US Customs in Canada

Apr 9th, 2008, 05:19 AM
  #1  
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US Customs in Canada

This past weekend was my first trip to Canada since the new passport regulations took place.

I didn't think it would have much to do with me as I just assumed it meant "carry your passport" and show it instead of a driver's license.

I was surprised that it now means that US Citizens must pass through Canadian customs upon entering the country, stand in one of those l-o-n-g lines and fill out one of those entry declaration forms -- all for a 50 minute flight.

It was the departure that was really problematic. We arrive at the Toronto airport for our return flight. We found out that US Customs is physically located at the airport, so we had to fill in a arrival sheet and go through US customs with our boarding passes. Seemed to make sense -- it would save us a line back in DC.

Unfortunately, our flight was cancelled after we waited 5 hours for incremental delay announcements. Toronto does not have an in-transit lounge for traveling from Canada to the US, so we had to exit Canadian customs again to go to a hotel. The next morning, with our new boarding passes, we once again had to pass through US Customs. He actually questioned our assertion that we had purchased nothing -- after all we had only been in Canada for 7 hours to sleep.

I guess my primary feeling in all this is the dilution that Canada is our neighbor to the North. It feels less friendly and more like a foreign country.
Hawktwo is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 05:28 AM
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I was surprised that it now means that US Citizens must pass through Canadian customs upon entering the country

I'm confused. I've flown to Canada a number of times in the past, but before the new passport regulations, and I've always had to go through Canadian immigration and customs, fill out the form, etc. In fact, I still have vivid memories of being "grilled" at midnight about the purpose of my visit when entering on business. And, the US Immigration/Customs facilities have been in place at some airports in Canada for quite some time.
ms_go is online now  
Apr 9th, 2008, 06:22 AM
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"I guess my primary feeling in all this is the dilution that Canada is our neighbor to the North. It feels less friendly and more like a foreign country."

It is a foreign country, and a pit stop for some involved in the 9/11 attacks. We live in different times, which means inconveniences like this, even when coming from Toronto.
MikeT is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 06:32 AM
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The US Customs (now Customs and Border Protection) pre-clearance stations in Canada and elsewhere have been in existence for decades. I should know - I spent the worst 2 years of my life as a US Customs Inspector in Toronto in the early 80s. And I personally asked thousands of passengers if they purchased anything during their stay in Canada. The length of the stay is relevant to whether or not you qualified for the duty free exemption. And yes I would have had a look of disbelief on my face if someone answered that they had not purchased ANYTHING.
bennnie is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 06:38 AM
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Please explain to me what the regulations are as of today if you are driving across the Canadian border? Do you need your passport or will a birth cert. suffice?
mrsd2fan is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 07:15 AM
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From the US Customs and Border Protection web site.


Beginning January 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens 19 years and older who enter the U.S. at land and sea ports of entry from within the Western Hemisphere will need to present government-issued photo ID, such as a driverís license as proof of identity, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate, or a passport. Children age 18 and under will be able to enter with proof of citizenship. Verbal claims of citizenship and identity alone will not be sufficient to establish identity and citizenship for entry into the United States.

Note: Children age 18 and under will need to present a birth certificate, naturalization certificate or a passport to enter the U.S.

bennnie is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 07:23 AM
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Thank you!!!
mrsd2fan is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 07:41 AM
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bennie, are you saying even though you looked at the forms and KNEW that the person had only been there for 7 hours, that you still "would have had a look of disbelief on my face if someone answered that they had not purchased ANYTHING."

Really?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 9th, 2008, 07:45 AM
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We flew to Canada in late 1990s with a teenager. The questioning and customs, document control was like it would be entering every foreign country.

Sorry your flight was cancelled, I think all your problems snowballed from there.

Yes, Canada is still our neighbor to the north which takes security seriously, why would anybody think of it as a 51st state? They do have their own currency, you know
FainaAgain is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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"I spent the worst 2 years of my life as a US Customs Inspector in Toronto in the early 80s."

Why was it the worst two years? The job or the location?
nohomers is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 08:26 AM
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BENNIE- rules have changed again for land entry

Homeland Security and State Departments Announce WHTI Land and Sea Final Rule
Release Date: March 27, 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
Department of State: 202-647-2492

WHTI Land and Sea Final Rule (PDF, 151 pages - 4.8 MB)
Washington State's Enhanced Drivers License Notice (PDF, 6 pages - 308 KB)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced today the final rule for the land and sea portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), a core 9/11 Commission recommendation. The WHTI final rule requires travelers to present a passport or other approved secure document denoting citizenship and identity for all land and sea travel into the United States. WHTI establishes document requirements for travelers entering the United States who were previously exempt, including citizens of the U.S., Canada and Bermuda. These document requirements will be effective June 1, 2009.


sunbum1944 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 09:01 AM
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nohomers - Definitely the job. Because I hated being suspicious of everyone which is how you can end up with that job.

And yes Patrick - While I was on the job, I would be surprised that someone hadn't purchased something even in 7 hrs - even something small and inexpensive. The question asked is not what did you buy that you think Customs would be interested in - just what did you buy? I had people daily swear that they didn't buy anything but after inspection of luggage or handbags something that needed to be declared, sometimes even thousands of dollars worth of purchases. One guy in particular comes to mind - came up for the day for business meetings "too busy to shop". Not an uncommon response. But this guy actually had spent $US5000 on a wallet, belt and a pair of shoes all of which he was wearing/carrying. It doesn't take long to spend a lot of money. And most people do end up buying some small souvenir that they forget about or assume that Customs isn't interested in.

If you get lied to on a daily basis you tend to be suspicious of everyone. I was also overworked (12 hr days minimum - 6 days a week required) so exhaustion plays a role also. I was young, I was naive. I hated being like that and am not proud of this - its just what happens to you in that job. Glad I left it and have never regretted it once.


Also there were no forms to be completed at that time - just a verbal declaration.
bennnie is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Bookmarking
hpeabody is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...-2005Apr8.html

Mike T please read this article and stop spreading the fallacy that the 9/11 highjackers "made a pit stop" in Canada. It just isn't true and has has been proven so. Please come to our country enjoy it and remember it is your country that now requires you to have a passport to return from Canada.
rosieg is offline  
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