The border between Canada and the U.S.A. is the longest land border in the world, and the two countries continue to maintain a longstanding friendship. However, anyone travelling to the United States from Canada should know that despite the good relationship between the two countries, crossing the border is still serious business. The Canada-U.S. border is still an international point of entry, and lately, Canadians have been receiving five-year bans at a higher rate than ever.
According to CBC News, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol indicated that there had been an increase in what are known as expedited removals, but this has not been due to any policy change. Immigration lawyer Len Saunders told CBC, "Until recently, I never would have expected people to get these expedited removals so randomly," adding that he would now see at least one a day.
Rochelle Trepanier, a tree planter from B.C., was handed a five-year ban after trying to cross the border at a different port. She had originally been turned away when the documentation she provided (including cell phone bills, work stubs, and credit card information) was not thorough enough. On her second attempt to enter the U.S., Trepanier was detained and handed the ban.
Another B.C. resident, Nick Austin, received a ban after U.S. CBP thought he intended to illegally immigrate. Austin was moving to a new home in Canada and had a number of items in his car and claims he was only going to visit the United States briefly, according to CTV News.
Considering the increasing number of bans being handed to Canadians at the border, travellers should know exactly what to do and how to prepare when crossing into the United States.
Don't stay longer than intended
If you say you're going to stay for a week, don't stay any longer. Unplanned extended stays could affect your ability to cross the border in the future.
Know what you can and can't bring over the border
There are plenty of informative guides from both U.S. Border Patrol and Canada Customs concerning what you are allowed to bring across the border. It's best to know what is allowed before packing up and making the trip.
Bring extra documentation for longer visits
If you're planning on staying in the U.S. for an extended amount of time, make sure you have plenty of extra proof that you plan on returning to Canada. Canadians can visit the U.S. for up to six months as a tourist, but just a passport may not be enough. It's a good idea to bring documents that prove your residence or employment in Canada.
Wear neutral clothing
Profiling by law enforcement is an unfortunate reality, but one that any visitors to the U.S. should be ready to deal with. Wearing plain clothing (and avoiding any religious symbols or items) can make crossing a bit easier.
Know what you need to take your pet across the border
Some people want to travel to the U.S. with their pet, which is allowed. However, like everything else, it's good to know all of the information about how to do that before heading to the border.
Be polite and cooperative
Sometimes crossing the border can be a daunting experience, and Border Patrol officers can seem intimidating. The best thing you can do is to be polite, answer all of their questions, and if they ask to look through any of your luggage, allow them to do so. Cooperation and following the rules is always a good idea when entering another country.
Know what's in your vehicle and/or luggage
Similar to knowing what you can and can't bring with you, always make sure there are no surprises in your luggage or your vehicle. It's good to spend a few days beforehand cleaning out any bags you intend to bring and making sure there is nothing in your car that could be deemed troublesome.
Don't try and bring cannabis or CBD across the border
This one should be very obvious. Even though cannabis has been legalized in Canada, it is still illegal in many states. Do not try and bring any cannabis products (including paraphernalia like papers or pipes) across the border.