PCW Canada to US return

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 7:19 PM

Since the US is on heightened security, is there anything I should be aware of when returning to the US by car? Do I need any documents other than a driver's license? Also, what kind of delays should I expect when driving back into the US?

Thanks in advance. I have never been to Canada before and don't know what to expect.

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Jim Hansen
Number of coasters ridden: 138

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Tuesday, May 21, 2002 7:27 PM

I haven't been to Canada since last February, but all they asked us then was where we lived at, and what was our reason for being there.

Make sure you eat the pizza at PCW or anywhere in Canada.. its so much better than the grease pies I get here.

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AIM: Pritti Kittie

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Tuesday, May 21, 2002 7:42 PM

We cross the border quite a few times during the year and yes! we have crossed since September 11. The best form of ID is a passport even an expired one is good between Canada and US. Each country requires that you have proof of citizenship and a drivers license doesn't prove that. In the absence of a Passport you should have your birth certificate along with a photo ID ... drivers license. The reason why you have to show ID when you come into Canada is to prove that you will be allowed to be admitted back into the US when you return. If the US customs and Immigartion refused your re-entry we would have to keep you here in Canada. Which I know would be quite terrible with our free health care.

Generally what you will find is that it is much easier to cross at a Vehicle crossing as opposed to an Airport. Just be preapred for them to look at you strangely when you tell them you are going to ride coasters. I know I get strange looks at Detroit and Port Huron when I cross. You should have no problems at all especially if you are travelling with a family.

Regards,

Kevin Reid
Your #1 source on PCW

PCW Junkies

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We are paid by those who have learned from our mistakes.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2002 8:08 PM
Thanks again for your help Kevin. Is it generally backed up to the point that I should allow some extra time for crossing the border?

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Jim Hansen
Number of coasters ridden: 138

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Tuesday, May 21, 2002 9:19 PM

SJCoasternut... all depends on what time of day and what bridge you plan on crossing to get to Canada's Wonderland.

If you are going through New York to get into Canada... then you got 3 bridges. The most empty bridge is the one that is a little out of the way (although once you get over, it's actually closer to the QEW). It's called the Lewiston/Queenston bridge, and most of the time, there is no line at all for pay-toll and inspection.

Crossing over the border since 9/11 will be tougher. Don't go in with an attitude, and a drivers license will due just fine as long as your 18 or older. Under 18, you better have a copy of your birth certificate. It used to be soo easy with a simple 3 question inspection:
"Where do you live?"
"Where are you going?"
"Are you bringing in anything with you?"

Now, they may ask the same, but they take the identity check which is a little more of a delay, and may.... may randomly inspect the trunk of your vehicle. I guess it depends on how good of a vehicle you got and if you look like a suspicious person (or a punk).

Either way, you should get in, just avoid the Buffalo Peace bridge at all costs!

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Wednesday, May 22, 2002 5:15 AM

A driver's license is all you need. You don't need a passport.

Customs people can be jerks, especially the Americans. Just know the answers to your citizenship, what you were doing there and what you're bringing into the country. Don't have any weapons, plants, animals, tobacco or alcohol in the car.

I got my car searched, a shiny clean 2001 Camry, going into Canada. The condition of your car has nothing to do with anything. It's random.

I imported Canadian Heinz ketchup. Those who know the difference know what I'm talking about.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

*** This post was edited by Jeff on 5/22/2002. ***

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Wednesday, May 22, 2002 5:34 AM
Jeff suggests:
Don't have any weapons, plants, animals, tobacco or alcohol in the car.

No toilets, either. :(

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

(Seriously! There's apparently quite a black market in smuggled Canadian toilets 'cause Canadian toilets work better than US ones...but they don't comply with US water consumption limits)

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Wednesday, May 22, 2002 8:58 AM

Jeff,

You smuggled Heniz Ketchup into the states? What is the big difference. I am dying to know.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2002 9:17 AM

Buzz Water & Canadian beer... the two best things to import from canada!

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Wednesday, May 22, 2002 9:22 AM

Jeff said:

A driver's license is all you need. You don't need a passport.

Customs people can be jerks, especially the Americans.

With only a drivers license does not prove that you are an American citizen. "I would follow the just in case rule" If you are not asked for your birth certificate don't offer it but, have it just in case. A single male is always more suspicious looking than a family in a mini van.

The preferred method of identification at a border is always a passport over a DL's. That is why I indicated that even an expired one is good between CAN-AM.

We crossed the border almost twenty times last year and we were asked to provide just drivers licenses with Birth Certificates, sometimes just drivers license and one case just asked where we were going ... Bottom line be preapred because it could be long drive back and you would not want to miss out on Wonderland fun.

I feel quite the opposite and usually feel the American custom agents are much more pleasant to us than the Canadian agents. Only diference is ours don't carry guns.

Regards,
Kevin Reid

PCW Junkies

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We are paid by those who have learned from our mistakes.


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Wednesday, May 22, 2002 10:44 AM
NEVER go cross thr border with a dirty car on the inside. meaning if you got things all over that back seat or all over the car, you will get nailed and more then likely will be asked to pull over for a closer inspection. so keep you car neat and clean on the inside while crossing, have the id's and you should be just fine.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2002 1:04 PM
I'm LOL just thinking about the American guards who searched my car in 1998 when it was absolutely jammed with crap...it must have taken them the better part of an hour to go through it all, including the trash filled trunk :-)

I have to agree with Jeff that the American guards tend to be rude, much more so than the Canucks. I've crossed over numerous times at both the Michigan and New York border crossings (by myself, with a friend and with family) and never have been hassled by the Canadians (though I've certainly gotten some strange looks when I explain why I'm passing through :-) where the Americans have nearly always gone out of their way to be rude to me. It's gotten to the point where I always make sure my car is close to spotless before crossing the border to save time because otherwise I always get searched and otherwise hassled.

After the terrorist attacks it really only got worse because now all the pricks who already thought they were "defending *YOU* from the evil people who'd try to sneak into our great country!" suddenly got a shot in the arm.

When using popular crossings like the Tunnel in Detroit or the Peace Bridge in Buffalo I'd allot at least a good 20-30 minutes just to be on the safe side; lines can get pretty nasty and with the increased security they often move at an even slower crawl than usual.
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