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Crossing the Border: Issues?

Old 11-10-16, 08:29 PM
  #26  
andrewclaus
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
The Rainbow Bridge? I did not have an issue there at all with my bicycle. The US agents were very freindly though I have had my issues crossing there in my car.
No, the bridge north of the Falls, I think it was Queenston?
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Old 11-10-16, 09:04 PM
  #27  
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Is US health insurance good in Canada?
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Old 11-10-16, 09:31 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by jonc123 View Post
Is US health insurance good in Canada?

You would need to check with your insurance companies. Not all companies will pay. You also should see if they pay for air ambulance in the event you want to recover at home in the event of an accident or major illness.
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Old 11-10-16, 09:32 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by jonc123 View Post
Is US health insurance good in Canada?

Check your insurance company.

My insurance provides out of country coverage. I have to pay for the service, and my insurer reimburses me after turning in the required paperwork.

I needed followup work 6 weeks after retina repair work by my doctor in the U.S. We planned on a 3 month tour through Europe, and my doctor set up an appointment with an ophthalmologist in Paris. We set the appointment up for the same week as the finish of the TDF

I was checked by the doctor in Paris and sent to the Rothschild Institute, a world renowned eye care center, in Paris for the work. It was much cheaper getting the work done in France than in the U.S. However, it did cost me an extra $25 for a bouquet of flowers to the doctor's receptionist who did some hard work getting me scheduled quickly at the Institute. A few days down time in Paris to recup (oh shucks), and we were on the road again. Thanks to all the help, both in the U.S. and in Paris, I was able to finish out the 3 months with only a small scar on my retina. The upside was a ringside seat for the finish of the 2011 TDF.

Last edited by Doug64; 11-10-16 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 11-11-16, 12:57 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by TDJ1776 View Post
Forgive my ignorance, but to what does "proof of funds" refer?
Bank statement proving you've got enough funds to support yourself.
Some indication that you are currently employed and have a job to return to.

And also ... and itinerary that proves you're leaving Canada.
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Old 11-11-16, 12:58 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by jonc123 View Post
Is US health insurance good in Canada?
No.

But the extra travel insurance you buy might be. You'll have to check.
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Old 11-11-16, 12:59 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
I don't know if it still holds true but several years ago when my 14 year old son and I crossed over into Canada, they required a letter signed by his mother that it was OK for me to take him across without her being present. Fortunately we had heard of this beforehand and were prepared and so we were able to ride across. Coming back into the states it was not a concern. Is this still policy?
Yes.

If you are travelling with children you do need a letter from the other parent. Unless both parents are present.
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Old 11-11-16, 01:02 AM
  #33  
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Note that all these things are common everyday requirements when you go into any other country.

No weapons.
No criminal offenses.
A pile of paperwork to prove you can support yourself and that you're not going to stay.
Paperwork to prove you're not making off with the minor with you.
Travel insurance.
Etc. etc.

http://www.bikeforums.net/touring/16...g-country.html
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Old 11-11-16, 04:32 AM
  #34  
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It is getting a lot worse. I have had two false arrest situations, and as far as being respectable I'm private school background, white, employed at the time in top 5% earning bracket, very well spoken, polite, etc... (One case was a guess by a border guard based on false information he had read, the other was mistaken identity. They were quite a while ago, and turned out OK, but the second was a few K to sort out.) Of course none of that should matter and it doesn't much any more. Border folks and law enforcement are more neutral all the time, so no special treatment can be counted on. I mention this only because if you have been around a long time, you might be used to special treatment. The best bet are the nexus type cards, those people get security checked in advance, and breeze on through.

A recent case that hit a guy from Canada was that he was stupidly crossing with a copy of high times magazine in the vehicle, but otherwise nothing to draw attention. He was asked had he ever smoked MJ, which is illegal in Canada (at the time, it is probably changing), he said he had. They said it was a crime therefor he was not eligible to enter, he got listed and can't go to the US without special permits that cost 1800 dollars. And they can be refused for any reason and you don't get your money back. This stuff is like police stops, they want to find fault, and if they do you can get banned, getting un-banned costs 10s of K to fight it.

A VERY IMPORTANT principle is that when you cross the border, you have violated if you broke the country in question's laws. In the past, you could sorta use the border guards as free legal rep: You don't allow apples? OK I will eat them here; pepper spray? OK you can take it; Bought an Iraqi carpet that you are driving across a few US states into Canada again, in violation of an embargo; These are all crimes, you don't get to sort them out with the guards. So we all get that with 5kg of coke, we don't expect to be able to just drop it in the garbage if we get caught. But apparently some people in this tread think that if they bring illegal weapons into the country which is possibly and indictable offense (felony) they should have them returned when they leave. I get the common sense aspect of that, but that will really ruin your day. Key point is that the border does not start at the guard station it starts, say in the middle of the Niagara River brideges. By the time you pull up you have broken any laws relating to the border, you now have to hope they just don't find out.

Now some people say with the high times type inquiry they would lie, but if they get on you in any way, like testing, or you actually have a prior, your lie will really make your situation a lot worse. One lawyer who chimed in about the MJ case said you don't have to answer. If you don't answer you will probably eventually get released, but I sure don't want to try it. In the case of weapons (look up your knives, I use a straight razor and those are on the TSA list, I use disposable blade ones so without the blade in it, it is nothing), carpets, etc... you have broken the law and lying won't even cover for you.

Basically I still use the border, but I regard it as a major threat, I have to have a good reason, and I am not sure what that would be these days.

Last edited by MassiveD; 11-11-16 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 11-11-16, 07:54 AM
  #35  
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I've traveled from the U.S. to Canada and back about 20 times. Last time was 2 months ago by ferry from Washington to British Columbia, with a friend and with our bikes. The one thing which was new this time was passport control by a Canadian agent when we were leaving Canada, not just when entering.

I've visited over 3 dozen countries including 2 communist countries (both on my bike). The only times I've ever been hassled crossing a border were 2 separate times going from the U.S. to Canada in a motor vehicle. The first time was many years ago. The 2nd time was just a few years ago going from Maine to New Brunswick. I ran into the Canadian border agent from hell. He interrogated me for an hour with increasingly ridiculous questions. He searched unsuccessfully for something incriminating on my laptop, in my camera, and in the car. He yelled at me a few times, which is against regulations. After an hour, he handed back my passport and said to me, "Well, you don't have a police record and you have money, so I'm letting you in, but I think you're lying." I hadn't lied to him about anything because I had no reason to lie.

I later went online and found a bunch of websites where hundreds of Americans and Canadians described the indignities they had suffered at the hands of abusive American and Canadian border agents when trying to enter their neighboring country. I've long held the belief that for the vast majority of human beings, when they are put in a position of authority, they will abuse it.

I've never had the slightest problem returning to the U.S. from Canada or any other country. Many years ago pre-9/11, some friends and I were crossing from Quebec to Vermont on our bikes. We couldn't find anyone working at the U.S. border post.
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Old 11-11-16, 08:08 AM
  #36  
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Border crossings sure have changed a lot since my youth. We used to go to Toronto from time to time for rock concerts at Maple Lead Gardens. Old car full of long haired teens in the 70s you could almost assume something illegal was being carried. Especially given the destination. But the Canadian guards would just ask if everyone was a US citizen and then they'd say 'enjoy the show.' And the guards on the way back would just say welcome home. Often only the driver would even show ID.
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Old 11-11-16, 09:47 AM
  #37  
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I had a hilarious conversation recently with someone who had a summer job decades before 9/11 at a border post in Canada. He gave me an example of a conversation he had with a clueless tourist:

Border Agent (BA): What is your nationality?
Tourist: I'm from Toledo
BA: And what state is that in?
Tourist: Ohio
BA: And what country is that in?
Tourist: the US
BA: So you're American?
Tourist: Yup
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Old 11-11-16, 09:49 AM
  #38  
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I had a very interesting crossing into the U.S. via the "Bridge Bus" in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. I was on my way to Duluth by bus with my bike in a box. The Bridge Bus was the most convenient way to complete the bus transfer necessitated by a start in Kingston, ON and using a Canadian bus line to get me to S.S.M., ON with time to transfer to a U.S. bus line that would get me to Duluth. It would have gone seamlessly I suspect but someone earlier had taken the bus and then been refused entry to Canada. He was on the bus with me when we arrived at U.S. customs and since they felt it necessary to detain him for questioning they made me get off as well (guilt by temporary, ten minute association I guess). They kept us waiting on a bench until the bus came through on its last pass of the day and then released us. I returned about six days later by bike and had no problems getting across the border. I use a passport card and have never had any issues with it and take almost yearly bike rides through Canada, both Quebec and Ontario.
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Old 11-11-16, 11:17 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by TDJ1776 View Post
No, no DUI for any of the group. Passport is only required for traveling by air across a shared border...all that's required (per the MDOT website) is an enhanced DL.
To get back into the USA you need a passport - or the new-fangled NEXUS card (I think). I did a google search for:"us citizens returning to us from canada" and got this link ...

https://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/cross-us-borders

The following link has more info as well as a link to the Canadian (government) Border Control Service

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citize...-mexico-travel

Oh, leave your handgun behind.

Last edited by tmac100; 11-11-16 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 11-11-16, 11:43 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
I've traveled from the U.S. to Canada and back about 20 times. Last time was 2 months ago by ferry from Washington to British Columbia, with a friend and with our bikes. The one thing which was new this time was passport control by a Canadian agent when we were leaving Canada, not just when entering.

I've visited over 3 dozen countries including 2 communist countries (both on my bike). The only times I've ever been hassled crossing a border were 2 separate times going from the U.S. to Canada in a motor vehicle. The first time was many years ago. The 2nd time was just a few years ago going from Maine to New Brunswick. I ran into the Canadian border agent from hell. He interrogated me for an hour with increasingly ridiculous questions. He searched unsuccessfully for something incriminating on my laptop, in my camera, and in the car. He yelled at me a few times, which is against regulations. After an hour, he handed back my passport and said to me, "Well, you don't have a police record and you have money, so I'm letting you in, but I think you're lying." I hadn't lied to him about anything because I had no reason to lie.

I later went online and found a bunch of websites where hundreds of Americans and Canadians described the indignities they had suffered at the hands of abusive American and Canadian border agents when trying to enter their neighboring country. I've long held the belief that for the vast majority of human beings, when they are put in a position of authority, they will abuse it.

I've never had the slightest problem returning to the U.S. from Canada or any other country. Many years ago pre-9/11, some friends and I were crossing from Quebec to Vermont on our bikes. We couldn't find anyone working at the U.S. border post.
Yes, border control types are only human beings and they can sometimes be obnoxious in their persistent questioning. I have had several run-ins at the North Dakota entry with US border control agents - all men. However when my preliminary (and sometimes secondary) inspections were over I thanked them for their professionalism - regardless of what I thought of their questioning.

I honestly answer all questions and several times have had to call for the Canadian Superintendent to clarify what is going on when the Canadian Customs fellow starts getting "concerned". As a Canadian I have right of abode in Canada and one time I took a VERY dim view of the Canada Customs fellow saying that I could not come into Canada. The Superintendent intervened and while further "inspection" took an hour, I did get home and I complained "officially" in writing with the details (and badge numbers). Never had that issue ever again (entering Canada) in spite of crossing many times after that.
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Old 11-11-16, 11:43 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post
to get back into the usa you need a passport - or the new-fangled nexus card (i think). I did a google search for:"us citizens returning to us from canada" and got this link ...

https://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/cross-us-borders

the following link has more info as well as a link to the canadian (government) border control service

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citize...-mexico-travel

oh, leave your handgun behind.

edl.jpg

So, evidently this isn't a Michigan only thing, as some research has turned up EDLs in many states. Also, since by Michigan DOT law, cyclists are recognized as motorists, this is one of three possible documents necessary to go back and forth across shared borders (as verified by a phone call to the Ontario travel ministry).

An EDL and proof of funds are all you need. Plus, we're crossing on a ferry in a soft border...I'm pretty sure as long as we don't have firearms, pepper spray, MJ, or produce, we should be all good.
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Old 11-11-16, 11:56 AM
  #42  
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Thanks for the Michgan EDL info. I looked at their application form and while the $45 cost is possibly much less than for a US Passport, the documents are extensive (SSN and proof of US citizenship, and Michigan rsidency). Plus a photo ID like a DL...

Here is the actual application check off...
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/so...8_275188_7.pdf
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Old 11-11-16, 12:01 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post
Thanks for the Michgan EDL info. I looked at their application form and while the $45 cost is possibly much less than for a US Passport, the documents are extensive (SSN and proof of US citizenship, and Michigan rsidency). Plus a photo ID like a DL...

Here is the actual application check off...
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/so...8_275188_7.pdf
It seems harder to get on the website than when you actually go to SOS (or DMV), but as long as you have one of the proper documents they require, acutally getting one takes about as long as a normal license...ironically, the lady at the counter got pissed at me because I had TOO much information...go figure.
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Old 11-11-16, 12:04 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post

Basically I still use the border, but I regard it as a major threat, I have to have a good reason, and I am not sure what that would be these days.
Just curious, why do you describe it as a major threat?

I have probably crossed the Canadian/US border 30-40 times since 9/11 without a significant issue. I was taken aside once for a few questions when I was going up to Vancouver Island to do some work (a week), but it was straightened out very quickly.

My wife and I crossed the border 4 times this summer without a real problem. We had canisters of Halt II, a pepper based dog repellent, with us and declared it. After examination by a Canadian border officer, who was also a cyclist, the canisters were returned to us. It took 5 extra minutes—not a big deal.
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Old 11-11-16, 03:56 PM
  #45  
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I used a passport card at the Montana border to Canada, no problem. I can't comment on the drivers license. I might have had to wait for two or three minutes for a car in front of me to go through first coming back from Canada, there was nobody in line in front of me going into Canada.

I took a photo of my bike with the border in the background on the USA side, the guards really chewed me out for taking a photo of a high security area, I thought I was going to lose my camera, but was allowed to keep it and the memory card. They acted like I was trying to steal nuclear secrets or something. On the return from Canada, they did not mind my taking a photo at all.

Alcohol in Canada can be pretty expensive, if you plan to drink across the border, bring it with you. But make sure you are under the allowed limit, which varies by country.

Leave your guns at home.

Pepper spray is considered a weapon in Canada. I have read comments on the internet that bear spray may be allowed whereas pepper spray was not, it was a labeling issue, I decided not to bring any with me so I can't confirm anything on that.

Regarding the DUI reference above, they do not let felons enter. If you did something in USA that is not a felony here but in Canada is a felony, you would be considered a felon as far as entry is concerned.

Leave your illicit drugs at home, even if only illicit on one side of the border.

I always carry any prescription meds in containers from the pharmacist with the label on it.
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Old 11-11-16, 05:27 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I took a photo of my bike with the border in the background on the USA side, the guards really chewed me out for taking a photo of a high security area, I thought I was going to lose my camera, but was allowed to keep it and the memory card. They acted like I was trying to steal nuclear secrets or something. On the return from Canada, they did not mind my taking a photo at all.
Our group also experienced concerns by the guards about photos at the border station when returning to the US at the Waterton/Glacier parks boundary. They explained that they needed to make sure that the computer screen in the guard's booth couldn't be seen in the photos. We repositioned ourselves so our group photo was taken in another direction and all was well.
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Old 11-11-16, 05:54 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post

I took a photo of my bike with the border in the background on the USA side, the guards really chewed me out for taking a photo of a high security area, I thought I was going to lose my camera, but was allowed to keep it and the memory card. They acted like I was trying to steal nuclear secrets or something. On the return from Canada, they did not mind my taking a photo at all.
I had a similar problem crossing the border from Italy into Switzerland in the Cento Valli. But in my case they were military, all armed with automatic weapons. Apparently there was a military base there and photo were prohibited. They were actually very nice. Checked my camera and ended up letting me keep the pics. Thank goodness for digital cameras!
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Old 11-11-16, 07:18 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I used a passport card at the Montana border to Canada, no problem.
Were you following the ACA Norther Tier on that occasion BAC?

I'm likely to be following that section next summer. I expect since it's an established route the customs officers in both countries are pretty used to seeing cyclists at their stations.
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Old 11-11-16, 07:49 PM
  #49  
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Oh, BTW, this is a new thing.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

"New entry requirement now in effect: visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for an eTA."
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Old 11-12-16, 07:53 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
Were you following the ACA Norther Tier on that occasion BAC?

I'm likely to be following that section next summer. I expect since it's an established route the customs officers in both countries are pretty used to seeing cyclists at their stations.
No, the ACA Glacier Waterton Loop. There were 16 of us in the group, but we were spread out and did not cross as a group.
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