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Old Nov 14, 11, 7:01 am   #1
 
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Flying to Vancouver

I will be flying to Canada for the first time in my life, so I don't know what to expect in terms of custom and immigration. Am an American flying out from Florida to Vancouver with a 40-min. connection in Chicago. Will I have to go through custom and immigration with my passport just like I would if I was going to or returning from Europe?
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Old Nov 14, 11, 9:02 am   #2
 
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Yes.

Depending on the airline, the gate agent may want to check your passport and boarding pass at ORD before you board your flight to Vancouver. If you're on United they'll definitely want to do this, so as soon as you get to the gate go up to the counter and ask "Do you need to do a passport check?" If they say yes, hand them your documents.

In terms of Canada, you will need to fill out a customs landing card, and present it to the customs and immigration agent once you arrive in Vancouver. Usually they hand these out on the flight ("one per family") but if the flight doesn't have any, or the FAs forget, you can get them in the arrivals hall.

You show it to the officer with your passport and answer their questions, then they hand it back. You claim your baggage (if you have any) and then hand the card in as you exit the international arrivals hall.

Unlike in Europe, customs and immigration are handled by one person, so there's no "red line" / "green line."

When you fly back to the USA you will pre-clear US Customs and Immigration at YVR, so your flight back will be a 'domestic' flight, you don't need to go through customs and immigration when you land in the USA.

Last edited by gglave; Nov 14, 11 at 9:20 am..
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Old Nov 14, 11, 9:35 am   #3
 
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Wow, thank you so much for the info!
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Old Nov 14, 11, 11:17 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by gglave View Post
Unlike in Europe, customs and immigration are handled by one person, so there's no "red line" / "green line."
The immigration officer will stamp your card which you then present to the customs officer after collecting your bags before exiting.

Depending on how you answered at immigration you may have a special 'secret' stamp in which case you'll be pulled aside and examined at the customs station.

Agreed, unlike Europe the choice is not yours.
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Old Dec 16, 11, 10:56 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by Wally Bird View Post
The immigration officer will stamp your card which you then present to the customs officer after collecting your bags before exiting.

Depending on how you answered at immigration you may have a special 'secret' stamp in which case you'll be pulled aside and examined at the customs station.

Agreed, unlike Europe the choice is not yours.
My stamp is not secret...they mark a huge "Z" figure on the form. I save time by simply asking the next official to send me to secondary anyway.

This occurs at two points during entry. First, at the initial point of contact, and second, after customs screening. The one after customs screening is more time intensive and intrusive because the officials don't seem to see as many "customers" and can spend aeons playing their games.

The last time I went through at YYZ, it was marginally more courteous than YVR but it still took almost two hours in total. The first official was at least polite but the last official did his best to be as obnoxious as possible. He didn't yell but he was pointlessly discourteous and insulting with his questioning: "Where are you traveling?" [To PIT] "No you're not." [Here's a ticket printout] "You made it up" [No. It's a genuine e-ticket receipt]. "Who do you work for?" [Sharkville U] "No you don't. Tell me the truth" [Despite official business card in hand] "You created that last night" [OK, you tell me what you need from me and I will respond to your request] etc. etc.

Awesome

I will say the opulent AC333 ride made this experience just about tolerable and I knew it would take a long time so I built in a ton of time to the itin.

After that I needed to find the Tim Horton's in the arrivals hall. Canada is great either before (on AC), or after, you're through IC but the entry experience sucks rocks.

It's as best in class as DL SM.
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Old Jan 9, 12, 8:42 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by redtailshark View Post

After that I needed to find the Tim Horton's in the arrivals hall. Canada is great either before (on AC), or after, you're through IC but the entry experience sucks rocks.

It's as best in class as DL SM.
I always find different peoples experiences fascinating as they can, understandably, completely colour a persons view of a country's entry procedures.

I have always found entry to Canada to be an almost pleasant experience in comparison to the US (although to be fair I have had more positive than negative experiences in the US on my most recent visits.)

I should probably keep quiet though or my next Canadian experience in March may be dreadful!
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Old Jan 9, 12, 12:06 pm   #7
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Is it better to fly into YVR or out of YVR?

I am thinking of redeeming an award for an open jaw combined with taking the bus to or from Seattle. The details are not important except that I can fly out of YVR for the first time or fly into YVR, but not both.

I tend to favor flying out of YVR since I would have time to explore the airport. If I arrive at YVR, I would probably be rushed to leave to see the city. I also favor being processed by US customs and immigration since they are not likely to bar re-entry into the U.S.

Or is there something to see that only arriving YVR passengers can see.
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Old Jan 9, 12, 1:53 pm   #8
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Originally Posted by Cattle Airlines View Post

Or is there something to see that only arriving YVR passengers can see.
There are some water features and "landscaping" in parts of the elevated walkway int'l arriving pax are forced to take, as well as the waterfall (stinks of chlorine) on going down to immigration but that's about it. I'm sure there are lots of videos posted online.
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Old Jan 9, 12, 2:02 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by Cattle Airlines View Post
Or is there something to see that only arriving YVR passengers can see.
This...

http://vimeo.com/4878941

http://www.yvraf.com/highlights_pacific-passage

...as 'roach says. However, you're not guaranteed to see it. 80% of the time, yes, but if your flight arrives at a different set of gates, then no.
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Old Jan 9, 12, 3:18 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattle Airlines View Post
I am thinking of redeeming an award for an open jaw combined with taking the bus to or from Seattle. The details are not important except that I can fly out of YVR for the first time or fly into YVR, but not both.

I tend to favor flying out of YVR since I would have time to explore the airport. If I arrive at YVR, I would probably be rushed to leave to see the city. I also favor being processed by US customs and immigration since they are not likely to bar re-entry into the U.S.

Or is there something to see that only arriving YVR passengers can see.
Fly out of YVR. Far more interesting, IMO. Keep in mind, it's still an airport.
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