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christophbenells

Help me figure out if I'm allowed into Canada

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I'm trying to drive through Canada to Alaska. I've been reading through all the rules and stuff but its hard to tell if I'm allowed or not.

 

I had a misdemeanor theft 8 years ago, (stupid decision as a 19 year old) and several silly arrests for marijuana and alcohol as a minor. As far as I know all have been expunged from my record.

 

Anyone with customs experience got any tips for me or can give me a clearer answer than I get off the CIC website?

 

 

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I have a good friend with a felony conviction that landed him in a federal pen as well as multiple DUIs. He is allowed in Canada, but he had to get a lawyer and pay some kind of a fee to Canada if I recall correctly.

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The topic will likely not come up and shouldn't be a problem if it's not on your record. What I would do is bring your itinerary for Alaska, any reservations you have in Alaska, and a bank statement showing that you have the money to make the trip. What they are worried about is you staying. Be polite, be confident, look them straight in the eye, make sure you car isn't a mess.

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That's not good advice. Border rules change all the time. It's quite possible these days that your record is still accessible by Canadian Customs.

 

Contact Canadian customs and ask them directly. You may well have to pay a fee to get in. Or not get in at all. Or everything will be just fine. Ask.

 

This is not the place to get a specific answer to your particular case.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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over in Michigan/Ontario going to Windsor from Detroit for a bachelor party because the drinky age there is 19 and we had a few guys under 21 with us. They asked if any of us had been convicted of a crime or some sort and one guy (over 21) answered truthfully. He wasn't driving, but was a passenger. He had gotten a DUI 4 years previous in Wisconsin -- ie no pending litigation, etc, completed whatever he needed to and had a fully legal drivers license, etc.

 

Needless to say the Bachelor party was spent in ole' Ypsilanti Michigan and was mostly dry for those under 21.

 

In retrospect it would have made a lot more sense all of us just to say no, him included.

 

In a previous time (Fall of 2000) a girl in our group stupidly brought "Pipes.... with Resin" (verbatim Canadian border patrol words) across. They told us we shouldn't do that, gave us the pipes back, and let us continuing on our way to a 'music event' (a rave) in Toronto. Go figure

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For what its worth, I recently passed through the border on a slow night and the Canuckustoms pulled me out of the car and ran a background check. Probably best to check with them ahead of time.

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Well I got pulled out of line last year for a dui in 1986! The officer let me thru but said if it was less than 10 years he would refuse me entry. And he made it sound like I was lucky he let me thru. One of the few unfriendly people I've met in Canada. Good Luck.

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That's not good advice.

 

Actually, it is.

 

You can call CBSA to your hearts content but when you are at inspection the process is subjective and up to the agent, as has been previously noted. They could ask you three questions and you are on your way or you could be picked for random inspection and have your car torn apart.

 

DUI is a felony offense and that is why someone with one is inadmissible. Misdemeanors is not such a bit deal.

 

Again, I think they are going to be more concerned about whether you car can make the trip, you have travel insurance, and that you have funds to do it.

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I used to cross the border regularly and can say with confidence that your chances of being stopped go WAY up if you have anyone who isn't white in your car. Every time I go alone I get waved through and every time I am with my buddy who is mexican/japanese/who-knows we get the full check. Never been refused, but it'll add an hour or so to the trip.

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I'm trying to drive through Canada to Alaska. I've been reading through all the rules and stuff but its hard to tell if I'm allowed or not.

 

I had a misdemeanor theft 8 years ago, (stupid decision as a 19 year old) and several silly arrests for marijuana and alcohol as a minor. As far as I know all have been expunged from my record.

 

Anyone with customs experience got any tips for me or can give me a clearer answer than I get off the CIC website?

 

 

First, it is not customs but immigration. Customs is for goods, immigration is for people.

 

Second it does not matter whether it was a felony or misdemeanor conviction, the fact that one has been arrested (but not convicted) can be enough to be deemed inadmissible. If your conviction was truly expunged then you may be ok - damn well had better check on that - regardless of your travel desires. Records do not always get update correctly.

 

 

http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/australia-australie/visas/inadmissible-interdite.aspx

 

That said after you figure out things on this side of the border your best is to personally contact a consulate.

 

http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/seattle/index.aspx

 

 

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As a side note for everyone...make sure you have your UPDATED car insurance card with you AND vehicle registration. Rarely do they ask for it....I know of two people who they have asked for it. If you do not have that, they will deny you at the border. It has happened.

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US Immigration has a tremendous amount of power. They can and have set up checkpoints up to 100 miles within the US border. 4th Amendment be damned, that's 'legal'. They can search your electronic devices - and require you to login to do so. They currently have 45 agents on the Olympic Peninsula (with a total of 1 point of entry) and like to hang out in church parking lots so they can ask people coming out of Spanish masses for their papers. "Who wants a trip to Mexico today?" (yes, that is an affidavit quote). They've harassed the local community so badly with such racial profiling that even local law enforcement is complaining. Ironically, native Americans get some of the worst of it - hey, they look like Mexicans, right?

 

Canadian Immigration probably has similar, relatively unchecked powers. Assume otherwise at your peril.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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US Immigration has a tremendous amount of power. They can and have set up checkpoints up to 100 miles within the US border. 4th Amendment be damned, that's 'legal'. They can search your electronic devices - and require you to login to do so. They currently have 45 agents on the Olympic Peninsula (with a total of 1 point of entry) and like to hang out in church parking lots so they can ask people coming out of Spanish masses for their papers. "Who wants a trip to Mexico today?" (yes, that is an affidavit quote). They've harassed the local community so badly with such racial profiling that even local law enforcement is complaining. Ironically, native Americans get some of the worst of it - hey, they look like Mexicans, right?

 

Immigration can legally set up check points within the USA but you can legally refuse to answer any questions. The only place immigration/customs officials can make you do anything is when crossing the border.

 

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But they can detain you for refusing to answer questions, no? Seems like trying to stick it to the man could lead to unpleasant consequences. Of course, if you don't have anywhere to be, it might be fun.

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But they can detain you for refusing to answer questions, no? Seems like trying to stick it to the man could lead to unpleasant consequences. Of course, if you don't have anywhere to be, it might be fun.

 

No, you can not be detained for refusing to answer. You can only be detained if there is reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. Traveling along a road which is where most checks are done way does not constitute reasonable suspicion.

 

The same can be legally be done at DUI check points which are similar. The courts have said such check points are a minimal invasion of privacy given the benefit to the public (4th amendment). However, the right to refuse to answer still holds (5th amendment).

 

The two key questions to ask after you you refuse to answer and the official is unsure what to do and asks you pull over are "Am I being detailed" if they say no then ask "Am I free to go".

 

The above applies within the USA - it does not apply at borders or other point of entry (i.e. Chicago after arriving on an international flight).

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The topic will likely not come up and shouldn't be a problem if it's not on your record. What I would do is bring your itinerary for Alaska, any reservations you have in Alaska, and a bank statement showing that you have the money to make the trip. What they are worried about is you staying. Be polite, be confident, look them straight in the eye, make sure you car isn't a mess.

 

A few years back I went to a conference in Kelowna. The guard ask for my itinerary, so I handed over the conference schedule. The next question was, "Do you have hotel reservations?" After saying no the follow up question was, "Why not?"

 

I look the guard in the eyes and replied, "I've driven through Kelowna several times and they have motels, besides I have a pickup with a canopy and a sleeping bag. I think I'll be alright." The guard's only response was, "You can go now." :laf:

 

If you have good reason to believe what was on your record has been expunged then you have no reason to bring it up. When ask about previous offenses say there is nothing.

 

 

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I cross the border a lot to climb in Squamish and ride bikes in Whistler and usually everything goes well. Saturday I had a Canadian agent that was in a bad mood. It went something like this:

Canadian Border Agent: Have any of you ever been arrested?

Us: round of "no" from all three of us

CBA: Have any of you ever had handcuffs on?

Us: same reply

CBA: Have any of you ever been in trouble with the law?

Us: What do you mean, like speeding tickets?

CBA: Yeah, like speeding tickets.

Us: Each of us said "Sure, I've had a speeding ticket."

CBA: How long are you going to be in Canada?

Us: Just for the day.

CBA: Where are you staying?

Us: *puzzled*...Whistler bike park.

CBA: You're going to sleep in the parking lot...?

Us: No, why would we do that?

CBA: You just said that's where you're staying.

Us: No, we just said we'd only be there for the day.

CBA: Then why would you stay there?

Us: We'll be back to Bellingham by the end of the day.

CBA: Ok, you can go.

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The two key questions to ask after you you refuse to answer and the official is unsure what to do and asks you pull over are "Am I being detailed" if they say no then ask "Am I free to go".

 

 

If, in fact, my car is being detailed, I'm going to say "Thanks, brah!"

 

On the other hand, when Immigration details your vehicle, it tends to start with box cutters.

 

These two questions are good ones and recommended. If you are ever ASKED to be searched by any officer, ask them these questions as a reply. DON'T GIVE YOUR CONSENT IF ASKED. Unfortunately, law enforcement's criteria for probable cause can, on occasion, be a bit on the broad side. Nervousness (who would be nervous at a border stop?), sweating, fumbling, weird smells (not that climbers would ever have to worry about that) - and you're off to the races. "I smelled marijuana" is all the officer need include in his report to justify an afternoon - or much longer, of Bend Over. Make sure your monkey ass doesn't smell anything like a dank nugg - determining this may require an objective opinion from your climbing partner. Pick a devoted one for such trips.

 

The only time we had our car raped at the border was when we innocently answered "skiing" as our reason for coming to Canada...just as we watched our buddies drive away in front of us - with all our skis on their rack. Guess what question the officer asked next?

 

Regarding Jason4's post - border agents are trained to ask you the same question different ways to see if you screw up. Apparently, this technique backfired on the poor bastid.

 

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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If you can't get across the border at the border there are plenty of bypass trails and boat routes.

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I drove into Canada across a ditch between two parallel roads and came out the same way, but that was before 911. I suspect there may be a camera there now. Ah, what the hey, it's only 10 grand fine + a session of non-consensual fisting if you get caught.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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Ross is patrolled by a ranger in a boat. No permits are required for Ross Lake, however, so routine stops are unnecessary unless there's something fishy about the party. Still, there have been smuggling busts there.

 

Note that it would be quite difficult to launch from Canada without a long, muddy portage until the lake fills up for the start of fishing season - July 1.

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Regarding Jason4's post - border agents are trained to ask you the same question different ways to see if you screw up. Apparently, this technique backfired on the poor bastid.

 

Tvashtarketena, it sounds like you might have some experience with CBP? Some of my customers at my previous job were border agents and were really good guys.

 

I go through the border a lot and am used to the odd questions but this was the first time that the border agent tripped up. She was kind of attractive too but really bitchy.

 

I've been asked how I finished in snowboard contests, why I'm only going for the day when it's such a long drive (2 hours to Squamish!?), what size my snowboard is, whether my friend has snow tires, why I'm bringing an orange back with me, etc.

 

I've had friends get mocked for downhill mountain biking (bomb biking!), turned around for being auto techs and having rachets in their car, others get pulled in all the time. Recently one of my coworkers who has been going to Canada for 20 years for work was turned around at the border for a DUI from 1973. The best guess that we came up with is that they finally digitized the criminal records for 1973 and it's the first time it's popped up on a computer screen since he got in trouble 40 years ago.

 

I just stay out of trouble and know where I'm going, why I'm going, how I know the people in the car, and when I'll be back and I never really have any problems.

 

There's a black helicopter that flies around near my girlfriend's house at night and I always see border agents out on 542 with fun looking toys, snowmobiles, KLR 650s, quads, and Jeeps. I'm sure they're keeping an eye on the less fortified border crossings.

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I've had some interesting border crossings, but I've never been denied entry anywhere, fortunately. My aforementioned human trafficking incident happened because the line at the truck entry was too damn long.

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