1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Readers Respond: Border Crossing Stories

Responses: 80

By

I should have read these stories first!

I hadn't been to Canada in decades and only recently got my passport. Crossing into Canada at Douglas near Blaine only took a few minutes, though I got stern questions about guns. But the return crossing in Oroville WA shook me up. I answered basic questions about travel and work, then found myself suddenly forced to forfeit keys & wallet while they searched my vehicle and man-handled my bags and cargo; the most annoying part. They don't care about the time and effort you put into your gear, or keeping it clean. I wasn't allowed to use the bathroom either. They found nothing since I'm not a druggie or criminal, and let me go with weak apologies from one agent. It seemed like a complete waste of time on my end. They may have found me "shady" for being a lone male somewhat scruffy from hiking, with only Canadian sightseeing in mind. Do they assume people must have a "serious" purpose for all trips? If it helps, I may call in advance and ask whether I'll be flagged if I cross again.
—Guest jUSA

CBSA are Bullies

Due to some complications, a friend of mine that was coming to visit me from Poland, is being deported. While I disagree with the reasons, I understand them. My issue is how it was handled. While I understand searching a persons bags, phone, and other belongings are technically legal (even with no grounds), I am appalled by how she was treated. The men dealing with her laughed at her situation, repeatedly made jokes about her situation, kept telling her that the friend she was visiting (myself) probably didn't exist and she was lying about her reasons for coming to Canada stating "Is it a real friend or maybe an imaginary one?" and then began laughing at her. He continually shared private information with the others around him and repeatedly sought to embarrass and degrade her. While I understand that it's mine, and her, word against theirs, but this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and disgusting for those dealing with travellers.
—Guest Embarrassed Canadian

Rude, Arrogant & Abusive CBSA guys.

Canadians are suppossed to be nice , decent & polite people. Guess what the CBSA guys are just the opposite of that. They will abuse you , humiliate you, disrespect you and bully you at every opportunity they get. Nothing but people going on a power trip. They get a perverse & sadistic pleasure in doing that. All the Americans who are complaining about being treated badly by them , don't worry..if its of any consalation to you , we Canadian citizens who come back are treated even WORSE by these CBSA guys ! So you are not the only ones who dread visiting Camada, we dread just coming back to our own country. Not being sexist, but I find the female CBSA guards to be much worse than their male counterparts for some reason.
—Guest TJ

Never date across the border

I met the man of my dreams and we dated for almost 7 years with some issues with the border. At first they only had to call me to verify he was coming to visit me and we were fine with that. But when they found out he was a bounty hunter and has his badge in his trunk they gave him a hassle ever since. In the USA he is supposed to keep it on him incase they need him even though he is "semi-retired" from that and has been working as a mechanic. They didn't care and accused him of trying to bring a bounty across without the proper papers. He kept visiting me but they eventually gave him such a hard time we had to just end the relationship. They even threatened him once with jail. Yet they had nothing on him. They asked for a police report which he already had to become a bounty hunter and has been proven by the FBI to be clean .. yet the border would NOT let him across without a new one. The border at Windsor is HORRIBLE and we will never cross again... None of my family does now.
—WindsorGirl

No bad experience - so far

I never had any bad experience. I am Canadian but was born in another country. But I have to say that on average the US border officers are more professional, intelligent and polite than their Canadian colleagues. You need to expect to be questioned, sometimes a bit offensively. That's how they are trained to screen the people. If you show signs of hesitation they will question you more thoroughly and that's where the personality of both officer and the traveler is tested. Both abuse of power and resistance to it are natural things and when they clash - guess who usually wins ;) Also, being too nice may be interpreted as sign of hiding something, that's why really nice people sometimes get into troubles. I would suggest to have the attitude similar to the job interview - professional, but with dignity and knowledge of your background.
—Guest Nikolai

Uhuh

@Mike, the guy saying "Oh, the border crossing people are just doing their job". Yes, TO A POINT. But at the same time there's ways of doing such a job that doesn't involve being being on a power trip either. I used to cross the border a lot pre 9/11, like another poster I had a girlfriend and then fiancee up there. The pre 9/11 enviroment was a lot different, there wasn't a "guilty until proven innocent' attitude with either the Canadian or the USA border guards. One guy on the USA side did like to search every time I crossed if he was on duty, but even then he was very civil and I never felt like he was being intentionally evasive or like he was on a power trip. As for "Oh, well I'm safe"...no, you have this illusion of being safe due to overly zealous TSA agents and border guards. Believe me, you're not any more safe then you were pre 9/11 Mike.
—Guest LOLatMike

Violated

I was on my way back to the U.S from Windsor and I was told that my car was going to be searched, which wasn't that big of a deal. So about 15 minutes go by and they clear me. I have a clear record and I come back to my car to find that my phone was unlocked and my photos were open on the screen. I don't know whether that's legal or should be reported. There was no reason for them to search my pictures of all things. I feel violated.
—Guest Chris

denied entry

I was denied a tourist entry into Canada at the peace arch(BC) again. I am a contract musician and also do fine finishes on yachts. I have proof I can support myself while in Canada, have contacts and places to stay. I have a girlfriend in Canada and because of this last bit, the border person(s) denied my entry. The reason being I don't have enough ties to prove I would not remain in Canada beyond the time I was given to visit. This is profoundly distressing. What's worse is I am not the only one. Those of us Americans who love a Canadian are being singled out and not only denied access to canada but to the individuals they love. There is no crueler form of torture. We only have a small amount of time on this planet. Today I am crushed.
—Guest dean hedges

Mike

All the complaints in the world about border crossings and such are stupid. The US and Canadian and Mexican border patrols are doing their job. So far I am still able to shop, eat fast food, ride any bus or plane I want to and not get blown up! Great Job Guys! Keep it up and also...kudos to hassling any and all who have bad attitudes! They suck and have no clue to what keeps their asses safe as they party and entertain themselves in this great land. Thank You to all you TSA and Border guards! It sucks to be one...but I just wanted to let you all know Thank You
—Guest Mike

Stupid US border guards

I was in Detroit on business from CA and had weekend stayover. Thought I would go into Windsor, stay over for a night, go to Casino and see around. I am alone - male 30s. Going into Canada was easy. No issues except standard questions. Coming back to US is a different story. Bitch, I am carrying the US passport and entering my country. Why do you treat us like cons ? I hand her my US passport and she again asks what country citizenship...hello ? do u know what passport means ? Then she asks what I am doing in Michigan, I explain her. She then asks for car rental contract. I hand her the one from Detroit airport. She then asks how long I was in Canada, what I did etc. I am a US citizen entering my own country. (What) do u care what I did when I was outside ? She still doesn't believe me I am on business. Asks for my business card. I say it's in my bag in trunk. She says hand me car keys. She goes back into trunk and searches bags. Finally convinced and lets me go.
—Guest Ram

Weekend trip 2012

Decided to go alone on a trip to Alberta and have a good time while keeping costs to a minimum. This was my first time visiting Canada and it was a pleasant experience while in the country but the border crossing either way was difficult for me. Me being a lone young male crossing the border for sightseeing, I can see where they become suspicious. I had a feeling they would be. The Canadian border patrol initially refused me into the country because I did not have enough cash on my person, I had $200 and the officer told me that wasn't enough to support myself for 2 days in Canada. I told him I had credit cards, but he said there was no way I could prove they weren't maxed out. I had to go back to the US and take cash advances on my credit cards to attain entry into Canada. On my return to the US, the US officials weren't happy with the extra cash I was carrying around... long story short, I had to wait an hour for them to search my car. Bring lots of money if you visit Canada!!!
—Guest Matt

Sumas Border crossing lady

The border patrol lady is not good. Two seperate trips in a row, months apart, i get the same lady and she always comes out of her booth, looks at my Oregon license plate and says "is that a real license plate?" Are you serious lady? do your research. For that she sent me in to get searched, on both trips. The first trip they dug around in my car, made a mess, and left our clothes in a messed up pile not shutting the trunk and leaving my doors wide open. On the second trip i asked why she always sends me in for searching, and she says "cuz i can." She needs to find a different job, one that doesn't involve working with ppl, cuz she's like an animal.
—Guest Alex

2012 :Very nice experience

My wife and I just returned from Syracuse NY after some shopping. We crossed the border in Ogdensburg. I am so used to the questions asked by customs officers after travelling the world. Over here we were asked where I work and what profession my wife who was seated next to me was. We answered. He asked if the goods being picked up from the UPS store was for personal use or for sale. Pretty straight forward questions and we were on our way in less than a minute after paying$ 2.75 toll. On the return I declared the clothes we picked up from Macy's and were charged $26. The lady at the customs dept. desk politely answered my question as I wanted to know what the limits of dutiable purchases are ( minimum 48 hours allowance of $400/person)
—Guest Srini

Canada Border Service Agency

I crossed the Border Many times I was always treated good on the American side. on the other hand the CBSA should change its name ti the Canadian Border Harrabment agency, I was delayed an hour and a half Questioning for no aparent reason, The lady on the alder grove crossing needs some TLC at home , she had the Ugliest manners that no human being should ever be treated. I can honestly say I hate Canada after that day encounter with her at the border, if she ever reads this I just want to ask her what is your problem? If no one loves you its obvious why. get a grip you don't own Canada, you are not a native Canadian you or your parents immigrated there just like the rest of us. the CBSA should be ashamed of someone like you represintin Canada at the point of entery. USA rocks you guys are professionals.
—Guest Brad

Females attitudes towards men

We were coming back to Canada after a trip to NYC, when we were stopped at the border and search at 1 a.m. it was 0 degrees out and they made us wait outside without our coats. we were treated poorly and given no chance to explain given that my parents understood no english, she just kept blasting us with questions and treated us badly. Of course it was only natural to give us time to translate the situation to our parents but no, that was no allowed. We were violated of our dignity and human rights. Doesn't Canada do a screening test to see whether the officers performing the job are elligible? and not some controlling female that probably spent her childhood unloved and is taking it out on non-white people. Jim Flaherty's plan to boost buying over the border had ulterior motive, over 5 other people were searched while we were detained and in total, paid more than $2k all together.
—Guest Jay

Share Your Story

Border Crossing Stories

Receive a one-time notification when your response is published.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.