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Old Sep 9, 17, 4:29 pm   #16
  
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
US CBP is more paranoid at Canada-US land border crossings than their Canadian equivalents are at US-Canada land border crossings.
Hmm, not in my experience. Crossed many times at Peace Arch and Pacific Xing, and both the CBSA and the CBP were equally paranoid/relaxed at different times. Actually Canadian agents seemed even less friendly than their US colleagues.
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Old Sep 9, 17, 4:42 pm   #17
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Originally Posted by König View Post
Hmm, not in my experience. Crossed many times at Peace Arch and Pacific Xing, and both the CBSA and the CBP were equally paranoid/relaxed at different times. Actually Canadian agents seemed even less friendly than their US colleagues.
Being less friendly isn't the same as being less paranoid.
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Old Sep 10, 17, 3:42 am   #18
  
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I've only crossed the US/Canada boarder by land twice. Both times going from Vancouver to Seattle on Amtrak services. 1 bus, 1 train. Only 'issue' I had was at the boarder station when on the bus, and that was more because I had more that I had to do inside then everyone else did (having to go through the US-VISIT and I-94W process while everyone else on the bus didn't).
I had more problems entering Canada at YVR.

Most annoying times I've had with CBP was once at BOS and once at JFK.
At BOS arriving from AMS via LHR as part of RTW holiday. First stop in US was attending a friends wedding. CBP agent was going up the line ahead of the booths checking people had paperwork ready. That agent demanded to see the wedding invitation, which I had when packing in AMS, but couldn't find in my carry ons. Said it was in my checked bag. I was pulled to the front of the line and the agent went and said something to the next booth agent. I went through the same thing with that agent and was sent to secondary.
The agents in secondary got pissed off at the primary agents for sending me there for no reason and wasting everyone's time.

The time at JFK, arriving from HKG. Agent wanted to see my ticket, again a RTW trip. Ticket had been issued in Tokyo and was priced in Yen. Agent saw the ticket price, and for some reason was unable to understand was JPY meant and assume the amount was USD, then assumed I couldn't afford my holiday. Spent the next 10 minutes questioning my finances in different ways before letting me pass when "credit card" was mentioned.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 9:36 am   #19
  
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Only did it once at the land border but I got grilled going into Canada (politely but 20 questions. and seriously, who memorizes their license plate number if it isn't a custom plate?) in the NEXUS lane, and I got "randomly selected" for a car search on the return to Champlain (from Lacolle, QC) which took over an hour. I then got grilled at the counter until a siren went off and they (CBP officers in building) were told to go to "Lane 4", which had a car surrounded by CBP officers with guns out (at which point a green slip to get my keys back was basically thrown at me).

Based on that experience, I am deterred from re-entering the US by land (as a US citizen and NEXUS member) and prefer to fly, even if the end-to-end travel time is comparable.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 4:43 pm   #20
  
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Originally Posted by phltraveler View Post
and seriously, who memorizes their license plate number if it isn't a custom plate?
I guess maybe its more unusual for Americans but it's pretty important here (Or at least in Alberta), I have to put it in everytime I pay to park.


I think the main difference is if you have some kind of right to enter Canada (citizenship or PR) or a permit (work or study) CBSA is generally fairly nice and barely asks any (if any) questions. Whereas in the US, it doesn't really matter if you're a citizen, green card holder or visitor, everyone gets treated like crap. To be honest I get the impression CBP is particularly rude to US citizens at the land border in order to dissuade them from going to Canada/Mexico (and keeping their money in the US).
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Old Sep 14, 17, 12:57 pm   #21
  
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YMMV

In general, my worst entry experiences anywhere have been with CBSA, although CBP does their best to retain their claim to worst world-wide. My last few entries have been quick and painless, but entering Quebéc from Vermont a few years ago, CBSA thouroughly searched and then swabbed all my bags be fore an agent returned and informed me that they had "discovered traces of opiates" on my bags and wanted to know if I had an explanation. Based on prior experience I knew this was a lie and I told the agent, "yes, I think the explanation is that you are lying to me in order to see how I will react." After arguing with me for a few minutes he finally acknowledged they hadn't in fact detected anything, but tried to defend himself by saying he was"just doing my job". I asked if his job description included lying to visitors; he said they had the right to do so. I told them that I also had the right to be take offence and if he wasn't prepared to deal with the consequences of lying he should work domewhere else. I was then free to go.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 7:26 pm   #22
  
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"said they found traces of opiates.."
I just get angry when I hear this. No one has ever gotten high off "traces" of opiates.
Mere poppy seeds have gotten people in trouble using this approach.
Just tell them to show you the Mother Lode of opiates you're smuggling (or a single granule) or let you be on your way.
Nixon's long gone, so should be the Drug War he helped create.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 8:55 pm   #23
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# 1 - US
# 2 - CA (actually a lot of comments on FT that sound like comments about US)

although when certain other countries decide to be invasive, can get pretty 'bad' pretty fast

i think only UAE/DXB actually tracks/punishes trace drugs and poppy seeds (current status?)
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Old Sep 15, 17, 3:42 am   #24
  
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Originally Posted by Blogndog View Post
In general, my worst entry experiences anywhere have been with CBSA, although CBP does their best to retain their claim to worst world-wide. My last few entries have been quick and painless, but entering Quebéc from Vermont a few years ago, CBSA thouroughly searched and then swabbed all my bags be fore an agent returned and informed me that they had "discovered traces of opiates" on my bags and wanted to know if I had an explanation. Based on prior experience I knew this was a lie and I told the agent, "yes, I think the explanation is that you are lying to me in order to see how I will react." After arguing with me for a few minutes he finally acknowledged they hadn't in fact detected anything, but tried to defend himself by saying he was"just doing my job". I asked if his job description included lying to visitors; he said they had the right to do so. I told them that I also had the right to be take offence and if he wasn't prepared to deal with the consequences of lying he should work domewhere else. I was then free to go.
That's quite brave. I don't argue with border control, especially foreign. I bow my head and wait for the sword to fall.
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Old Sep 16, 17, 11:13 am   #25
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Originally Posted by phltraveler View Post
Only did it once at the land border but I got grilled going into Canada (politely but 20 questions. and seriously, who memorizes their license plate number if it isn't a custom plate?)
I always do--it's convenient for picking out your car from the others like it. Living in a desert climate there are an awful lot of white cars with tinted windows and Corollas are popular. From behind the plate is the best way to identify it.
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Old Sep 18, 17, 12:15 pm   #26
  
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My coworkers are Belgian and fly into DTW to attend meetings in Sarnia, Ontario. Their experiences rate the CBSA a little worse than the CBP, but that's just a couple of data points at 1 border crossing.

My worst border crossing was travelling with my two obviously Hispanic descended (but American) friends circa 1998 or so. We were stationed in Albany, NY and took a weekend trip to Montreal (due in part to our being under 21). Ended up in secondary heading up north for a good 2 hours, and heading back south we were informed by the CBP officer that our military ID's were not evidence of citizenship and therefore he was not obligated to let us in. So, I guess we should have travelled with our birth certificates or passports (we did not have passports, nor were they required at that time for US/Canadian border crossings). He eventually let us through.

It was at that time I learned that: (1) As a 20 year old active duty Navy Petty Officer, the only country I couldn't drink in was the one I was defending. (2) The ID that clearly states that I volunteer to die defending a country, doesn't in and of itself give me the right to enter said country.
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Old Sep 18, 17, 6:04 pm   #27
  
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Originally Posted by mdkowals View Post

It was at that time I learned that: (1) As a 20 year old active duty Navy Petty Officer, the only country I couldn't drink in was the one I was defending. (2) The ID that clearly states that I volunteer to die defending a country, doesn't in and of itself give me the right to enter said country.
The ridiculous thing was in those days, often just declaring your citizenship was good enough. You didn't really need anything else.

Admittedly, being in the US forces doesn't necessarily make you a US citizen.
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Old Sep 19, 17, 8:31 am   #28
  
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Originally Posted by mdkowals View Post
It was at that time I learned that: (1) As a 20 year old active duty Navy Petty Officer, the only country I couldn't drink in was the one I was defending. (2) The ID that clearly states that I volunteer to die defending a country, doesn't in and of itself give me the right to enter said country.
Nicely put.
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Old Sep 19, 17, 2:08 pm   #29
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Exclamation Moderator's Note: Topic Drift

Folks,

Please let's get back on topic, which is comparing US and Canadian customs officials.

Thank you,

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Travel Safety/Security co-moderator
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Old Sep 20, 17, 4:18 am   #30
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When it comes to airports of entry that I've used in various countries, Canadian airports are the ones where I've most often been sent to secondary. But the Canadian questions haven't been all as intensive as what I've sometimes been asked by US CBP in the baggage claim/post-baggage claim areas.

When it comes to the actual searches of my belongings, US CBP has been more intensive than their Canadian colleagues, at least at surface ports and airports of entry.
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