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Old 08-20-2014, 06:18 PM   #1
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Motorhome crossing border to Canada

Hi, I have a 40 ft Monaco and we are planning a trip to Montana and then planned to cross the border and head to the Canadian Rockies and Banff. I heard some horror stories about border crossing. I know you can't travel in Canada with guns, so we are leaving them at home. But I was told they bring in dogs and smell for gun powder even if you tell them you have had them previously in the motorhome but not now. This story told how they tore apart the motorhome and pulled everything out from under the bed and took 2 hours after they let them in to Canada to put everything back together. Has anyone experienced this or have any advise?
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Old 08-20-2014, 06:28 PM   #2
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I've been across the border 4 times with two trips to Alaska and back.

Look the border agent directly in the eyes and maintain eye contact throughout the entire questioning. Be truthful and honest. Remove your sun glasses if you have them on.

ONLY answer the questions asked and nothing more.

Only once I had to pull over at the crossing on the I-15 going into Canada where they had me line up with the commercial trucks to X-Ray scan my coach and trailer.

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Old 08-20-2014, 06:41 PM   #3
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You will always hear the horror stories. I hear them all the time about crossing into the USA, but in seven years of snowbirding I've never had an issue. Tell the truth when asked questions , if you have a gun safe in your RV , leave it open. Have your passport ready take your sunglasses off, turn off the coach , warn about setting the air brake ( this signifies to the guard you want to hear and be heard, and your there for as long as it takes).
As with crossing into the USA for a Canadian , the border guard is the authority, and his attitude can be good or bad on any given day.
Good luck and safe travels.
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Old 08-20-2014, 06:48 PM   #4
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Canada Customs is no better or worse than US customs. Both can make your life miserable if they want but for the most part they conduct themselves with professionalism. The last thing they really want is to give people a hard time for the sheer pleasure of it.

Thousands pass back and forth between the two countries every day and how many horror stories do you really hear (ie, something that wasn't the friend of a friend who had a cousin sort of thing?) Yes, leave the guns and ammo at home. Would say the same for any else which is illegal in the destination country but as far as the US and Canada are concerned there is a lot of similarity there. Handguns being the main exception in this case.

Just be clear on where you are going, how long are you staying if they ask. Answer any questions they may have honestly and directly and you should have no problems. Even if you do make an honest mistake on something, as long as it is an honest mistake ITO, they will often let you withdraw your application to enter Canada on the spot if it is a serious problem (ie, you forgot the Smith and Wesson in the glove box) or if it some kind of food issue, they will often just confiscate it and you will be on your way. Probably spend more time in the line up to get to the border than you will talking to them.

If you have a criminal record, be sure that won't affect you by getting in touch with Customs before hand. A CR can disqualify you from entering the country even if the sentence has been served.

This particular topic comes up more than it should. Compared to the kinds of issues that you can get crossing borders in other parts of the world, the US/Can border is a piece of cake provided you are on the up and up. This is the longest undefended border in the world. There is a reason for that, we get along and generally respect each others countries. So long as that continues, there is no reason to be overly worried about customs.
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Old 08-20-2014, 07:22 PM   #5
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I have been across the border a number of times now between Washington and British Columbia without any problems. The first time tried crossing I had to park the motorhome and go inside to talk to the Canadian Customs agent. Turns out my motorhome license plate was flagged because the previous owner tried to sneak a gun into Canada. I explained I never had any previous incidents and it was the previous owner, not me with the gun. Luckily the previous owner told me about the gun and why they threw him out of BC. The agent recommended I get my license plate changed to avoid the problem in the future. They didn't bother going through my motorhome and I was on my way shortly afterwards.
Follow the recomendations above and you shouldn't have any problems. Also make sure you get a new license plate for your motorhome so any previous violations to show against you.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:09 PM   #6
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Everything you need to know right here,
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:20 PM   #7
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As above. Canadians want you to come to visit Canada. Unless you are trying to do something illegal or are undesireable with a criminal record. Have your passports out and open to the pictures. The DW has them and hands them to me after we stop. They are ready for the agent when he asks for them.

Get your story straight. How long are going to be in Canada, where are you going and when will you be returning. Do you have more than 10,000 cash? Lots of alcohol? Gifts you are leaving in Canada.

Do not bring recreational drugs into Canada. Even if you have a user permit it is not valid in Canada. If you have been smoking up the last of your drugs a couple days before you cross tell them if they ask. The dogs can smell it. It is not illegal to use prior to coming into Canada but it is illegal to be high.

Any or all of these questions can and may be asked when you are having your interview for entry into Canada. Handle it like you would a job interview and you really would like the job.

See you in Canada.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:22 PM   #8
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We have crossed the border back and forth on 3 separate trips in the last year, and no problems whatsoever.

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Old 08-20-2014, 08:39 PM   #9
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Have never had any problems. they are stern crossing into "their" country and it's ok with me.. A few short years back we were returning into Montana from Canadian Rockies trip on our Honda Goldwing which has a Viet Nam Vet license plate on the back.. I got a hand salute and a welcome home crossing back into the US.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:40 PM   #10
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I spent the last 7 years traveling between Iraq/Afghanistan and the USA and about 5 years ago registered with the Global entry / Trusted traveler with the TSA which also covers border entry with mexico ad canada - basically it fast tracks you through without hassles it you have american express or have a airline membership like United Airlines they reimburse the cost 100.00 for 7 years - well worth the cost
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:39 PM   #11
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I too have crossed the northern border many times and never had a problem but beware of a new development in Canada. If you have been arrested/convicted of DUI/DWI within the last ten years you cannot enter Canada without first making application to do so and paying the fees. Many airlines have had huge problems landing there and a pilot or flight attendant was not allowed to enter the country. YMMV

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Old 08-21-2014, 04:45 PM   #12
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DUI is a capital offence.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:03 PM   #13
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All of the previous comments are good advice and falls in line with what my wife's relatives from Michigan have always told me. One thing that they mention that has not been brought up in the previous posts is that only the driver speaks while in the presence of the border guard. The only time we were directed to pull over and be checked was the time my wife (who was a passenger) spoke up while I was answering a question. The guards checked all the compartments and cabinets in the camper and then sent us on our way. All in all it only delayed us for about 20-30 minutes.

The way I feel, a person has all sorts of rights in the US and all sorts of rights in Canada, however, nobody has any rights at the border. This is not a problem as long as you are truthful and respectful.

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Old 08-22-2014, 06:27 AM   #14
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Since you said you'd be in Montana, one of the least crowded crossings is at Coots/Sweetgrass. We've crossed there a number of times without any problem at all. Just as been already mentioned, answer only what's asked. I try to only give one word answers, yes or no.
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