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School me on crossing the border!

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School me on crossing the border!

Old 04-09-16, 07:56 AM
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School me on crossing the border!

Going to Niagara Falls (Canadian side) in June from the US. Arriving on a Tuesday, with a three day hotel reservation. Spending the day there on Tuesday. Wednesday, spending the day in Toronto. Thursday we're planning to spend the day in Buffalo, going to the zoo and seeing some friends. Back to the hotel Thursday night, and leaving Canada for good the next morning.

My questions are:

A.) When they ask what I'm doing, do I need to outline all of that, or be brief/concise with my responses?

B.) Any other border crossing info I should know?

C.) Obviously I will make purchases in Canada. Do I need to declare those the first time I leave (Buffalo) even though the items (souveniers) would be back at the hotel?

Thanks all!

Last edited by argh923; 04-09-16 at 09:37 AM.
Old 04-09-16, 08:02 AM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

1. You can be more concise. Just be truthful.
2. Border crossings can take many hours sometimes, so I would try not to hop back and forth if you can avoid it.
3. Only declare those once you bring them over.

Print out your hotel itinerary and have it with you at all times. Make copies of your passports just in case.
Old 04-09-16, 08:22 AM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Going into to Canada = minutes.
Going into the USA = hours.
Old 04-09-16, 09:25 AM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

^ especially at that crossing.

Yeah, you can't declare the stuff you buy until you bring it across. Be concise: "Vacation in Toronto for a couple days." As recommended, crossing the border multiple times can seem fishy. I wouldn't mention that until you cross back into Canada the second time, if that's what you end up doing.
Old 04-09-16, 09:27 AM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by SunMonkey View Post
Going into to Canada = minutes.
Going into the USA = hours.
I've only crossed by car once, close to Montreal. It took over an hour to go into Canada.
Old 04-09-16, 09:28 AM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Lube up your anus ahead of time. Just makes things easier.
Old 04-09-16, 09:30 AM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
^ especially at that crossing.

Yeah, you can't declare the stuff you buy until you bring it across. Be concise: "Vacation in Toronto for a couple days." As recommended, crossing the border multiple times can seem fishy. I wouldn't mention that until you cross back into Canada the second time, if that's what you end up doing.
Makes sense. I figure having the printed itinerary for the hotel would be helpful for this, as they would see we've been staying in Canada, right?
Old 04-09-16, 09:41 AM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Yes, definitely. That way you can say, "we came back to Buffalo for X event, but we're still spending Y nights in Toronto for Z."

Only if they ask.
Old 04-09-16, 10:28 AM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

I'm guessing you will be crossing either the Rainbow Bridge or Peace Bridge (don't use the Lewiston-Queenston bridge, that's usually the busiest, and the Whirlpool Bridge is for Nexus cardholders only). Summer is the peak time for border crossing, but it's often just timing on how the wait on the bridge will be. I cross the Peace Bridge nearly every day, sometimes it's dead (especially this time of year), sometimes is busy. It looks like you are crossing during weekdays, so that should help. Make sure everyone has their passports with them, you will need them (or an enhanced drivers license or Nexus card) to enter back into the US.
Old 04-09-16, 10:49 AM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

I crossed near there by car a few years ago on my way from Buffalo to Toronto and back. Both crossings took awhile, although it was definitely slower coming back into the U.S. Both were pretty painless once I got up to the booth, but the Canadian border guard was polite while the U.S. CBP officer was the single rudest public servant I think I have ever encountered in my life.
Old 04-09-16, 12:05 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by cultshock View Post
I'm guessing you will be crossing either the Rainbow Bridge or Peace Bridge (don't use the Lewiston-Queenston bridge, that's usually the busiest, and the Whirlpool Bridge is for Nexus cardholders only). Summer is the peak time for border crossing, but it's often just timing on how the wait on the bridge will be. I cross the Peace Bridge nearly every day, sometimes it's dead (especially this time of year), sometimes is busy. It looks like you are crossing during weekdays, so that should help. Make sure everyone has their passports with them, you will need them (or an enhanced drivers license or Nexus card) to enter back into the US.
I was thinking Rainbow Bridge because of the lack of commercial lanes, but I've read online where some swear by the Peace Bridge too. I know we want to walk the Rainbow Bridge for sure.

Thinking about reorganizing things so that we only have to cross over once, just to be safe.
Old 04-09-16, 12:06 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by jfoobar View Post
I crossed near there by car a few years ago on my way from Buffalo to Toronto and back. Both crossings took awhile, although it was definitely slower coming back into the U.S. Both were pretty painless once I got up to the booth, but the Canadian border guard was polite while the U.S. CBP officer was the single rudest public servant I think I have ever encountered in my life.
I keep reading that - Canadians are friendly, but the US side is full of assholes.
Old 04-09-16, 12:07 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

And we have the passports. I actually thought we would need them going to Canada as well as returning to the US. But either way, definitely won't be without them.
Old 04-09-16, 12:09 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by argh923 View Post
I keep reading that - Canadians are friendly, but the US side is full of assholes.
Nooooooo waayyyyyy.
Old 04-09-16, 12:28 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Just climb over the... oh, Canada. Uh. I know nothing about that Border.
Old 04-09-16, 12:53 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by argh923 View Post
I keep reading that - Canadians are friendly, but the US side is full of assholes.
Never been to Niagara, but having crossed the border many times going up to Manitoba I think this must be a universal thing. We've been subjected to searches several times and it's really some Guantanamo Bay feeling shit. They had us pull into a garage and get out of the car. All the border guys were wearing military fatigues with black tape over their names. They search my shit first and made me go into a mirrored room that essentially was like an interrogation room. I sat in there for several minutes without any clue as to why I was there or if I was in trouble for some reason. Eventually another friend was put in the room with me and we sat there for another 5 minutes before they finally let us go. Keep in mind, on this occasion we hadn't even done anything specifically to trigger this... and before anyone asks, it was all white people in the car.

My recommendations in general that should still apply... be friendly, but don't joke around too much with the guys on either side. One time entering Canada, when the guy asks, "Carrying any dangerous weapons?" an idiot buddy of mine thought it would be funny to respond, "just my deadly fists". He said it in an obviously joking tone, but the guard didn't have any of it and made us pull over so we could get a 15 minute vehicle search. Of dozens of trips that is the only time we've ever been searched on the Canadian side.
Old 04-09-16, 02:59 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by argh923 View Post
I was thinking Rainbow Bridge because of the lack of commercial lanes, but I've read online where some swear by the Peace Bridge too. I know we want to walk the Rainbow Bridge for sure.

Thinking about reorganizing things so that we only have to cross over once, just to be safe.
Both bridges are pretty good. The Peace Bridge does have commercial traffic, but if there are a bunch of trucks on the bridge, they have to stay to the right, and the middle lane will be open for cars only. So if there is heavy commercial traffic but light car traffic, it shouldn't affect your wait at all.

Have fun, if you walk over the Rainbow Bridge to Canada, there are tons of things to see well within walking distance. Clifton Hill has lots of cheesy, tourist trap fun and it's right near the bridge.
Old 04-09-16, 03:37 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by cultshock View Post
Both bridges are pretty good. The Peace Bridge does have commercial traffic, but if there are a bunch of trucks on the bridge, they have to stay to the right, and the middle lane will be open for cars only. So if there is heavy commercial traffic but light car traffic, it shouldn't affect your wait at all.

Have fun, if you walk over the Rainbow Bridge to Canada, there are tons of things to see well within walking distance. Clifton Hill has lots of cheesy, tourist trap fun and it's right near the bridge.
We're actually staying at the HoJo right by Clifton Falls. Haha
Old 04-09-16, 04:23 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by SunMonkey View Post
Going into to Canada = minutes.
Going into the USA = hours.
This. Definitely this.
Old 04-09-16, 05:17 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

We're building a wall and we're making Americans pay for it so don't forget the $50 wall tax upon crossing.
Old 04-09-16, 06:57 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by eXcentris View Post
We're building a wall and we're making Americans pay for it so don't forget the $50 wall tax upon crossing.
Old 04-09-16, 07:14 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by eXcentris View Post
We're building a wall and we're making Americans pay for it so don't forget the $50 wall tax upon crossing.
$50 or 10 large boxes of Timbits.
Old 04-09-16, 07:59 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

For the other border, watch this infomercial:
Old 04-09-16, 09:22 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

I haven't crossed the US/Canada border since the 1980s. It was easier then.

"Where are you going?" "Nova Scotia."
"What's the reason for your visit?" "Tourism."
"Anything to declare?" "No."
"Have a good day."

Now it's harder than that to go from Arizona to California.
Old 04-09-16, 09:28 PM
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Re: School me on crossing the border!

Originally Posted by SunMonkey View Post
Going into to Canada = minutes.
Going into the USA = hours.
In general, that's not far from true, but it can get very busy at the Peace Bridge, coming into Canada.

Best bet is to check the border wait times at http://www.niagarafallsbridges.com/

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