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Crossing US-Canadian Border (help!)  
User currently offlineQANTASforever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5568 times:

Hi guys,

In a few months I'll be in the US and Canada and I just needed some help on how to traverse something Australians rarely (if ever) come into contact with: an international land border.

I hold an Australian passport, and I'll be going from New York city through Plattsburgh, NY to Montreal. I know Australians get a visa waiver in the US and Canada, but are there any special things I have to do while I'm actually crossing the border? Fees, taxes etc?

Many thanks for your help,

QFF

27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineNeilYYZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5561 times:

I cross at the Detroit-Windsor tunnel twice or three times weekly and have seen people from England cross with just a passport. I doubt that there will be any fees or taxes, just show your passport, state your purpose and I'm almost positive you'll be fine!

User currently offlineJafa39 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5561 times:

Quoting QANTASforever (Thread starter):
are there any special things I have to do while I'm actually crossing the border?

Swear alliegence to Her Majesty the Queen...and eat a frog's leg.  Smile


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29791 posts, RR: 58
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5556 times:

Well, last time I crossed, no guns, no booze, no drugs.

Going into Canada IMHO has always been less of a pain in the arse then getting back into the USA.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineFutureSDPDcop From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1293 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5552 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 3):
Going into Canada IMHO has always been less of a pain in the arse then getting back into the USA.

It's the same way for Mexico.... no problem to get in but coming back to the states, can be a pain in the ass.


User currently offlineAlias1024 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2744 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5543 times:

Are you in the US short term, or are you on a visa of some sort? I knew a foreign exchange student who tried to go to Canada but couldn't. I wasn't that he couldn't enter Canada, it was that his student visa would not allow him to re-enter the US after leaving, and he would have been stuck in Canada. If you are here on holiday it shouldn't be a problem, but if you are here on a visa it could get trickier.


It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
User currently offlineQANTASforever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5538 times:

Quoting Jafa39 (Reply 2):
Swear alliegence to Her Majesty the Queen...and eat a frog's leg.

Hush you.  Wink

The above sounds like your average family breakfast in the Jafa household.

Quoting L-188 (Reply 3):
Going into Canada IMHO has always been less of a pain in the arse then getting back into the USA.

The good thing is I'm flying from Montreal to LA, so I won't have to worry about that.

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 5):
Are you in the US short term, or are you on a visa of some sort?

Short term. Australia qualifies for the US visa waiver program which basically means I just need a passport to enter the US temporarily for business or leisure. It's a similar thing with Canada - I don't need to apply for a visa. I've heard a few stories in the past that border officials on both sides get a little confused and fussy when they encounter a non-US or Canadian passport holder trying to pass the border.

Looks like I'll just need my passport.

Thanks for that guys!!

Oh - btw, I'll have to spend a couple of hours in Plattsburgh, NY (in the November cold - ah!) - anyone been there?

Also - I know it would be getting chilly in NY/DC/Montreal in late November to early December, ballpark - how cold are we talking here? lol

QFF


User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7760 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5526 times:

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 6):
Also - I know it would be getting chilly in NY/DC/Montreal in late November to early December, ballpark - how cold are we talking here? lol

By that time of year water has been known to freeze and fall in crystalline form. They call the stuff snow. Pretty to look at, but it gets old if you live w/ it. That early into winter it can be hit or miss. This last winter is was colder than normal and we got more snow than average in upstate New York, only to have the remainder of the winter be relatively mild and dry. In general late Nov/early Dec is generally pleasant, but cold.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineBasas From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5524 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 3):
Going into Canada IMHO has always been less of a pain in the arse then getting back into the USA.

I've found the exact opposite. The Canadian border guards at the Emerson crossing (I-29/MB Hwy 75) are never friendly and always seem more concerned about collecting a few extra cents of tax than national security.


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29791 posts, RR: 58
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5517 times:

Quoting Basas (Reply 8):
I've found the exact opposite

Maybe it depends on what side of the border you started at.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineTrident3 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 1013 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5512 times:

QFF, check the conditions of the visa waver programme. When we tried to do this (admitedly a few years ago) from Canada to the USA we were turnrd back by USA imigration because the visa waver did not apply to land borders ,only arrival by sea or air on specific carriers.


"We are the warrior race-Tough men in the toughest sport." Brian Noble, Head Coach, Great Britain Rugby League.
User currently offlineLAS757300 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5506 times:

Quoting Basas (Reply 8):
The Canadian border guards at the Emerson crossing (I-29/MB Hwy 75) are never friendly and always seem more concerned about collecting a few extra cents of tax than national security.

 checkmark 

Quoting L-188 (Reply 9):

Maybe it depends on what side of the border you started at.

I've been hasseled by canadian border guards at the Emerson, MB crossing. Re-entering the US at Pembina, North Dakota is usually a breeze.



KMSP
User currently offlineQANTASforever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5499 times:

Quoting Trident3 (Reply 10):
QFF, check the conditions of the visa waver programme. When we tried to do this (admitedly a few years ago) from Canada to the USA we were turnrd back by USA imigration because the visa waver did not apply to land borders ,only arrival by sea or air on specific carriers.

I've been looking into that. I'm only going to be in Canada for three days, and I'll be returning to the US by air. Apparently I should be able to use the single VWP for re-entry into the US, but I'm going to contact the American consulate and perhaps the state department to be sure. The only problem is - the US government doesn't seem to want anyone to call them and ask a question! Very difficult.

QFF


User currently offlineRIXrat From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 786 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 5446 times:

Your trip up from NYC through New York should be very pleasant. It is Interstate all the way, plus you will be going through the Catskills with views of wonderful lakes. Plattsburgh, NY, itself, is nothing to write home about. It was a former SAC base for B52s and escort fighters.

After being transferred from NYC to Montreal a number of years ago, I used to that drive that leg several times a year. On the Canadian-U.S. border, either way I never encountered any problems, whatsoever, except once.

That was the time my two kids were asleep in the back seat and I made it through both borders. About 30 miles into New York state the red lights behind me started flashing and I pulled over. This officer appeared from a green car and told me he was from Immigration (INS at that time) and asked who were the children in the back. Before I had a chance to answer -- the kids had awakened by this time -- he asked them who I was. "That's our daddy," they both chimed in.

The officer calmed down and told me there was an APB out to check cars with so-called unacompanied children who were being smuggled from China via Hong Kong to Canada and later to the U.S. I asked him why stop me 30 miles down the pike, when all of this could have been taken care of at the border. He thought for a moment and then said the smugglers usually transferred their child cargo to another vehicle within 20 miles of the border to make it more difficult for law enforcement agents to track them down. They were testing their tips.

Sorry for my ramble, but once you get on the Canadian side don't exceed the speed limit because the QPP (Quebec Provincial Police) tend to be waiting behind the bushes. U.S. signs are posted in mph, while Canadian signs are posted in km/h and that can cause some confusion which they are just itching for.

Otherwise, have a safe trip and you will enjoy Montreal. Just make sure you point out to them you are Australian. They do get a bit testy if you're Canadian and don't speak French in Montreal. They do speak English, by the way, but pretend not to.


User currently offlineQANTASforever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 5432 times:

RIXrat -

Interesting story. The standards of US and Canadian officials (as perceived by Canadians and Americans) really seems to differ wildly. I shall include a mention of my experiences in a forthcoming trip report. Thanks for that.

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 13):
U.S. signs are posted in mph, while Canadian signs are posted in km/h and that can cause some confusion which they are just itching for.

Methinks I'll fare better in Canada, seeing as I have little comprehension of what constitutes a mile.

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 13):
They do get a bit testy if you're Canadian and don't speak French in Montreal.

I hear they have a very different accent in Montreal. I'm a moderate French speaker, my wife is Monegasque and my kids speak better French than I ever will. Will I be able to understand what these people are saying? I also hear there's quite a bit of slang involved there too.

QFF


User currently offlineRIXrat From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 786 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 5424 times:

Funny you should say that about the Quebec accent in French. The real frogs in France think it is a riot -- something of a drawback to King Louis whatever number court about 200 years ago.

Naw, being an OZ you should get along just fine. It is the people from other Canadian provinces they don't particularly care for. Put on a thick Aussie accent and I believe you'll be home safe, just throw in a "merci" once in a while.


User currently offlineCFCUQ From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 712 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 5424 times:

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 14):
Will I be able to understand what these people are saying?

Somewhat. Quebecois (Canadian French) contains a bunch of bastardized english words, listen closely and it'll translate ok. Imagine listening to Inspector Clouseau.


User currently offlineChugach From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1041 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 5406 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 3):
Going into Canada IMHO has always been less of a pain in the arse then getting back into the USA.

Ditto. My US/Canada border crossings have always been Alaska/Yukon and Washington/British Columbia, but I've never had any trouble with the Canadian guards. US guards, on the other hand.......I've had search dogs go through my car several occasions, and once while crossing from Vancouver into Blaine at the I-5 crossing, I got put into a windowless room for about 30 minutes while a guard went through my truck.



GO ROCKETS
User currently offlineRIXrat From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 786 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 5394 times:

Chugach,

Two years ago I came back to the U.S. on the Blaine I-5 crossing and I noticed a flicker of ultra-violet light as I was parked one car behind the car being examined. Were they taking a photo of the underside of my car, or were they taking a shot of my license plates. I didn't have any trouble getting through.


User currently offlineQANTASforever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5333 times:

Quoting CFCUQ (Reply 16):
Somewhat. Quebecois (Canadian French) contains a bunch of bastardized english words, listen closely and it'll translate ok. Imagine listening to Inspector Clouseau.

Ah, mais oui.

I'll have a look around the net for some audio examples of Quebecois. Thanks!

QFF


User currently offlineChugach From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1041 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5331 times:

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 18):
were they taking a shot of my license plates.

License plates would be my guess. I know every car that crosses the border has its plates cross-checked.



GO ROCKETS
User currently offlineCptkrell From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3220 posts, RR: 12
Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5317 times:

Just crossed last week (Detroit-Windsor-Detroit) via both tunnel and Ambassador Bridge. Things were a bit slow because of terrorist arrests in Canada, but not much of a pain. Advice (and this has been for quite a while) always have passport which will indicate your nationality. Some people in US rely on their driver licenses, but a license only indicates you are authorised to operate a motor vehicle where issued, not that you are a citizen. A voter registration certificate helps as backup, but most don't have a photograph.

Your passport should suffice. BTW, most (if not all) vehicles you can rent, beg, borrow or steal in North America will be dually calibrated in KPH and MPH. Have an enjoyable trip. Regards...jack



all best; jack
User currently offlineLH423 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 6501 posts, RR: 54
Reply 22, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 5293 times:

Quoting CFCUQ (Reply 16):
Somewhat. Quebecois (Canadian French) contains a bunch of bastardized english words, listen closely and it'll translate ok. Imagine listening to Inspector Clouseau.

Nevermind the fact that the French use more adopted English words and phrases than the Québécois.  

Really, the main difference between Quebec French and French from France is the accent and slang words. Once you get used to the accent (if you're used to European French), day-to-day transactions are very easy to do (In the sense that buying a coffee doesn't involve much Québécois slang). The words are the same, just a slight variation of France-French pronounciation.

LH423

[Edited 2006-06-11 05:20:59]


« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
User currently offlineSafeFlyer From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 627 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 5277 times:

To answer your first question, If you are crossing the border on I-87 coming from Plattsburgh, they are no taxes or fees to pay that I know of. Please note that it becomes HWY-15 once you've crossed the border and everything is is French as some already mentionned.

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 13):
Sorry for my ramble, but once you get on the Canadian side don't exceed the speed limit because the QPP (Quebec Provincial Police) tend to be waiting behind the bushes. U.S. signs are posted in mph, while Canadian signs are posted in km/h and that can cause some confusion which they are just itching for.

Just me being picky, there is no such thing as the QPP  Smile . It's named the S.Q which stand for "Sûreté du Québec". A little bit of history here; it was once name the PPQ (Police provinciale Québec) in a period (40s-50s) named the "Grande noirceur" or the "great darkness". Police was violent and oppressive so when PM Duplessis died and the Liberals of Jean Lesage were elected, the PPQ got renamed the S.Q so people would not associate it with the brutality of the 50s. Finally, about the speed limit... really depends on where you are and by how much you are exceeding the speed limit. I've driven to BOS 3 times since December and been to Quebec city and Montreal too many times to count and I've rarely seen anybody pulled over on major highways lately (That is If I've seen a cop period in the 60 km or so after the Vermont/Québec crossing at Highgate Springs). As much as 100 km/h (60 mph) is the posted speed limit, cops tend to tolerate up to 120 km/h. I recently passed one driving to work cutting it close to 130 and I was sure as hell I'd get a ticket but he didn't even blink an eye. Lucky I guess but let's not scare the poor Aussie too much.  Smile Also, when you cross, there's a big sign saying "SIGNALISATION MÉTRIQUE" with 65 MPH crossed over with a X and = 110 km/h.

Finally, I totally stand behind what LH423 said about Québec French being bastardized with English words... The French are worst, take a hotel website for instance: Le room service (we still call it Le service aux chambres here), les news (here, les nouvelles), le service de pressing (that you will find named le service de nettoyage à sec here), notre fitness club (called a "centre de conditionnement physique" here still).

I wish you a great N. A journey and a painless border crossing
Kind regards,

'Safe


User currently offlineMKEdude From South Korea, joined May 2005, 1011 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5231 times:

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 6):
Oh - btw, I'll have to spend a couple of hours in Plattsburgh, NY

The Adirondack range, and the Green mountians to the east in Vermont are some of the most beautiful lpaces in the world. Its a shame you won't be there a month earlier to see the explosion of color that happens there in fall. It's one of those things that is really talked up but doesn't dissapoint once you get there.

However Plattsburgh is kind of a nothing town, on the other side of Lake Champlain is Burlington which is a really cool and funky college town full of cool shops, cafes, and bars centered on a European-style pedestrian street. So run your trip through Vermont if you can. There is a car ferry running between the two cities which is worth taking for the ride alone. Go to http://www.ferries.com/ for more info.

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 6):
Also - I know it would be getting chilly in NY/DC/Montreal in late November to early December, ballpark - how cold are we talking here? lol

Kinda funny to watch the Aussie stress out over cold weather  wink  To answer your question...expect anything. That time of year you could have anything from Indian Summer (sunny and warm) to a massive Nor'easter dumping insane amounts of snow. It really is a crap shoot.



"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline." Frank Zappa
25 BHMBAGLOCK : Booze is OK within limits. Coming into the US I make a practice of busting the limits by a wide margin. I declare every bit of it and ask for the bil
26 QANTAS077 : when we crossed from Vancouver to Seattle we had to pay a $6 fee, bare that in mind if your returning to the USA...must be paid in USD also.
27 QANTASFOREVER : *gulp* Great. US$6!!!!! That's highway robbery!! QFF
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