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Author Topic: Taking bus into Canada. Questions?  (Read 2315 times)
TheHollands!
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« on: June 27, 2012, 07:48:14 PM »

I have never taken my bus into Canada and am thinking about the possibility in August. I'm sure quite a few of you probably do this fairly regularly. Are there any issues that I should be aware of or fees associated with crossing the border. Would be just a short trip to Toronto for a few days. Thanks Craig
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The Hollands!
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2012, 08:12:14 PM »

If you are musicians, as are we, thats a whole 'nother ball of wax.  Are you talking a social visit or a singing visit?
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 08:40:57 PM »

If you're a tourist and you're coming in a private motorhome then its all up to the idiot in the little booth but usually we welcome guests.  On the other hand if they're having a bad day and think you are a vagabond with no permanent address coming to sponge off our universal healthcare then you could be in for a bad day too.  You'll never know until you pull up to the booth but fortunately over 99% of the time they more or less wave you through in both directions.

Even when they don't wave you through its doable as long as you're honest and you really are coming as a visitor.  I've had bad days heading north and south.  Coming north I know that eventually they have to let me in.  Going south I'm a guest and there's always the possibility that they flat out won't let me in.  So far that hasn't happened but there have been times when I've started to wonder.

Just say "yes sir" or "no sir" and don't volunteer anything that they don't explicity ask.  And if you're tall stay sitting down if at all possible.  Some of them have a serious short-man complex. Oh - and no handguns.  We're big on that no handguns thing.  Not that we don't have them - we just can't admit it.  And we definitely can't cross the border with them.  If you're bringing long guns the correct answer is "I'm going hunting" and you better have the name of a lodge at the tip of your tongue.  "Self defense" is absolutely the wrong answer under any circumstance.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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OneLapper
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 08:49:00 PM »

Craig,

I've taken my 4106 to Canada several times.  Twice they xray scanned the bus which meant everyone had to get out, what a PITA that was with all the little kids we had.  The last time we had about 12 people, the guards boarded the bus, looked around, asked 20 questions and made certain each young child had a booster seat that was anchored.  Thank goodness we had that taken care of before getting there.

It took much longer getting back into the US.  More questions, longer poking around, checking the booster seats again, reviewing the US laws on where people sit when the bus is moving, etc.

Oh, don't bother bringing meat, booze, smokes etc.  If it doesn't fit in the fridge, it's not considered for "personal and immediate use" and they take it.

Now that I reread this, it sounds worse than it really is.  If you have nothing to hide, and accept that they are doing their job to protect the country, being inconvienced for a little while is not a big deal.

Mark
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 08:53:12 PM by OneLapper » Logged

OneLapper
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Fred Mc
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 10:03:18 PM »

I live close to the border on the Canadian side so I cross often-at least twice a month.
Just answer the questions-don't make small talk or jokes.That goes for crossing both ways.No guns period. You may be legal with long guns but unless you are going hunting it will just cause a hassle. The other thing they are big on is booze and tobbacco-at least when I return from the US. They don't seem to care about how much I am bringing back but ALWAYS ask about booze and tobacco. I think the limit may be 50-75 bucks for 24 hours but I regularily bring in 2-300 dollar worth of stuff after only a couple of hours away and they don't seem to care about that but booze and tobacco-WOW.
I have also found it to be beneficial if you have definite answers. If they ask where you are going and you say just for a drive in Canada you are asking for closer inspection. But if you say "I'm going to visit my BIL in Toronto for a week" that usually is better.(assuming, of course , you actually have a BIL in Toronto .LOL
Some fruits with stones are banned this time of the year so it might be a good idea to do a quick search on the net-save time and hassle.
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Tikvah
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2012, 05:19:46 AM »

Hollands, where will you be crossing?
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TheHollands!
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2012, 08:59:04 AM »

Hey thanks for all your help, I'm an Aussie so I don't know which way to hold a gun let alone own one. We could either cross at Sault Ste Marie or Port Huron (not sure if one is better than the other, looks like a pretty drive down to Toronto on the Canadian side though).  We are musicians and live in our bus fulltime, we may have to drop some things off with friends before crossing. We are just visiting a friend this time. I am aware of the entertainment visa stuff hoping to dive into that maybe next year. I don't have seatbelts except for the driver. Is that an issue?
Thanks for your help, it's already helped me avoid some problems.
Craig
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The Hollands!
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 09:22:15 AM »

Craig, for future reference,  you don't want to be looking at the end with the hole in it.
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2012, 09:24:20 AM »

The border guys couldn't care less about seatbelts.  Or anything else mechanical on your coach for that matter.  As long as you can stop at their Stop sign and pull away under your own power you'll be good to go on that front.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2012, 01:11:02 PM »

Am I the only one that's been xray'd?Huh

Wow. I was profiled. Musta thought I was some kind of drug runnin' hippie.....lol
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OneLapper
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2012, 01:30:57 PM »

Oh, another thing. If they come to you with the dog, dont pet him.  Friend did that and the rubber gloves came out!  They didnt even buy him flowers afterwards.
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2012, 01:38:00 PM »

Years ago when I lived near the border .. the correct answer going north was "Going Gambling"  and going south was "Going home from gambling"
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buswarrior
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2012, 07:36:56 PM »

Pay close attention to your own country's rules for returning home with stuff.

Of particular note is the dollar value and kind of goods you return with.
They want your tax money on the stuff beyond your allowances.
Keep your receipts, tell the truth, pay the money and all is well.

They have been using the xray regularly since post 9-11.

Remember that these border patrol folks job is to protect their respective nations and collect taxes.

The things they say or do have a purpose beyond the topic of discussion. They are quickly sizing you up as to whether you require further inspection. Best to consider you have no rights, no appeal, and they have all the power.

Arrive thinking anything else, they will adjust your attitude prior to leaving.

And they are connected to those other tax people in the income tax department...
You don't suppose that the red flag in the computer doesn't reach them?
Go ahead and fool around....

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2012, 08:04:24 PM »

      I agree with what other people have said but in my experience (I've crossed into Canada about 40 times in the past 20 years and, back when I was a useful, productive citizen and before I became fodder for the gummint's death panels, I had work permits overseas and used to cross the Atlantic about every 3-4 weeks -- so I KNOW Customs, etc.), the officials have questions and they want to hear the "right" answers.  If you give them the right answers, they can justify letting you go and make things easier on themselves (after all, they are government employees and they're not really interested in working any more than they have to and stopping you and sending you for other inspection is complicated for them).  Coming in?  "Visiting a cousin for just a few days" (have the cousin's name and address) or "vacation at a hotel in Parry Sound" (have the hotel name) etc.  Alcohol?  "Only one bottle and that's for my own personal use"  Firearms "Oh, no."  Business trip?  "No, just vacation".  Any business articles or anything for sale "No, nothing like that".
      And, as has been said, have documents ready and NO attitude.
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2012, 08:19:17 PM »

Any business articles or anything for sale "No, nothing like that".

So long as you dont bring CD's to sell, or get paid to perform, it will be simple.  If you you have sound gear, they want you to have serial numbers logged.  Best bet it to call the border where you are crossing and ask them.  Non-busy crossings seem to be easier to slide through.
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Linda-4104-FL
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« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2012, 08:27:15 PM »

We like to bring our favorite coffee with us on our trips.... a brand that's just about unobtainable except in Little Cuba (a/k/a South Florida).  What do the customs folks think about 20-30 vacuum-sealed bags of ground coffee?
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TheHollands!
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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2012, 08:33:20 PM »

We do make our living playing music, however this trip is to visit a friend in Toronto being that it is so close to where we will be touring in Michigan. However as we live in our bus I will have PA, instruments, merchandise on board as it all travels with us regardless of the nature of any of our trips. We have travelled internationally, just never with the bus. I think I will call the border, if it turns into more hassle than I need our friend can always come visit us. Thanks, Craig
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The Hollands!
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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2012, 08:39:49 PM »

We never had a problem getting in and out Canada, I did have a problem leaving the US for Germany (not in a bus) I found out when one ask how much cash you are leaving with it is best to tell the truth the bar codes on our money are a dead give away that lady counted my money and never touched it or me lol

good luck
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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2012, 09:08:18 PM »

We do make our living playing music, however this trip is to visit a friend in Toronto being that it is so close to where we will be touring in Michigan. However as we live in our bus I will have PA, instruments, merchandise on board as it all travels with us regardless of the nature of any of our trips. We have travelled internationally, just never with the bus. I think I will call the border, if it turns into more hassle than I need our friend can always come visit us. Thanks, Craig

We've got opportunities in Canada but I am a little too nervous about doing it.  I know a lot of people that do and its never the same everytime they cross.  I'd hate to book dates then pull a no show.
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« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2012, 02:22:55 AM »

all that coffee will be a problem as the criminals use it to hide the cocaine in as it masks the smell to the dogs.
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« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2012, 05:26:08 AM »

BTDT quite a few times. If you are bringing any merchandise in, how do they know you won't sell any of it? They might not see/notice it, but if the wrong person does, they you are stuck. We always import our materials, the right way. That usually involves hours of extra paperwork and prep (don't ask me what to do, because I am not the one that does it). Port Huron has been fine in the past. We didn't have any issues there.

As the others have said, be respectful.

FWIW

John
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« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2012, 05:59:24 AM »

Craig,
If it helps any, and you are returning, I live just south of the Mackinaw Bridge in Michigan.  You would be welcome to leave any questionable items here, enjoy your trip, then pick them up when you return.
If you are passing over the Mackinaw Bridge, we're not more than a couple miles out of your way. 

Just a thought,

Dave
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I couldn't repair my brakes, so I made my horn louder.
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TheHollands!
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« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2012, 07:24:25 AM »

Thanks Dave, not sure what we are doing yet, we will be in Michigan for a couple of weeks, passing over the Mackinaw. Would be good to meet, haven't seen another bus yet, would love to share ideas.
Craig
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The Hollands!
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« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2012, 11:46:57 AM »

don't wear sunglasses. take them off 10 miles before you get there.
be sure everyone is wide awake. i was scrutinized once when my wife was napping....go figure... Roll Eyes
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06 Bill
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« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2012, 02:24:51 PM »

Craig I have driven into Canada at least once a year for the last 30 years. Many times with the old 4106. Never have had problem 1. First yes sir or no sir depending on ?. No sun glasses. Have passports ready. Sometimes will ask
for drivers license. They will ask a few simple ?s. If you bring pets you now need their shot records with you. Then
it's have a nice stay and off you go. This has been at many ports across the country mostly in Maine @ calais.
                        Not to worry have fun      06 Bill
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« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2012, 12:53:22 AM »

your merchandise may  be a problem, either
n or s bound.  Also instruments and gear.  Basically it will look like you are coming to Canada to work, doesn't matter if that is not the case.  Your gear could be taxed going back to the states if they decide you bought it in Can, so you need to register the ser #s.  Personally I would take buddy up on his offer and store enough stuff so you don't look pro.  Back in the day, if I was in a band and we were loaded with gear, we would say we were going to record at a studio (allowed back then without paperwork), or going to do a promotional event (no pay, also allowed) and finally if we were doing a tour I guess the TM took care of that cause I don't have a clue, just know the promoters/club owners had to be involved, and paperwork was involved.
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