Canada / USA Border crossings

#1
what is it like crossing the border between US/Canada ?

im planning a road trip starting in california using a hire car, the insurance will cover me for out of state travel and Canada. is there anything i should know or expect at the crossings ?
will a US plate cause any difficulties in Canada ?
 
#2
I crossed at the Pacific Highway border crossing in 2002 travelling from Seattle to Vancouver. I was travelling by bus and was met by a Customs officer who was interrogating all Canadians for being in the US and all Americans for wanting to go to Canada. As soon as we waived the British passports in his face, we were very politely asked to see Canadian immigration who were superb. Crossing back however we were met by a bunch a little Hitlers who demanded $19 for the privaledge of entering the US of A. Top Tip...keep the green entry stub and you don't have to pay to get back into the US!
For cars the set up is very similar to the Channel Tunnel border points if you have done that...it is all done from the safety of your own car and you drive up to the booths.
 
#3
MightyBigEgo said:
Top Tip...keep the green entry stub and you don't have to pay to get back into the US!
.
this the same visa waiver form used on the flight into USA ?

i was under the impression you had to surrender it to the customs, i take it you can still keep it.
 
#4
You give the top half to the immigration officer and you keep the bottom half...I don't know why...I suppose to prove you are legal, but then, isn't that why you get your passport stamped?
 
#5
crossing to canadas a doddle. went recently crossing the bridge at Niagara falls ( the canadian sides much better than the spam side). Canadian immigration was a guy who'd done 22 years in the british army, hence canadian born but with a yorkshire accent. Canadian immigration much friendlier than us side although to be honest you can't compare yanks in federal positions to normal yanks !
 
#6
MightyBigEgo said:
You give the top half to the immigration officer and you keep the bottom half...I don't know why...I suppose to prove you are legal, but then, isn't that why you get your passport stamped?
This is part of the same visa waver form as you used when you entered the US and you are supposed to hand the green bit back when you leave so they can track when you leave the country. If you are leaving the US permanently - ie flying home out of Canada you are supposed to hand it in but nobody will know. If you are returning back to the US on the same trip having the green part absolves you from having to fill out the visa waver paperwork again.
 
#7
semper said:
will a US plate cause any difficulties in Canada ?
Only difficulties you'll get are from occasional d*ckhead Canadians (in Ontario at least) who'll shout at you to "go home" (happened to my sister when she visited me from California). Nothing big, really.
 

Glad_its_all_over

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#8
Don't do Canada-US at Lester Pearson International Airport in Toronto. The US INS types there are the biggest gang of shitehouses you'll ever meet and delight in arsing punters around.
 
#9
Semper, where are you planning to cross?

If from Washington State into BC, the Peace Arch crossing can be busy. Try to use the truck crossing a little farther East.

The Canadian border point is manned by Customs (revenue collectors) not Immigration. If you are visiting someone in Canada, do not admit to bringing them anything if you are. All you possessions are yours, otherwise they will charge you tax and duty.

The US side is manned by both Customs agents and Immigration agents. You shouldn't have a problem with them just tell them all they ask, that you are on vacation, touring the US and Canada.

For both sides have your passport, ID such as drivers licence, and possibly a copy of your birth certificate.

Having a US plate should not be a problem, except from a few ignorant Canadians, as suggested above. Try to rent a Ford Crown Victoria. In Canada only Police drive them, and you'll get some courtesy on the road.
 
#10
I've flown into Calgary, Alberta several times. It was HELL!!! Canadian Customs are the WORSE!! I've been around the world and I have never ran into bigger pricks in customs, then Canada. I love the country though :)
 
#11
Slightly off thread here (and probably deserving of its own thread) but Phil you haven't lived until you have experienced being fukced about by Israeli immigration officials. Especially the female ones.
 
#12
Crossed Canada->US->Canada two years ago with a hire car, no trouble at all on both crossings with both borders.

Had to leave 1 apple behind in Canada because it was not allowed to be taken across the border (something about insect/plant disease control), shame we didn't cross back at the same point a week later, I would have asked for it back :lol:
 
#13
Birdie_Numnums said:
Slightly off thread here (and probably deserving of its own thread) but Phil you haven't lived until you have experienced being fukced about by Israeli immigration officials. Especially the female ones.
Top tip here for travellers to Israel - be white, male, European, clean shaven, smartly dressed, polite and travelling to visit an Israeli firm. Produce the nice letter they sent you and breeze through. Wait until you're outside before laughing at/feeling sorry for (dependent on your world view) the poor sods there for the long haul.

And as for getting on the aircraft to leave, we found that applying all the advantages listed above brings the timings down to a positively Ferrari like 2.5 hours from queue to departure lounge. If you're even vaguely arab in appearance I understand a day is about right.
 
#14
Never had a problem with US Immigration - in fact on a trip through JFK a few weeks ago I was off the aeroplane and out of the airport in about 10 minutes! Most Canadian customs have been fine too, except for those on the Pacific Highway. Every time I've crossed there the US have been fine - the Canadian officials have put me through the 3rd degree. Same thing happended to my sister when she flew into Vancouver to attend a relatives funeral there, but she's a stuck up cow so I wouldn't be surprised if she wound someone up.
 
#15
I had no trouble really crossing the border between Yukon and Alaska this last summer. I had to fill out a Visa waiver that cost me about $10 I think. Be warned though, I was accompanied by two Canadian crab Lieutenants (and one smoking hot Quebecian, but she was army so it was ok) who decided to run the alcohol gauntlet on our way back from Alaska and told the quite cute border control ladies that we had no Alcohol.

After the immediate search of a hire car they discovered our alcohol stash, confiscated it and impounded the car. We only had to pay six bucks to get the car back, but we lost the alcohol...crabs are the same everywhere you go! Idiots!
 
#16
true about crab Lieutenants tsar, but you also illustrate what Canada Customs is like, having searched the car.

You are lucky they let you have the car back......
 
#18
Aah - Canada.

I once had to bring a convoy of Brit vehicles back from Fort Lewis to Wainwright - when we got to Canada Customs we were confronted by this French speaking oriental looking guy in a Canada Customs uniform who could not read the French wording on a NATO travel order. This guy did not believe that we all worked for the same boss, until I pointed to the picture of the Queen he had on the wall behind him.

I also had the "pleasure" of accompanying British servicemen who had overstayed their welcome while in Canada and ended up at the Immigration tribunal in Edmonton - not a pleasant experience. Be careful what you say in jest to either an Immigration or Customs guy, they will "take everything down and use it in evidence against you". They are almost as boring as the German equivalents !!!

My favourite out there was having to bail out this RAF pilot who the RCMP Corporal would not let back airside from the duty free at Edmonton International airport, because he did not have a licence to fly his airplane !!! I promised I wouldn't tell the rest of his crew that the nice Army Mover got him out of jail.

Or there's this tale of the Infantry Corporal who punched out an entire UKMAMS team in the hotel bar when they nicked the free potato skins, or the hooker who tried to score with the CDS in a posh hotel at Edmonton Airport - his ADC saved him ................ naah - these are boring, but made me laugh at the time.
 
#19
Birdie_Numnums said:
Tsar, was the car worth the $8?
It was some gutless automatic 2.2 called a Sunfire or something. It looked quite cool, but was really quite a pants car. mind you, seeming as though the speed limit is 100 KMH on their fcuk off highways where you won't see anyone from hours, it's no wonder everyone drives massive trucks and gutless cars. The look on their faces in the back when they saw I fast I was going was priceless. In MPH, it was only about 85, and the car cut out at 90. The fear in their eyes when I was driving around town was a different matter...

Internationally, the customs didn't even blink at us, and were very nice about taking my VISA waiver I forgot to hand back in. The customs official on the other side when we went to Haines instead of Skagway was a very ncie guy, he let us go back for fuel and out again without checking the car. The US customs on the other hand were real t*ssers.
 

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