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Crossing Borders

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Crossing borders is a topic that comes up on all travel forums in various ways. Some want to know about travelling with a criminal record or about making 'visa runs' or exiting/re-entering Schengen, etc. But most people posting here are just ordinary tourists with no real issues about visas etc. to deal with and they expect that entering a country will be no big deal.

The intent of this thread is to remind everyone that even the most harmless tourist can run afoul of border officers. It is important to realize that every single time you try to enter a country, you don't have 'rights'. It is the one time in most countries where you are guilty until you prove your innocence and they need only question your 'intent' in wanting to enter, not prove you have any illegal intentions.

The following example of just how easily it can go wrong is an extreme example. But it is still reality. After listening to it, don't think about was it unfair, ridiculous, etc. It was legal and that is all that matters. Listen to it again and see just how many mistakes the guy made and believe me he made quite a few. Consider just how easily you might have made some of them yourself.

It all starts right at the beginning. The Border Officer asks, "what country are you citizens" (it is a Canadian couple in a car crossing into the USA at Niagara Falls). The guy replies, "what country am I citizens? Canada" That first sentence was his first mistake and it lead to ALL that follows. He emphasized the 'I' in response to the question about 'you' and 'citizens' plural. In other words it was a fllip, smart ass answer correcting the perceived mis-use of English by the Officer.

Listen to what follows: