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Crossing the Border: Issues?

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Crossing the Border: Issues?

Old 11-10-16, 12:24 PM
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TDJ1776
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Crossing the Border: Issues?

I am planning a tour across the Michigan/Canadian border next summer. Where we plan on crossing, there's a ferry that carries pedestrians and cyclists across. We're aware of the requirement of an enhanced driver's license, etc.

My question is this: what have your experiences (positive and negative) been? What advice can you give fledgling border crossers, i.e.: what to expect from customs, what NOT to bring, etc.

Any advice is welcome. Thanks in advance
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Old 11-10-16, 12:57 PM
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Any DUI on your record. and I hear they deny admission .. + I think they need a Valid Passport now..

Go to the authorities; Ask the consulate..
http://can-am.gc.ca/detroit/contact-....aspx?lang=eng






'/,

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Old 11-10-16, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Any DUI on your record. and I hear they deny admission .. + I think they need a Valid Passport now..

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.
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Old 11-10-16, 01:04 PM
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With Trump in Power , they may worry you won't leave..
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Old 11-10-16, 01:20 PM
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I just talked to the Ontario travel board, they require one of the following: Passport, Nexus card, or enhanced driver's license.
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Old 11-10-16, 01:22 PM
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Enhanced ? Super Powers? Nexus?
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Old 11-10-16, 01:36 PM
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We have toured in Canada at least once almost every year for the last ten years. Recently, we have used our passports. I'm not sure we have an "enhanced" driver's license option in Oregon. I'd double check, and make sure you have the right documentation, and the most current information.

We have not had any problems. No mace or weapons are allowed. However, if you take dog or bear repellent, you can keep it, if it specifically states dog or bear repellent on the canister. Declare it when you go through customs, and with a few more minutes and inspection by an officer, they will let you keep it.

The only minor issue we had was this summer. We were crossing back into the U.S. from Manitoba at a very small border crossing into North Dakota. They must not get many cyclist or foot traffic through there, because they could not process us through their computer system without a licence plate number. It took about 30 minutes to get it all figured out.

To answer your question; it has always been a positive experience in both directions.
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Old 11-10-16, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
We have toured in Canada at least once almost every year for the last ten years. Recently, we have used our passports. I'm not sure we have an "enhanced" driver's license option in Oregon. I'd double check, and make sure you have the right documentation, and the most current information.

We have not had any problems. No mace or weapons are allowed. However, if you take dog or bear repellent, you can keep it, if it specifically states dog or bear repellent on the canister. Declare it when you go through customs, and with a few more minutes and inspection by an officer, they will let you keep it.

The only minor issue we had was this summer. We were crossing back into the U.S. from Manitoba at a very small border crossing into North Dakota. They must not get many cyclist or foot traffic through there, because they could not process us through their computer system without a licence plate number. It took about 30 minutes to get it all figured out.

To answer your question; it has always been a positive experience in both directions.
I'm starting to wonder if maybe the enhanced driver's license is a Michigan thing? I have one myself, they cost a little more, and they allow quick border crossing.
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Old 11-10-16, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Enhanced ? Super Powers? Nexus?
https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-t...programs/nexus
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Old 11-10-16, 02:34 PM
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When I bicycled from NY into Canada over the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara falls last summer, I knew I would have to bicycle through customs, I had my passport, and figured I would glide right through. A few hundred yards away from the roadside kiosk that I was approaching, signs appeared listing prohibited items. One item mentioned was pepper spray. I keep a small can of pepper spray on a retractable tether on my frame at all times, so when I approached the kiosk window and began speaking to the agent, I mentioned that I had the pepper spray and had seen that it was prohibited. The customs agent freaked out and called for backup. I was then escorted to the main customs building, and they only begrudingly allowed me to lock up my tour-loaded bicycle. Inside, a very angry agent berated me and asked with great incredulity why on earth I would be carrying pepper spray while riding a bicycle. I pointed out that I have been dog-attacked many a time, and that it makes good sense to carry some on a bicycle. She did not buy my true story. They confiscated the pepper spray. I told them I would be bicycling back through within 2 hours after viewing the Canadian side of the falls and I asked if I could pick the pepper spray back up as I crossed out of the country. She said absolutely not and told me that it would be destroyed. I bet if I had tucked it into my top-tube bag instead of disclosing it to the kiosk agent like the good citizen that I am, they would not have checked and would not have detained me. I guess it is understandable with all the whackadoos on the loose in the world these days.
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Old 11-10-16, 02:38 PM
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Crossing into Canada:
- I've always been asked "do you have any weapons" and often, "even bear spray" [1]
- Technically speaking you need to have a "proof of funds" for your travel. This summer crossing into Alaska some small talk on my plans ("cycling across to Banff and then Argentina") and they nodded approvingly when I mentioned my house was rented out
- This summer, noticed and commented on my passport stamp from Sudan [2]

[1] I've never brought bear spray into Canada. This year I did buy bear spray in Canada. Part of the buying process was signing a document indicating that it was a weapon and that I would not use it on people.
[2] Not a Canada issue, but a non-US citizen coming into the US can't use the visa-waiver program if they've been to one of four countries: Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Syria - United States Begins Implementation of Changes to the Visa Waiver Program and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_W...ible_countries

Coming back to the USA:
- Always been easy, typically asked where I live and how long I've been gone.
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Old 11-10-16, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
Crossing into Canada:
- I've always been asked "do you have any weapons" and often, "even bear spray" [1]
- Technically speaking you need to have a "proof of funds" for your travel. This summer crossing into Alaska some small talk on my plans ("cycling across to Banff and then Argentina") and they nodded approvingly when I mentioned my house was rented out
- This summer, noticed and commented on my passport stamp from Sudan [2]

[1] I've never brought bear spray into Canada. This year I did buy bear spray in Canada. Part of the buying process was signing a document indicating that it was a weapon and that I would not use it on people.
[2] Not a Canada issue, but a non-US citizen coming into the US can't use the visa-waiver program if they've been to one of four countries: Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Syria - United States Begins Implementation of Changes to the Visa Waiver Program and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_W...ible_countries

Coming back to the USA:
- Always been easy, typically asked where I live and how long I've been gone.

Forgive my ignorance, but to what does "proof of funds" refer?
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Old 11-10-16, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TDJ1776 View Post
Forgive my ignorance, but to what does "proof of funds" refer?
That you can support yourself while traveling. Was never asked when traveling, but is an issue if you have a student visa, for example.
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Old 11-10-16, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
That you can support yourself while traveling. Was never asked when traveling, but is an issue if you have a student visa, for example.
Thanks!
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Old 11-10-16, 03:19 PM
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If you are an American citizen, I believe a passport is required to re-enter the U.S.


The last time I crossed into Canada (into B.C. at Roosville, MT), the guard, after asking what line of work my partner and I were in, spat out "What's you next day back at work?" Christ. It was the second day of our tour. I wasn't even sure what that day's date was. All I could come up with was "A week from this coming Monday." Fortunately, my partner was good with specific dates. We were also asked if we had any cigarette's, alcohol, weapons or bear spray.


As a whole, I have found the guards more pleasant coming back into the states. Pre-911, two of us arrived at the crossing from Del Bonito, AB into Montana. No one seemed to be around, but we could hear a radio playing somewhere. After maybe 5 min. the guy I was with suggested we simply go right through. I opined that that would probably not be a smart thing to do. After a few more minutes, some young man wearing silver, mirrored shades smoking a cigarette and wiping grease from his hands with a rag walked over to us. He asked us if we were American citizens and how long we had been in Canada. We answered. He replied "Welcome home" and walked away.
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Old 11-10-16, 03:45 PM
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If you are bringing food, you may want to look into what is and what is not allowed. They MAY take away fresh food if they're feeling grumpy. I'm Canadian, but the requirements are otherwise the same whichever way you go; passport/enhanced licence, leave the sweet leaf at home, no weapons, etc. Bring what you need for a successful tour and you should be fine.
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Old 11-10-16, 04:13 PM
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I use my passport, it always works.

I once had unapproved pepper-bear-spray confiscated. I re-bought Canadian-approved bear-spray in Canada.

I once had a Canadian border agent ask what I planning on doing, I replied, "Touring on bicycle". He then asked quizzically, "You're doing this for fun"? When I answered, "Yes", he looked at me in amazement and sent me through.
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Old 11-10-16, 05:01 PM
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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?
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Old 11-10-16, 05:10 PM
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The one time I went to Canada with a friend, I found them unfriendly and rude. I was nice and friendly. At least until they took me inside to be interviewed, yes in the US and Canada. They took us to different rooms and I found out later, they asked roughly the same set of questions. They went through everything in the truck I was driving. Took our wallets and emptied each item out of the wallet, studying them. With rubber gloves, of course.

This went on for a while. Where do you work, etc...

I was also with a third person. The third person that came along was my uncle, who had a HD motorcycle we were transporting. Before we went into Canada, my uncle unloaded the HD off the truck...he was counting states traveled, etc. and wanted the wheels on the ground when he rolled into Canada. He was heading to Alaska on the bike, we followed him to Jasper.

They rolled him right through. Only until a couple years later did I find out why he actually rode across the border instead of just leaving the HD in the truck. Turns out my friend, which was my friend but actually a co-worker of my uncle who knew him better, may have had some harmless items on his person that were items you wouldn't want to cross the border with. They did have us empty all of our pockets. They looked inside everything except the pack of cigarettes my friend had laying on the counter next to his wallet. Good thing they didn't.

I went to a crawfish boil in Louisianna a couple years later with the same guy. Passed a nice Mustang on the interstate. My friend got nervous all the sudden and told me that thing has a cage in it. It was too late, speed limit was 65, I was driving 70. Lights went on and we were on the side of the road. He seperated us and asked a long string of questions. He let us go without a ticket.

We quit traveling together out of state after that!

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Old 11-10-16, 05:59 PM
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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?
A web search suggests this is still good advice. Here is a more official page:
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcen...um=1022&top=16

Last edited by mev; 11-10-16 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 11-10-16, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
As a whole, I have found the guards more pleasant coming back into the states. Pre-911, two of us arrived at the crossing from Del Bonito, AB into Montana...
Pre 9/11 things were fairly easy to get back to the US. I have two bike trip examples:

      I doubt either would go as easily now.
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      Old 11-10-16, 08:09 PM
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      A year and a half ago, we did a ride that took us across the Canadian border near Thunder Bay. I had a passport card (cheaper than a full passport, but good for land or water entry only, not flying). Minimal issues either way. Biggest problem was the mosquitoes while waiting behind one or two cars at the border. They didn't search bike bags or anything like that.
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      Old 11-10-16, 08:20 PM
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      I experienced the "what are you doing with a bike on my roadway" attitude from a US agent at a busy crossing near Niagara, like I was the first bike he'd ever seen though this was on the mapped ACA Northern Tier route. Canadian agents were extremely friendly and helpful. Nothing to declare, no searches.
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      Old 11-10-16, 08:20 PM
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      I you have prescription meds, be sure to bring the bottles. A huge pain if you have a number of meds. I was given a rough time by the US border agent. I was able to finally convince him to let me keep them.

      US border agents always seem to be a lot more difficult than their Canadian counterparts.
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      Old 11-10-16, 08:22 PM
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      Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
      I experienced the "what are you doing with a bike on my roadway" attitude from a US agent at a busy crossing near Niagara, like I was the first bike he'd ever seen though this was on the mapped ACA Northern Tier route. Canadian agents were extremely friendly and helpful. Nothing to declare, no searches.

      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.
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