. So many colleagues of mine dread traveling to the US. They feel very unwelcome. I completely get where they are coming from. And when you talk of attitude, you should really see how our fellow citizens behave at other borders. It is shameful, to say the least.
 
One of the reasons I got a Nexus Card to avoid this as much as possible. Although there are still guards in the booth there is no questioning for the most part. Occasionally they will flag you to see if you are declaring things because it's on the honor system but it's rare because your finger prints and iris are on file with them and they can revoke your card if you mess around. Plus the Whirlpool bridge is for Nexus card holders only so you can zip right across without the 20+ minute wait to get to a booth. Combine that with EZ Pass for New York state so you don't have to wait in toll lines and it's even better. Transponder is free just need a minimum of $25 USD charge in credit on there for them to deduct from and then when it falls below $10 they will top you up automatically. They are even good about sending you a statement. I've had 0 issues the last couple years I have been using it. It's great for weekend auto-parts runs if I can't find the parts locally because we are only 40 minutes from the border and can be across in minutes.
 
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Decades ago it was a breeze to cross the border. Things have gotten really uptight in the past 18 years. Going to Canada is not much of a problem, though I have run into some shakedown. They are really adamant on not letting anyone in who has had a DUI. These people are persona non grata. Once the leading question was "have you ever been fingerprinted?" Crossing back into the US is very tough. It varies from person to person, but in general they are very serious.
 
Last couple of years, getting into Canada has been pretty easy. The usual round of questions we are prepared for (things like declaring the amount of booze we are bringing in etc...) We've had no issues going that way. Coming back to the US has been a different story. We've had long interviews two of the last three years on our returns with a lot of questions. Funny how coming home seems to be more trouble than leaving... We've also found that when the US border is not busy, that's when we seem to get the long interview. At least one of the agents was downright hostile. I will state we go through a border crossing with a ton of sportsmen traffic - fishing boats and the like (that's why we are there anyways). Knowing the rules before you go is a smart plan...
 
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