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Old Mar 1, 01, 12:47 pm   #1
Company Representative - Air Canada
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Canada
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What's with the "who paid for your trip?" question

While returning from HKG today, customs asked me "who paid for your trip and what's your profession?", this is the third straight time that they asked me this question. What's this got to do anything? They didn't even bother asking me what I am bring into Canada...

and for the FIRST time, Canada customs wanted to see my airline ticket.

Does Canada customs actually keep track on when you leave and enter the country?

Btw, for those keeping track, i got code R3-3 on my card today... was not sent to secondary.
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Old Mar 1, 01, 1:06 pm   #2
  
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Quote:
customs asked me "who paid for your trip and what's your profession?"
I was asked that same question in December. I thought it was a bit odd, and also wondered at the same time, WHY do they need to know this?

I was never asked if I was bringing anything into the country. They asked what countries I was visiting before returing, who bought the tickets, profession and about my final destination.

I was asked ZERO questions when I had to clear customs in ORD(NRT-ORD) last June. I handed the agent my passport, they scanned it, stamped the customs card and let me go.
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Old Mar 1, 01, 1:28 pm   #3
  
Join Date: Dec 2000
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They want to know if your ticket was paid for by a terrorist group or a drug cartel! Didn't you volunteer that information??
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Old Mar 1, 01, 3:16 pm   #4
  
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After verifying all my papers were in order, I too was asked what my profession was. I just roll with the punches and keep it as simple as possible. I had just returned from a pure Mileage Run from SFO-SIN, stayed in SIN less than 8 hours, and didn't even officially enter Singapore (no passport stamps).
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Old Mar 1, 01, 3:39 pm   #5
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Interesting. I too was asked to show my ticket on entering Canada from SIN. They seemed to want to see the ticket coupon for the next leg to YWG. No question on my profession however or who paid for the ticket. I have a contact who is a supervisor at customs and immigration. Let me ask the question and get back to the group.
P.S. They did ask me who I had visited in SIN.
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Old Mar 1, 01, 4:25 pm   #6
  
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On my my last mileage run to HNL through YYC I was asked for my ticket and my profession. That was the first time I'd been asked either of those questions.
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Old Mar 1, 01, 6:02 pm   #7
  
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Who paid for my trip? American Express.
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Old Mar 1, 01, 6:40 pm   #8
  
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They want to see your ticket to see if you acutally left Canada on the date you wrote. They want to caculate your allowance... if you only have a couple of days, then it's very easy to search for items over the limit (ie, $200 I think).

As your profession... it's a standard socially acceptable question. Sometimes for no reason... other to test how confident you answer your questions. If they have doubt in you, then you get sent for secondary.

The code R-xx changes daily... no way to know. Because if you do know, you can switch luggages before reaching the exit with your relatives and friends... then you will bypass the search.
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Old Mar 1, 01, 6:51 pm   #9
  
Join Date: Sep 2000
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Quote:
Originally posted by MoreMiles:
They want to see your ticket to see if you acutally left Canada on the date you wrote.
That doesn't make sense. The date printed on the ticket isn't necessarily the date you travelled on. And what about e-tickets?
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Old Mar 1, 01, 7:47 pm   #10
  
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Whitey's right on this one, gents.

Read my post with the subject "Question for matintin" for more info (same board).

As for the "profession" question, if you are a Canadian citizen, it's really none of their business. You can refuse to answer. They'll reply that you have a duty to answer all questions under the Customs Act (ask them which section, just to see if it'll stump them). You'll reply that you'll answer any questions with regard to the goods you are importing, but none that infringe upon your privacy. Furthermore, if they really want to know what your profession is, tell them to call up their friends in Taxation and ask them.

Of course, don't expect a smooth secondary.

Oh, and as far as I know, Customs doesn't keep integrated records on departure/return. Canadians have a right to enter/leave Canada at any time. It's just their goods don't have the same rights.

People, you can expect these sorts of questions when you return from countries that are known to be "source" countries for....?
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Old Mar 1, 01, 7:57 pm   #11
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I just got off the phone with a friend who is a manager with Customs and Immigration or whatever the name is now. I read him the initial post. Here is his answer. Once it has been established that you have the right to enter Canada with the proper documentation, the questions asked are not pertinent. Who paid for the ticket and what your profession is are not pertinent questions for determining customs requirements for duty. He however recognizes that refusal to answer the questions may flag you for secondary inspection. If this line of questioning is a problem in YVR, an observation can be raised to the Canada Customs Manager of Air Traffic Operations in YVR.
I did query him why I was asked for my ticket and he said that it was to verify my statement that I was in SIN for a social visit. The agent asked a question and watched my response. Since my response was prompt and credible, the inspection was over.
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