It’s rather interesting how in most cases, citizens of the United States who attempt to cross the border to visit us here in Canada are often shocked to learn that for some or other reason they cannot enter and are turned away. “What, but Canada is basically just an extension of the USA, isn’t it?” – That’s a question border officials have gotten tired of hearing and are unfortunately going to keep hearing for as long as they work at the border.
While the two countries’ economic standing and generally similar cultures do indeed warrant a special arrangement with regards to cross-border travels, there are some laws which often catch travellers unawares, which I’ll get into just to give you a general idea of what to expect. Of course the greatest advice you could ever follow is that of contacting your local immigration officer for clarity and other information pertaining to specific cross border laws. If you’re not sure, simply pick up the phone and ask.
Crossing the border with marijuana is illegal
I really think more awareness around this is required because marijuana is often a source for so many arrests at the border. Sure, medical marijuana may be legal in the state from whence you come and you may have the legal limit in your possession along with all the requisite paperwork proving that it’s for medicinal use, but you simply cannot cross the border with marijuana. It’s illegal and you’ll get arrested for smuggling drugs internationally!
A lot of people who perhaps seek to pop across the border just to enjoy a short getaway are often turned away as a result of some records of criminal activity, sometimes even if they themselves don’t believe the crime to have been serious. It’s all about how the outstanding charges or the criminal record measure up against the code in the destination country and you see this enforced more on the side of US citizens seeking to enter Canada.
Bona fide travel reasons
If you’re suspected of not having genuine travel reasons and you cannot prove that you do then you’ll likely get turned away, but all’s not lost because what will often happen is that you’re given the chance to retract your application to cross the border and enter the country. This means that you can come back and try to cross again, but this time with the correct paperwork to prove that you’re a bona fide traveller not trying to work illegally or anything like that.
Navigating the US-Canada cross border laws can definitely make for somewhat of a delicate situation, but even though advising Seattle based law firms like Khan Law Firm are located far away from the border, generally it’s all about complying with the local laws of your country and then having them applied to the equivalent laws in the country you’re trying to cross over into. In this case we are indeed talking about the United States and Canada, but more so for those travellers crossing over from the US into neighbouring Canada.