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Old Jan 17, 06, 3:47 am   #1
 
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Immigration Exit Controls in Canada/Toronto?

Hi Everybody

I have a question about exit controls when you fly out of Canada. I am from the US and am here in Canada. Will Canadian immigration know when I've left Canada, particularly if I fly to the Carribean or Mexico and not use my passport (just my driver's license). I know when you enter, there is always control by immigration. But is there when you exit, particularly for Americans? Any stories or experiences? Thanks
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Old Jan 17, 06, 3:55 am   #2
 
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Originally Posted by miltons70
Hi Everybody

I have a question about exit controls when you fly out of Canada. I am from the US and am here in Canada. Will Canadian immigration know when I've left Canada, particularly if I fly to the Carribean or Mexico and not use my passport (just my driver's license). I know when you enter, there is always control by immigration. But is there when you exit, particularly for Americans? Any stories or experiences? Thanks
Canada doesn't have immigration exit controls. Full stop.
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Old Jan 17, 06, 4:18 am   #3
 
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Exit Controls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd
Canada doesn't have immigration exit controls. Full stop.


Are you sure? I was told recently that they were doing exit controls out of Vancouver? Have you flown out of Canada recently? Also, if there aren't immigration exit checks, then how do they know if you've overstayed your visa?

Last edited by miltons70; Jan 17, 06 at 4:21 am.
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Old Jan 17, 06, 4:19 am   #4
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Originally Posted by miltons70
Are you sure? I was told recently that they were doing exit controls out of Vancouver? Have you flown out of Canada recently?
I flew out of YYZ less than 4 weeks ago. No exit control checks that I personally witnessed at the airport then either.
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Old Jan 17, 06, 5:11 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by GUWonder
I flew out of YYZ less than 4 weeks ago. No exit control checks that I personally witnessed at the airport then either.
I flew out of YOW 10 days ago, certainly no exit control.

However, the US immigration at YOW was harrassing me big-time - it started because I still had that green stub from the Visa Waiver form. I should've given it to the Canadian immigration when entering Canada (from the US) - so I guess it was my mistake.

It was the 4th time over the last 10 weeks I entered the US, and this time the procedure took ca 20 mins. Well, maybe it's the blue-eyed, simple Finnish peasants with their Finnish passports travelling to the US to visit friends who pose the threat now.

Although I like visiting the US and understand their immigration procedures to an extent, I have decided to postpone futher leisure travel to the US for a while.

I guess this was off-topic, but it certainly made me feel better...
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Old Jan 17, 06, 5:15 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by okko

Although I like visiting the US and understand their immigration procedures to an extent, I have decided to postpone futher leisure travel to the US for a while.

I guess this was off-topic, but it certainly made me feel better...
Don't judge all US immigration from your experiences in pre-clearance at Canadian airports. The one bad US immigration experience I had was in Toronto, and from reading FT and the experience of people I meet stateside, it's very common.
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Old Jan 17, 06, 5:23 am   #7
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Originally Posted by okko
I flew out of YOW 10 days ago, certainly no exit control.

However, the US immigration at YOW was harrassing me big-time - it started because I still had that green stub from the Visa Waiver form. I should've given it to the Canadian immigration when entering Canada (from the US) - so I guess it was my mistake.

It was the 4th time over the last 10 weeks I entered the US, and this time the procedure took ca 20 mins. Well, maybe it's the blue-eyed, simple Finnish peasants with their Finnish passports travelling to the US to visit friends who pose the threat now.

Although I like visiting the US and understand their immigration procedures to an extent, I have decided to postpone futher leisure travel to the US for a while.

I guess this was off-topic, but it certainly made me feel better...
Perhaps filing a statement with your foreign ministry, local political representative and local press would be helpful too.

We Americans may be spied upon by our own government without a warrant, but we are not listened to in the ways some of us used to be listened to in the recent past. And when it comes to trying to make America the welcoming place that serves our material interests, this is unfortunately no exception.

Can't say I blame you. (For 2007, I'm likely to clear HEL immigration more than any single airport's US immigration. I hope they prove more welcoming. )
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Old Jan 17, 06, 5:52 am   #8
 
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Originally Posted by USA_flyer
Don't judge all US immigration from your experiences in pre-clearance at Canadian airports. The one bad US immigration experience I had was in Toronto, and from reading FT and the experience of people I meet stateside, it's very common.
You're right, otherwise I've never had any trouble with US immigration before. Maybe I'm just too used to going through immigration in European countries.
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Old Jan 17, 06, 5:56 am   #9
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When entering Canada via YYZ you meet a Customs Officer, not Immigration. If they are unsure about something, your passport or paperwork is not in order etc., they send you to Immigration. Immigration never mans the front lines here (don't know why, they just don't).

When exiting Canada via YYZ you do not interact with Canadian Customs or Immigration, unless there is a problem with your paperwork and cannot leave without them intervening. You queue up, chat with a US Immigration Officer, get passport scanned etc., then go to another line where you go through US Customs.

I don't know what people are talking about with respect to rude service. At one point I transited through YYZ almost weekly to the US and never had any problems with them. They have always been professional and polite (both when I had my US visa and when I did not).

I was through there not too long ago, busy Christmas travel day, and the Immigration Officer and I were laughing and joking the whole time. Maybe I just look like a nice person (if they only knew )
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Old Jan 17, 06, 6:04 am   #10
 
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The funny thing is that just a couple of days before I had thought it was strange that some Canadians I met said they avoid travelling to/through the US right now.

In fact, I've been thinking of contacting the Finnish embassy in the US to ask them a question related to this episode (especially customs declaration);

In field 15 of the Customs Declaration Form, I had written "0"

Quote:
If you are a visitor (non-U.S. Resident), print the total value of all goods (including commercial merchandise) you or any family members traveling with you are bringing into the United States and will remain in the United States.
Note: Visitors (non-U.S. Residents) are normally entitled to an exemption of $100.
The immigration officer asked whether I had bought anything in Canada, to which I replied that all I had was 3 boxes of chocolate and a can of maple syrup - total worth of 30USD. The officer insisted that I have to enter that amount (30USD) in field 15 - although I pointed out that none of these items would remain in the US. Eventually I had to enter the value of 30USD just to avoid trouble. I do still believe that I was right about this.

I just find it strange that I had to enter information that I thought was incorrect - and this is a form that I had to sign!

Who should I contact regarding this, and do I have a reason to complain?

cheers
okko
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Old Jan 17, 06, 6:17 am   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GUWonder
Perhaps filing a statement with your foreign ministry, local political representative and local press would be helpful too.

We Americans may be spied upon by our own government without a warrant, but we are not listened to in the ways some of us used to be listened to in the recent past. And when it comes to trying to make America the welcoming place that serves our material interests, this is unfortunately no exception.

Can't say I blame you. (For 2007, I'm likely to clear HEL immigration more than any single airport's US immigration. I hope they prove more welcoming. )
While I find it extremely difficult to comment on policies of other countries than Finland, I certainly think it's problematic if people start avoiding travel to the US.

This reminds me of how a colleague of my dad's travelled to a conference in Panama via Caracas recently (instead of Miami which route my dad used) - just to avoid having to go through US immigration.

As for Finnish immigration, hard to say - at least you're not likely to be finger-printed. I seriously don't know how welcoming they are, but I do wish you a lot of smooth arrivals at HEL!
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Old Jan 17, 06, 6:23 am   #12
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Okko were you stopping at all in the U.S.? Whenever I transit through the U.S. I just put in transit - connecting to UA FL # on the bp and have never been questionned about the $0 value. Same with coming home to Canada, even if I have a luggage full of stuff.
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Old Jan 17, 06, 6:33 am   #13
 
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Originally Posted by MapleLeaf
Okko were you stopping at all in the U.S.? Whenever I transit through the U.S. I just put in transit - connecting to UA FL # on the bp and have never been questionned about the $0 value. Same with coming home to Canada, even if I have a luggage full of stuff.
I stayed in the US for ca 30 hours that time. Not one single item remained in the US.
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Old Jan 17, 06, 6:51 am   #14
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Originally Posted by okko
As for Finnish immigration, hard to say - at least you're not likely to be finger-printed. I seriously don't know how welcoming they are, but I do wish you a lot of smooth arrivals at HEL!
I started making friendly with Finnish diplomats several months back (and then some). Perhaps they can bail me out if HEL gives me HEL for transiting too much.

And MapleLeaf, thanks for the info about YYZ as it seemed more like a customs-oriented check than immigration ... although they did look at passports a bit.
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Old Jan 17, 06, 7:13 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okko
However, the US immigration at YOW was harrassing me big-time - it started because I still had that green stub from the Visa Waiver form. I should've given it to the Canadian immigration when entering Canada (from the US) - so I guess it was my mistake.
There is no need to remove the Visa Waiver form if you are just taking a side trip, so I don't understand why you were getting this hassle.

Strangely, my very BEST ever US Immigration experience was at YOW, only a few months ago. That officer was so nice and welcoming! Made a pleasant change from his Canadian counterpart on the way in who was quite rude.
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