crossing the u.s. canada border ?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by gto3, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. gto3

    gto3 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    109
    Location:
    The skoka
    Hey there ladies and gents

    Myself and a friend are planning a trip this summer to tour the states from canada.
    We've crossed the border many times via automobile but never on bikes.My buddy has a very minor criminal conviction from years ago and he is worried he may get turned back at the border.I'm a little worried about it too.
    I'm sure a lot of you have crossed the border and I was hoping to get some feedback on your experiences.Do customs officials generally give motorcyclists a hard time ?
    Their was a member here that crossed from canada to the states and was sent to secondary inspection,is this a common thing for motorcyclists ?.Some funny stories would be nice too, if you have one please share..

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated
    Thanks in advance
    #1
  2. Cal

    Cal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    967
    Location:
    Calgary
    Its not common to be sent to secondary if you appear normal, take your helmet off and answer all questions with honesty. I have had no trouble crossing from Canada to US but have been sent to secondary twice crossing from Mexico to US. I am an old guy and I feel they pick on younger people more often.
    Now your buddy could have problems if they dig a little deeper, my nephew had a posession conviction 11 years ago and had crossed the border by car and air at least 10 times in the last 10 years no problems, last year on the bike he was sent to secondary and refused entry from the 11 year old conviction.
    He has now applied for a pardon it cost him $500.00 and is good for 1 year!,then has to apply again.
    #2
  3. georgedaman

    georgedaman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    124
    Location:
    Metro Toronto
    I 've been through this myself(minor conviction in 85..i was 18.) I was crossing the borders for 15 years,always stating my convictionand other things to the border officers.
    1 day me and my buddy were going to FL to buy a car.I was stopped and served with the waiver form.
    Took me almost 2 years to get the it.
    In a nutshell, i would suggest to be courteous but firm,and a little bit of "Yes sir,no sir" helps too but more importantly,have a back up plan for him ..or for yourself ,..just incase.
    There is a board at the Lewiston secondary inspection room saying ,there is 48 reason why someone could be denied entry.Even the Queen could have a hard time ..
    #3
  4. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    7,402
    Location:
    West is the Best

    Everything changed after " 9/11". My brother-in-law is a super standup guy, law abiding, never even a speeding ticket. When he was 17, he crossed into the states with a 'roach' in the ashetray of the car he was in. As a result, he must for the rest of his life apply for a pardon sheet, sometimes it lasts 1 month, sometimes 5 yrs, totally depends on the border guard and what mood he's in.

    As for your buddy, he should be aware that this could come up, they 'read' somebody real well if they are nervous, try to tell a non truth, etc. I'd want to tackle this one head on right now and not try to skirt around this, get it documented, out in the air, nothing to hide. It's the only way if a future life involves riding/visiting the USA. The riding is too good to be barred from there IMO.
    #4
  5. ereneT

    ereneT Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    Canada
    I've been to some really nice places in the US. Last year I went through Detroit. After being asked alot of questions, I crossed the border and got lost. Ended up in this really scary area I couldn't help to think what was all those questions for? I'm sure there is some nice areas in Detroit, but this wasn't one of them. Movies don't do it justice.
    #5
  6. swellguy

    swellguy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    170
    Location:
    Victoria & Vancouver BC
    I would have your friend call the US border services to ask the question directly.

    Last year a friend of mine was arrested and jailed on trumped up charges of abuse, uttering threats, etc. during a rather nasty split with his wife. Spent about two weeks in jail until was released on bail. He could have just plead out but insisted on going to trial to clear his name. Found not guilty on all but one charge (uttering a threat) and was given a conditional discharge. If he stayed out of trouble for six months, the entire episode would be expunged and he would have no criminal record.

    Well, he stayed out of trouble and has a clean record. A month or two later he tried to ride across the border but was turned away because the US government had a record of his arrest and incarceration but not the outcome of his trial. Turns out it is his responsibility to make sure the US has a complete and updated information about his case. That can take months but there are waivers that can be prepared fairly quickly and simply here that will satisfy Homeland Security in the meantime.

    Really, just phone them ahead of time and ask the question. These days, it's all part of preplanning.

    ps. some friends from Oregon had planned to ride up last year for a few days but now, of course, they all need passports. Both of them applied but one was denied because there was a complaint lodged with the Oregon courts about him being slow in paying child support. He had cleared the matter up several years earlier and was current but none of this had filtered into the Passport system so he never got one in time.
    #6
  7. Rinty

    Rinty Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    560
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    There is a real risk that your friend may be turned back at the border. I suggest that he consult a lawyer who is an immigration specialist and get some advice.

    One of my clients, who has a conviction for majijuana possession, got turned back on his honeymoon trip, after he had prepaid about $10,000 for his cruise and accomodation. Previously, he had crossed many times without incident.
    #7
  8. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,748
    Location:
    Hiding off Hwy 6, B.C.
    One of my friends was crossing many times a year to visit his parents. That is until they figured out he was a deserter from the Vietnam War. :huh

    Oooops off to military jail he went for a few days until they sorted out the paperwork.:eek1

    Good thing they were all pardoned so they let him go.:clap

    Just last year I was asked if I ever had my prints taken. Yes I said...!:wink:

    Why she said? Then I told her.....Have a nice trip she said!:wink::wink::wink:

    At least you know the risks, wasn't my case the only time we were turned back, my friend hadn't told me about his old conviction.:evil
    #8
  9. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    7,402
    Location:
    West is the Best

    Very good advice.
    #9
  10. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,464
    Location:
    Nelson area, Kootenai, BC, Canada
    There's a similar thread in Triip Planning and from it I gathered that even if you jump through all the hoops beforehand the border guards have so much individual power that all the prep might be for naught. :huh
    #10
  11. toddiscdn

    toddiscdn Take off, EH!

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,047
    Location:
    Blue Point, Ontario
    Could be for sure, as long as something is showing on your record you are likely to get turned back if questioned. From what Ive heard Canadian pardons are not recognized by the US and dont hide your record, so really not worth much but for employment maybe. It would appear this waiver deal should be the way to go.
    #11
  12. skysailor

    skysailor Rat Rider

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,717
    Location:
    Kenora, Canada
    I usually throw them the ADV salute! They love that. Also, be sure your buddy is naked under his chaps, wears his "patch" proudly and has a WWII German helmet with swastikas tattooed all over his body. They just eat that shit up! Leave the passports at home and have a bandoleer and an AK47 dangling from his shoulder! Again, a real crowd pleaser to be sure. Basically, look like Denis Hopper from Easy Rider....but a little scruffier.
    Lyle
    #12
  13. gto3

    gto3 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    109
    Location:
    The skoka
    I was thinking more along the lines of Michael douglas in Falling Down after he cleans out the surplus store,but this works too ...
    #13
  14. gto3

    gto3 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    109
    Location:
    The skoka
    Thanks for all the feedback guys,lots of good advice here,I'll pass it along to my buddy and hopefully things work out:freaky
    #14
  15. moondoggie

    moondoggie AN HOWZER

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    North Atlantic, Bay Of Fundy, NS side
    I cross often on the bike with a Nexus card. My total time at the boarder is about 2 min including time in line because there is never one in the Nexus only line.
    #15
  16. OldPete2112

    OldPete2112 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    216
    Location:
    Southern Vancouver Island
    :rofl

    I think I have seen people like that at the border! Sure makes it easy for me to cross when they divert all the attention to themselves. :lol3

    OP
    #16
  17. Melsea

    Melsea Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    11
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #17
  18. swellguy

    swellguy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    170
    Location:
    Victoria & Vancouver BC
    As do I but you'll never get a Nexus card with a criminal record.
    #18
  19. NaeKid

    NaeKid Ancient member, eh?

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    168
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    I never heard of this Nexus-card before, so, I hit-up Google to try to find out more information. Found lots of sites where you can put in all your information and get the card, but, that kind of worries me as I don't know if some of them might be phishing for details.

    Where should I get a Nexus card from and does it work instead of a passport or does it work with a passport?
    #19
  20. TorontoDude

    TorontoDude Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    bowels of downtown Toronto
    Nexus cards are for people who cross alot.

    you need to go in person for an interview where they will ask you why you are applying.

    there;s only one way to apply for a Nexus card : https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes

    you can do land crossings with a Nexus pass, but if you fly you need both Nexus and a passport. NExus does not work on the Mexican border.
    #20