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Border crossing - What happens when you Amtrak from BC to Seattle?

Border crossing - What happens when you Amtrak from BC to Seattle?

Old Apr 10th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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Border crossing - What happens when you Amtrak from BC to Seattle?

This may be a silly question, but I've only ever travelled to the States by air or car.
Do you go through immigration at the train station in Vancouver or in Seattle? Do you have to arrive hours before departure like at an airport? Thanks!

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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 09:13 AM
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Crossing to the US on AMTRAK is quite simple. In the train station in Vancouver, you go through US Immigration. Then, when the train reaches the border, it stops for a short time and customs agents come on board. You will have been asked to fill out a declaration card before that stop and the agents will collect and review it. The last time I made that trip a few months ago, the customs stop was less than 5 minutes.

Going the other way, into Vancouver, was even simpler. When you reach the station, you detrain into a customs and immigaration checkpoint. Once there, it is similar to clearing at a road entry point. I was through in less than 30 seconds. On the other hand, the rough-looking couple behind me were questioned quite closely and I saw them leave the customs area a full 10 minutes after that started.

A tip: Spend the few extra dollars AMTRAK charges for business class, whichever direction you are travelling. The minor amenities on the train are not worth the extra money but it lets you avoid standing in line to clear customs and immigration since they unload business class before coach passengers detrain.
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