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

Crossing the Canada/US border can be a stressful experience and changes to the passport requirements in 2009 added to the anxiety for many. Do you have a story about crossing the border? Forget your passport? Make a stupid joke? Maybe your story could help someone else, or maybe you just want to get it off your chest. Share Your Story

Guards on a power trip

I am a British subject but have been living in Canada for 50 years. I have to use a British passport and I have to also have Canadian Permanent Resident paperwork. I used to travel across to the U.S. all the time but have had so many unpleasant experiences from both sides - I now avoid it. Among my experiences have been sarcastically spoken to by U.S. border agent - when I told him I was going to the U.S. for a holiday (British for vacation) he said, which holiday, fourth of July, Thanksgiving? I have been thumbprinted, eyeball scanned and patted down with latex gloves. I have been detained because I was driving across the border eating grapes as a snack that were not from the U.S. and I was interviewed and the grapes were confiscated. I was held at the border for hours and questioned about my income, money in the bank, etc. while waiting for a judge to say if I was allowed or not - then had to pay $200. I hate being made to feel like a criminal.
—Guest Julie

Canadians border guards aggressive

I agree the border officials in Canada are very mean and intrusive. Do not cross the border and do not give them any work. They will catch on that people no longer wish to cross over to Canada because our borders guards are so aggressive. We have found that crossing over the states the american border guards are much nicer and very professional.
—Guest Olderandwiser

Guns?

Peace Arch crossing. Asked if I had any firearms or other weapons in the car. Truthfully answered no. Then he asked me if I owned any guns. WTH? Asked him to repeat the question. Do you own any guns that you don't have with me. None of your damn business; I'm not bringing any with me. But instead I smiled sweetly and said no. Are they planning on turning 2/3 of American citizens away at the border now? Not very friendly.
—Guest Julie

Ignorant, rude and on a power-trip

I'm an American Citizen. I have traveled to other countries and saw bizarre things. Surprisingly though, I have never experienced ignorance and straight bullying as I did with Canada border patrol. I was detained for more than an hour and asked so many invasive questions. They were convinced I was either running guns or drugs. Speaking of drugs, their border patrol are on something, or at least a case of the power trip
—Guest Fish

Racist

Most racist border crossing I've ever experienced. Since I was 2, they have been harassing brown people. I get harassed and searched every single time I cross and when I'm waiting to be searched there's nothing but other brown people there. Canada is SO RACIST! I've never had a problem coming back to the US.
—Guest Brown

Harassed at the Canadian Border...

We waited 25 minutes before they called us up, when they did they asked us why we were in CA. we told them about the bird sanctuary, a lady officer asked for our phones, I figured I didn't want to not be cooperative & I had nothing to hide. She proceeded to call me up & question me about some messages on my phone. They were nothing bad, just joking around with a friend. the wording even looked like a joke. She asked me over & over if I do drugs, I said flat out no, I never have, and she didn't believe me. I felt violated, embarrassed, harassed! I can't believe they treat you like a criminal even when you did nothing wrong! She kept insisting that I admit to doing drugs like she was trying to coerce a confession out of me. I am a respectable person that does not deserve to be treated like a criminal or a delinquent druggie! They searched through my purse, made us lift our shirts, searched car & even went thru my camera. We barely had any time at the sanctuary by the time they were done.
—Guest scared shitless

Security is all-powerful 1

Border: Detroit Windsor Tunnel, into Canada Date: about 07/2014 Having travelled to Canada before about a decade ago, I was surprised to find the security so... over-the-top. And abusive. From others' experiences, it really does seem like there's an issue with the Canadian-American border security; this is unchecked power, a police state, and it's really terrifying to see, even in just one border area, such unchecked power and tentative embrace of the police state. Americans have a distrust of their gov't since Nixon, and this is a new, still terrifying development. They say they're protecting us from terrorists; who is protecting us from the gov't? It used to be American liberties, I know. Anyway. What happened to me was shocking and unexpected. This stuff isn't in the news as much as the airlines, and really should be. On the weakest of reasons (related to my valid passport, which works everywhere else including international airlines, and in banks, etc) they searched my car (cont)
—Guest hmm

More Aggravation at the Border

My latest crossing into Canada was via the Sweetgrass/Coutts crossing, and I got hit up for secondary screening. Apparently being single and coming up for a short visit was a red flag and I got the third degree from the customs officer; it was apparent he thought he had caught a live fish running drugs, guns, or other contraband. After demanding my smartphone/iPad/Macbook passwords to look for porn, he than drives my car into a closed garage while I sit in the waiting area. After 30 minutes he comes back out and sends on my way but the process had taken nearly 2 hours from the time I got pulled in. The only other time I got a secondary screening was when I drove from Mexico into the USA but it was fairly speedy and I stayed with the car. The process at Coutts was long, aggravating and I felt like was in a detention center with guards barking at other hapless travelers who didn't give the right answer when interrogated. There’s not even a TV or any amenity in the waiting area.
—Guest markbyrn

Sad situation.

Have experienced several unfortunate incidents with Immigration Officer in Ont. Other guards seem very friendly. Maybe I.O. is the "enforcer".
—Guest Minnesotan

Rude Border Guards

I was recently crossing the border to visit family. I was detained for over an hour and then told they made a mistake and I could go. While waiting however, I witnessed a very power-hungry guard. A bus driver (driving a bunch of kids) had been waiting longer than me for them to print a paper. He was standing up in the waiting area near the desk. The border guard told him to sit down in a commanding tone. The man explained that he was just stretching as he'd been sitting all day. The guard repeated his order adding the threat that if he did not sit, he would never get his papers. A common, unnecessary misuse of power in the land of the "free."
—Guest Jenna

Denied 2x

Been to Canada many times, mainly for work, but when visiting past 2 times, over the past few years for tourism, was denied due to a prior DUI they found out about almost 10 years ago. Travel is not suggested through the smaller border checkpoints where the guards are bored. If you have a prior DUI in the States, you need to go thru the ringer on documents/vetting required to get special permission for both temporary or lifetime entry, and even that is not guaranteed and under extreme scrutiny. It could take you up to 6 months just to prepare the documents and possibly another year to get approval. Suggest you hire an attorney to get the process undertaken, one who is certified/vetted by the CBSA. It's truly not an "Open" border as they say and as many of you can see due to your own experiences. If living in the States, please write to your state and federal attorney general in regards to the issue, or even your local Congressman/Senator, but don't expect any immediate results.
—Guest Keystone

Rainbow Bridge Border Crosssing

I had the misfortune of crossing into Canada on June 18, 214. Extremely rude and belligerent behavior by the guard. I didn't mind any of the questions he asked me, but his attitude was absolutely insulting. Anyone watching these idiots?
—Guest Syed Rizvi

Us border rejection

I have been travelling in the states all my life. I am 61. Yesterday my wife and sister-in-law and I tried to enter at Thousand island bridge. I was flagged by officer and directed inside for a random check Three of us went in and I was singled out and asked if i had ever been convicted of a crime. I said yes, 43 years ago when i was 18, for possession of 5$ worth of pot. I got 9 months probation. As I attempted to tell her that I had looked into a pardon, she immediately told me they do not recognize pardons. I then explained that I don't have a pardon because RCMP computers do not even have a record of my conviction. I have been CPIC cleared at least 30 times as I am a Christian minister who visits every prison in eastern Ontario. I asked the customs agent if it had come up on their computer and she said she was not obliged to tell me that. I am pretty certain it was not there, but she had gone fishing and caught one. Now I need a 660$C waver for 1 year. 6-18months to do. ADIOS USA
—rasby

Us border rejection

I have been travelling in the states all my life. I am 61. Yesterday my wife and sister-in-law and I tried to enter at Thousand island bridge. I was flagged by officer and directed inside for a random check Three of us went in and I was singled out and asked if i had ever been convicted of a crime. I said yes, 43 years ago when i was 18, for possession of 5$ worth of pot. I got 9 months probation. As I attempted to tell her that I had looked into a pardon, she immediately told me they do not recognize pardons. I then explained that I don't have a pardon because RCMP computers do not even have a record of my conviction. I have been CPIC cleared at least 30 times as I am a Christian minister who visits every prison in eastern Ontario. I asked the customs agent if it had come up on their computer and she said she was not obliged to tell me that. I am pretty certain it was not there, but she had gone fishing and caught one. Now I need a 660$C waver for 1 year. 6-18months to do. ADIOS USA
—rasby

Password-protect your phones, etc.

Folks: To avoid having your phone contents easily searched you should lock them with a password and do it as a general rule no matter where you are. Think about all that personal info and take it seriously. I think my password saved me a further violation of privacy when they searched my vehicle (see other posting). They'd have to ask for a password and might not feel like it unless they think you're truly dangerous. Also, "Mike" and others who've led flawless lives ought to get reality-checks someday. I hope they get searched by these power-trippers and never get an explanation for why. That alone is irritating. You have no standard search or seizure rights at border crossings now. I'd travel with as little important stuff as possible to minimize aggravation if you do get searched.
—Guest jUSA

Share Your Story

Border Crossing Stories

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

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.