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Author Topic: Montreal Border Crossing  (Read 94981 times)

AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2012, 08:55:46 AM »

^ Agreed.  Whatever you do, don't let a fear of crossing the border (into any country, not just Canada) forbid you from crossing.  The world is such an interesting and diverse place  -- don't miss out on seeing that.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2012, 10:41:32 AM »

Don't bring produce across in either direction. That's a big no-no.

It is certainly important not to transport produce that is banned in either country or finished products which are made from banned produce (I am thinking in particular of a type of berry--blackberry?--which is a common eating fruit and infusion herb in Europe but is banned in North America because it is considered a weed).  But in general I would not worry about things bought at a supermarket.
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2012, 01:41:10 PM »

Wow. I had thought it would be nice to drive up to Canada and take a tour of at least some of the country for maybe a couple of weeks or more (if I had the money and the time), but now I'm not so sure. Is it harder to cross the border now than it was before 9/11? Would it be easier to cross  if I had, say, copies of reservation confirmations at Canadian hotels to show the border guards that I have a legitimate, peaceful reason for crossing the border? I just don't want to have a frightening experience at the border which would leave me emotionally scarred and unable to enjoy my trip...
I would say it's quite a bit harder now.  Before 9/11, customs was just a formality, mainly a way to prove to the government that the customs officials were actually doing work.  At least on the NY/ON border, nobody cared if you illegally crossed by boat either (though it helped that there was no legal mechanism for doing so beyond calling customs at the time).
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2012, 02:36:20 PM »

Worst you'll get is a car search and an interrogation (where you're not actually required to answer any of their questions if you don't want to).

Wait, really? I thought right to remain silent, probable cause, and all that didn't apply with the border patrol.

Anyways, I wouldn't recommend pleading the fifth even if you are allowed to. Refusing to answer questions is generally taken to mean you have something to hide, which never helps your case.
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realjd

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2012, 03:27:19 PM »

Quote from: J N Winkler link=topic=5910.msg131510#msg131510
It is certainly important not to transport produce that is banned in either country or finished products which are made from banned produce (I am thinking in particular of a type of berry--blackberry?--which is a common eating fruit and infusion herb in Europe but is banned in North America because it is considered a weed).  But in general I would not worry about things bought at a supermarket.

All produce MUST be declared when entering the US, and the list of things that will be allowed into the country is extremely short:
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/clearing/agri_prod_inus.xml

Even things as harmless as apples will be confiscated.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 03:39:59 PM by realjd »
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2012, 03:40:15 PM »

Worst you'll get is a car search and an interrogation (where you're not actually required to answer any of their questions if you don't want to).

Wait, really? I thought right to remain silent, probable cause, and all that didn't apply with the border patrol.

Anyways, I wouldn't recommend pleading the fifth even if you are allowed to. Refusing to answer questions is generally taken to mean you have something to hide, which never helps your case.

You have no 4th amendment right to refuse to consent to a search (no probable cause needed for them to search your car for instance), but you do still have a right to remain silent. There was a case last year where a flyer exercised that right and blogged about it:
http://nomadlaw.com/2010/04/i-am-detained-by-feds-for-not-answering-questions/
http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2010/09/dealing_customs_agents
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2012, 12:31:09 AM »

The border crossing sure is quite a hassle, but I don't let it deter me from travelling to places that are as close as a half hour drive from my home. I enjoy exploring too much to stop doing it just because of arrogant CBP and CBSA staff.

I always find a reason to tell them when I cross. Even if it's something as futile as "I'm just going to take photos of the wind turbines just across in Chateaugay". Even "Sightseeing in Plattsburgh" is a better answer than "No reason." Plus, I don't think anything keeps you from changing plans midway through, right?

I never lie either, even if my legit answer doesn't make sense at first. I frequently go skiing in Vermont in November and late April and even May. I got weird stares and extra questions, but was let through every time. I've been asked to show my hotel reservation once, to which I answered "It's in the car you've just let through," which was true. It was kind of an annoying "bad cop" lady, and it took a while despite the lineup behind us, but what do you want...

I've explained what a roadmeet is on a handful of occasions. "Seeing a friend who lives there, sightseeing in his area" also works, I guess.

They do log your crossings, I got the confirmation yesterday when I was asked "Why have you been using so many different crossings?" - "Depends on the destination and traffic," I said, which was a legitimate and satisfying answer.

The language barrier has been a real problem with me only once, when I was asked if I "have ever been fingerprinted" without specifying any context. Took a few minutes to get things sorted out properly. On the other hand, I have heard at least one count of Quebecers being interrogated in French by a CBP agent, and I have been asked one or two questions in a very broken French in the past — to which I answered in English.

On the Canadian side, I require customs service in French, even outside of Québec. They have to comply by law.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2012, 01:16:53 AM »

All produce MUST be declared when entering the US, and the list of things that will be allowed into the country is extremely short:

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/clearing/agri_prod_inus.xml

Even things as harmless as apples will be confiscated.

I have brought supermarket goods (which qualify as agricultural produce) across the border many times undeclared, without being brought up short once.  Notwithstanding what they say at that link, I stand by my original point:  they don't sweat the supermarket stuff.
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2012, 01:46:23 AM »

The one time my car was seriously searched I had a couple roast beef sandwiches with tomatoes on them with me. When the Customs Canada person said "Just tell me what the illegal things in your car are- that will make this much easier," I told him that I had the sandwiches. After they searched my car without me present, they told me they didn't find any drugs but they did find the sandwiches.

They let me keep the sandwiches.

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2012, 02:26:05 AM »

All produce MUST be declared when entering the US, and the list of things that will be allowed into the country is extremely short:

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/clearing/agri_prod_inus.xml

Even things as harmless as apples will be confiscated.

I have brought supermarket goods (which qualify as agricultural produce) across the border many times undeclared, without being brought up short once.  Notwithstanding what they say at that link, I stand by my original point:  they don't sweat the supermarket stuff.

I'll second Winkler on the Supermarket stuff.  Back when Kraft had hockey cards on almost anything they sold in the fall in Canada, I bought up (well, my parents did technically) and we had no problems getting back to the states after a successful trip getting almost always a complete set. :)
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 02:27:55 AM by rickmastfan67 »
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nds76

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2012, 07:41:04 AM »

When I was asked by US Customs coming back if I had anything to declare, they said if they found anything after searching my car that I didn't declare then they bluntly told me that I would go to prison, NOT jail but prison is exactly what they told me.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2012, 10:33:38 AM »

When I was asked by US Customs coming back if I had anything to declare, they said if they found anything after searching my car that I didn't declare then they bluntly told me that I would go to prison, NOT jail but prison is exactly what they told me.

that's just pure horseshit right there.  at that point, you need to take down their badge number and contact someone higher-up.  there is no reason to treat you like a criminal and give you the "good cop, bad cop" routine.
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nds76

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2012, 10:54:46 AM »

When I was asked by US Customs coming back if I had anything to declare, they said if they found anything after searching my car that I didn't declare then they bluntly told me that I would go to prison, NOT jail but prison is exactly what they told me.

that's just pure horseshit right there.  at that point, you need to take down their badge number and contact someone higher-up.  there is no reason to treat you like a criminal and give you the "good cop, bad cop" routine.

Yep, it was. I never even thought to do that at the time. I was just too upset at the time with something like that happening. I would really like to continue going to Canada but this has somewhat deterred me from going back. It's a shame it has to be that way but I am not gonna be bullied like that. I can tell you this, although I was questioned and searched both ways, at least the Canadians were cordial and not mean.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2012, 03:04:23 PM »

When I was asked by US Customs coming back if I had anything to declare, they said if they found anything after searching my car that I didn't declare then they bluntly told me that I would go to prison, NOT jail but prison is exactly what they told me.

that's just pure horseshit right there.  at that point, you need to take down their badge number and contact someone higher-up.  there is no reason to treat you like a criminal and give you the "good cop, bad cop" routine.

Ooooh, this kind of thing makes me very angry.

In this situation I wouldn't ask him just for his badge number.  I would also ask him for the name of the director of the port and advise him of the possibility of a complaint being filed under 18 USC 241 (conspiracy against rights) and 18 USC 242 (deprivation of rights under color of law).  And if that does not force him to back off, I would go ahead and take notes on everything that happens, and then go ahead and file a complaint with the Department of Justice's civil-rights division.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/federal-statutes

There is no reason for a federal officer to be anything but polite to a person who approaches him or her politely.

In regard to declaring goods to Customs, it helps to keep in mind the following points:

*  You are not expected to declare any goods unless the total value or quantity exceeds one or more of the duty-free exemptions.  (There is a duty-free exemption for total value up to $800 and quantity exemptions for alcohol and tobacco.)  I have bought relatively small amounts of merchandise in foreign countries over the years and brought it back to the US, but each time I have written "-0-" on Form 6059B without this being queried.  (IANAL, but I think the threshold for prosecution under the federal false-writing statute is material misstatement of fact.)

*  You can be assessed for duty only on goods which are meant to be consumed or left in the country you are entering.  You will not be assessed duty on household goods of US origin if they are being returned to the US, even if their total value is in excess of the duty-free exemption.  You will similarly not be assessed duty on any goods that are brought into the US and then taken out at the end of your sojourn in the US.  If the douanier tries to make out that a given item is dutiable and is being left in the US, then you should ask for a receipt for any duty paid so that you can reclaim that duty when you leave the US, taking that item with you.  If he tries to claim that you attempted to smuggle the item and confiscates it, then you should ask him for his badge number, the procedure for appealing confiscation, and the name of the director of the port.  If this does not produce satisfactory results, remind him of 18 USC 241 et seqq.

*  Remember at all times that it is not just you versus the douanier.  He has to answer to a supervisor who in turn has to answer to the director of the port.  He and his bosses must also follow federal law and if they fail to do so, e.g. by intimidating you unnecessarily, they risk prosecution by the DOJ's civil-rights people, with the possibility not just of job loss but also prison.  If anything he does leads not just to administrative proceedings (which can be kept intra-department) but also to a request that the US attorney file criminal charges, then he and his chain of command have to satisfy the US attorney (or more likely an assistant US attorney) that prosecution is in the public interest.  This will never be true in the case of an ordinary traveler who comes in a few dollars over the duty-free exemption.  A better example of the type of case they are interested in is Mrs. Jeb Bush, who was detained several years ago for attempting to import $50,000 worth of gold jewelry undeclared.
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realjd

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2012, 03:44:49 PM »

^^^
I strongly disagree with the advice about declaring goods. Bringing something into the US without declaring it is smuggling and the officers absolutely are allowed to confiscate anything undeclared. Why lie on the form? Just put down a ball-park figure on the 6059B form and declare it as "misc souvenirs". The $800 duty free exemption is only valid once every 30 days, and that's one reason why they need to know.

Just because Americans have an absolute right to reenter their own country doesn't mean their purchases do.

As for actually paying duty, I can speak first-hand about that. On several occasions I've brought back more than the 1L duty free limit on alcohol. I always declare it and have always had the duty waived. It's not worth the officer's time to collect duty of only a few dollars. I have also seen people try to bring back undeclared alcohol before or after me in line and they almost always have it confiscated.

EDIT: I found a news article about bringing back undeclared produce:
http://money.msn.com/saving-money-tips/post.aspx?post=56087a81-0b1f-48a1-bc6b-2efe6d6e1ac0

Also:
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/what_you_declare.xml
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 03:50:04 PM by realjd »
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J N Winkler

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2012, 04:55:09 PM »

I strongly disagree with the advice about declaring goods. Bringing something into the US without declaring it is smuggling and the officers absolutely are allowed to confiscate anything undeclared. Why lie on the form? Just put down a ball-park figure on the 6059B form and declare it as "misc souvenirs". The $800 duty free exemption is only valid once every 30 days, and that's one reason why they need to know.

KBYG does agree with what you are saying:  however, note that CBP's instructions for filling out Form 6059B still include the qualification ". . . articles intended to be sold or left in the United States" (my emphasis) in relation to declarations of commercial merchandise (page 6 of 18 in the following PDF file):

http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/newsroom/publications/travel/traveler_entry_forms.ctt/traveler_entry_forms.pdf

I stand by my experience.  They just aren't interested in hearing about general merchandise that clearly falls under the $800 exemption.  KBYG goes into a lot of detail, for example, on how you can register things like laptops so you can bring them in duty-free every time, but I have never bothered even though I own a laptop I bought in Britain and for years routinely carried it separately from my backpack in one of those suitcase-like laptop bags which people are encouraged not to use anymore because they supposedly attract thieves.

It is a fundamental principle of how Customs agencies are run worldwide that you do not owe import duty on goods that are not, in fact, imported (i.e., that remain in your possession in the country of arrival and which you then take out when you leave).  Provisions for transfer of household goods tend to be expansive as well, because assessing duty on every single household good brought in from abroad would involve administrative complexity and cost in entire disproportion to the duty collected.  (In any case, charging import duty on household goods is conceptually equivalent to charging you income tax on a capital transfer from abroad, which is a form of currency control and thus a limitation on convertibility of currency.  In today's world there is such a strong stigma attached to having an incompletely convertible currency that no country will suspend convertibility unless it absolutely has no choice.)

KYBG as currently written may presume that commercial goods brought into the US will be left in the US and are therefore imports and, as such, dutiable and requiring declaration on Form 6059B.  However, I don't recall it saying this in the past and I doubt the underlying law has changed.

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As for actually paying duty, I can speak first-hand about that. On several occasions I've brought back more than the 1L duty free limit on alcohol. I always declare it and have always had the duty waived. It's not worth the officer's time to collect duty of only a few dollars. I have also seen people try to bring back undeclared alcohol before or after me in line and they almost always have it confiscated.

Yes, they do watch for alcohol and tobacco.  Alcohol in particular is harder to hide because it tends to come in glass bottles which knock and clink, and people typically don't take pieces of their household liquor supplies with them on trips--the alcohol customs officers can hear clinking and glugging away in bottles has nearly always been bought abroad.  On the other hand, customs officers just don't like to waste their time on goods which might have been brought abroad but are not clearly differentiable from ordinary household goods, which are admitted duty-free.

I am actually not a huge fan of buying alcohol abroad--less because of the problems getting it through Customs and more because the alcohol that looked good in a shop in Italy or Turkey or wherever tends to look very unappetizing in the liquor cabinet back home.  I have taken alcohol through Customs only twice:  once in 2001, when I bought a bottle of raki at Atatürk International and brought it back to Britain (where it fit under the quantity exemption for alcohol, so I didn't bother to declare it), and again in 2006, when I flew from London to Turin and bought a bottle of Scotch in the duty-free as a house present (no need to declare since it was well under the indicative limit for blue-channel alcohol).

Quote
EDIT: I found a news article about bringing back undeclared produce:

http://money.msn.com/saving-money-tips/post.aspx?post=56087a81-0b1f-48a1-bc6b-2efe6d6e1ac0

I have to question whether that piece tells the whole story.  The type of traveler the Customs produce specialists tend to zero in are older people from Middle Eastern countries who bring in locally produced food that has ingredients which are either not permitted or are restricted in the US.  I am sure I have brought in half-finished peanut packets in my backpack many times without running into problems.

Edit:  Re-reading the story, I see the family arrived at EWR after a 19-hour flight.  This raises the question:  flight from where?  In my own case, for example, LHR-ORD (part of a typical one-stop LHR-ORD ORD-ICT itinerary) takes just 10 hours.  If this was a transatlantic flight, it could have originated somewhere in Africa or central Asia, and that would have had the Customs produce people on high alert.  There is also the question of how Customs found the food in the first place; perhaps the parents failed to tell the kids that eating in the Customs queue is a no-no.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 05:55:10 PM by J N Winkler »
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2012, 05:46:17 PM »

This is a really good exchange of information here. I consider myself a novice international traveler since only being in Canada 4 times. And those times there were several years apart. That said, I am still not really sure how to answer the questions customs asks. And at this point, I am not sure I will renew my EDL since renewal will probably cost more than a standard license. I only got the EDL since I wanted to travel to Canada but that really seems in question with what I have experienced.
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2012, 06:31:38 PM »

I frequently carry a camera bag with about $3000 worth of equipment in it and I've never been asked a single question about it entering any country. 

this makes me wonder about laptops - would customs officials not have a similar idea about their usage pattern?  namely, the traveler keeps it with them at all times and does not intend to leave it behind in any country, regardless of where they purchased it.
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2012, 08:52:59 PM »

I frequently carry a camera bag with about $3000 worth of equipment in it and I've never been asked a single question about it entering any country.

When I still shot film, I used SLRs and I was never asked about them despite wearing a photographer's vest with lenses stuffed in the pockets.  At the time I made my first trip to Mexico in 2002, there was still advice floating around on the Web and in print to the effect that Mexican douaniers tightly controlled imports of photographic supplies (one bit of advice I saw said not to take in more than 20 rolls of film, which is a ridiculously low amount for a serious photographer).  But I went through Customs twice (once at the border, and once again at the internal frontier checkpoint), and the officers showed zero interest in my photo gear.

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this makes me wonder about laptops - would customs officials not have a similar idea about their usage pattern?  namely, the traveler keeps it with them at all times and does not intend to leave it behind in any country, regardless of where they purchased it.

That might be part of it.  Another part is that laptops can be plausibly represented as tools of a trade, which are exempt from duty.  A US Customs officer also has no way of knowing whether a particular laptop bag contains a brand-new laptop, which would be dutiable as a foreign purchase, or a laptop bought more than a year ago, which counts as household effects (regardless of where bought) and is not dutiable.  Unless you ask for the laptop to be opened for inspection, you can't tell where it might have been bought, and could easily find that a suspected foreign laptop is in fact an American-purchased laptop being repatriated.  Customs officers don't have the time to inquire into, let alone verify, the provenance of every single thing you bring in that might be dutiable and so they have to be selective.
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2012, 08:07:42 AM »

KBYG does agree with what you are saying:  however, note that CBP's instructions for filling out Form 6059B still include the qualification ". . . articles intended to be sold or left in the United States" (my emphasis) in relation to declarations of commercial merchandise (page 6 of 18 in the following PDF file):

I'm writing from the perspective of a US Citizen returning home from a vacation declaring purchases made abroad. I've never declared anything entering a foreign country and I would expect foreigners on vacation would similarly not need to declare anything on their landing card when entering the US.

I wish we operated more on a European model where the immigration officer was concerned only with immigration and customs was set up with the red and green channels.

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It is a fundamental principle of how Customs agencies are run worldwide that you do not owe import duty on goods that are not, in fact, imported (i.e., that remain in your possession in the country of arrival and which you then take out when you leave). 

I agree completely. If you're not from here and plan on taking it with you when you leave, you'll have no issue whatsoever because you're not importing anything.

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I am actually not a huge fan of buying alcohol abroad--less because of the problems getting it through Customs and more because the alcohol that looked good in a shop in Italy or Turkey or wherever tends to look very unappetizing in the liquor cabinet back home.  I have taken alcohol through Customs only twice:  once in 2001, when I bought a bottle of raki at Atatürk International and brought it back to Britain (where it fit under the quantity exemption for alcohol, so I didn't bother to declare it), and again in 2006, when I flew from London to Turin and bought a bottle of Scotch in the duty-free as a house present (no need to declare since it was well under the indicative limit for blue-channel alcohol).

I have a soft spot for Caribbean rums and for that duty-free whiskey shop at Heathrow.

Quote
Edit:  Re-reading the story, I see the family arrived at EWR after a 19-hour flight.  This raises the question:  flight from where?  In my own case, for example, LHR-ORD (part of a typical one-stop LHR-ORD ORD-ICT itinerary) takes just 10 hours.  If this was a transatlantic flight, it could have originated somewhere in Africa or central Asia, and that would have had the Customs produce people on high alert.  There is also the question of how Customs found the food in the first place; perhaps the parents failed to tell the kids that eating in the Customs queue is a no-no.

The longest commercial flight currently operating is the SQ flight from EWR-SIN. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the one.

As for how customs found the apple, you've never seen the Beagle Brigade? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beagle_Brigade

You'll usually see them walking around in the international bag claim areas at airports. If you watch, I guarantee you'll see them find things like apples, bananas, oranges, and other produce items buried in people's bags. I've never heard of anyone getting fined for innocently bringing something like that back though, other than that story above.

The family also may have been sent for a random agriculture check. There's two types of secondary when entering the US by air. The first is the full-blown secondary screening run by CBP personnel. That's the unpleasant one. The second type is an agriculture check run by USDA officers. It's usually random (unless you declare food) and they rarely do more than x-ray your bag. It's quick and painless. It's no different than the agriculture checks you encounter when flying from Puerto Rico or Hawaii to the mainland.

I frequently carry a camera bag with about $3000 worth of equipment in it and I've never been asked a single question about it entering any country. 

this makes me wonder about laptops - would customs officials not have a similar idea about their usage pattern?  namely, the traveler keeps it with them at all times and does not intend to leave it behind in any country, regardless of where they purchased it.

I've never had an issue with not declaring computer or camera equipment, but there are a few countries (that will automatically charge duty on any laptops in excess of one because they operate on the assumption that the second one is going to be sold or otherwise left behind. You'll have to google it because I can't remember which ones, but I think most of them were in South America.
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1995hoo

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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #45 on: January 24, 2012, 11:36:45 AM »

On our last trip to Canada when we went through Customs at the ferry terminal in Portland after taking the Cat Ferry from Yarmouth, we declared everything and for whatever reason the item the guy wanted to ask about was the rainsuits we bought for playing golf. Really simple there—we had a tee time on the Highlands Links and the weather was iffy, so we bought rainsuits. The guy acted puzzled that they made rain gear for playing golf. I think on the whole he was just picking something off the form to test how I answered him and to see if I got tripped up, which might be an indicator of something else suspicious. That wouldn't surprise me at all because several times the guy checking passports at the airport has asked some seemingly odd questions. I assume it's similar in theory to the way El Al security personnel do behavior profiling.

As others have noted, I've never had a problem with being over the limit on alcohol. On that last trip to Canada we had six or seven bottles of whisky purchased at the Glenora Distillery and probably another six or seven bottles of wine from Jost Vineyards, but he didn't care. Prior to the days of the liquid restrictions at the airports I brought back large quantities of whisky from the shops in Edinburgh, and while I was clearly over my limit the Customs people at JFK (one trip) or Dulles (more recently) just didn't want to bother. Nowadays the liquid policy makes it a whole different animal, but for security reasons rather than Customs reasons. (I suppose for me it's easy if I buy it at the airside duty-free at Heathrow since the first airport I reach in the USA—almost always Dulles—is my final destination, so I need not worry about putting the bottles into checked baggage. Those of you who have to connect, or who arrive in Atlanta, face a much bigger hassle.)

The best policy is simply to be up-front with the Customs people and to know what you have with you. I brought coffee beans back from Mexico and I figured it was safest to declare them as food. The Customs guy at the Philadelphia airport immediately noted it and asked what kind of food; when I said "a pound of coffee beans in a sealed vacuum package" he had no problem with it. They're after things that might pose an agricultural or other threat. If you ever fly to or from Hawaii you'll pass through agricultural checkpoints; same applies if you take the ferry to the Island of Newfoundland, as you will pass through a car wash when you depart the island. I seem to recall they were focused on stopping the spread of a potato parasite. Stuff like that is no joke!

One last Customs point for people travelling to Canada: Don't forget that even though you can legally buy Cuban cigars in Canada, you cannot legally bring them back to the United States. I don't smoke and so this hasn't been an issue for me, but I've been told that if you bring back cigars and you try to hide their Cuban origin by removing labels or the like it just makes it look more suspicious. Of course you could try to smuggle them in your spare tire well or something like that, but in my mind it's not worth it.
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #46 on: January 24, 2012, 11:49:09 AM »

One last Customs point for people travelling to Canada: Don't forget that even though you can legally buy Cuban cigars in Canada, you cannot legally bring them back to the United States. I don't smoke and so this hasn't been an issue for me, but I've been told that if you bring back cigars and you try to hide their Cuban origin by removing labels or the like it just makes it look more suspicious. Of course you could try to smuggle them in your spare tire well or something like that, but in my mind it's not worth it.

or to other countries.  I do not officially know anything about this, but a friend of mine drove down to Mexico for the day and he purchased a bottle of Cuban rum.  the vendor wrapped it in a newspaper.  when we returned, we were asked if we had bought anything, and he said - quite honestly - "a bottle of alcohol".  He held it up, covered in newspaper and all; the border patrol official did not inquire further.

and that may or may not be my story about abetting a Very Very Serious Drug Smuggling Operation.  Remember, kids, if you see a Cuban today, murder him.  they're worse than Mexicans, those damn dirty hippies.
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #47 on: January 24, 2012, 12:02:38 PM »

One last Customs point for people travelling to Canada: Don't forget that even though you can legally buy Cuban cigars in Canada, you cannot legally bring them back to the United States. I don't smoke and so this hasn't been an issue for me, but I've been told that if you bring back cigars and you try to hide their Cuban origin by removing labels or the like it just makes it look more suspicious. Of course you could try to smuggle them in your spare tire well or something like that, but in my mind it's not worth it.

or to other countries.  I do not officially know anything about this, but a friend of mine drove down to Mexico for the day and he purchased a bottle of Cuban rum.  the vendor wrapped it in a newspaper.  when we returned, we were asked if we had bought anything, and he said - quite honestly - "a bottle of alcohol".  He held it up, covered in newspaper and all; the border patrol official did not inquire further.

and that may or may not be my story about abetting a Very Very Serious Drug Smuggling Operation.  Remember, kids, if you see a Cuban today, murder him.  they're worse than Mexicans, those damn dirty hippies.

Very true; I focused my comment on Canada primarily because that was the original subject in this thread and because I figured that on the whole people would be more likely to drive to Canada than to any other country (Mexico included).
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #48 on: January 24, 2012, 12:16:49 PM »

One last Customs point for people travelling to Canada: Don't forget that even though you can legally buy Cuban cigars in Canada, you cannot legally bring them back to the United States. I don't smoke and so this hasn't been an issue for me, but I've been told that if you bring back cigars and you try to hide their Cuban origin by removing labels or the like it just makes it look more suspicious. Of course you could try to smuggle them in your spare tire well or something like that, but in my mind it's not worth it.

While I've never brought cigars back from Canada, I have brought back cigars on cruises. I've had no issue bringing back small quantities of unlabeled cigars. I just declare them as "hand rolled". Usually the customs officer wants to see them, but once he sees that they don't have Cuban bands I get waved through. I wouldn't think there would be any easy way to tell a Cuban cigar from an actual hand rolled, unlabeled cigar, and bringing back four or five isn't large enough quantity for them to act on even if it is suspicious.

Don't smuggle though. The above is advice on how to bring home legal, hand rolled, unlabeled cigars. Enjoy your Cubans before you come home.
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Re: Montreal Border Crossing
« Reply #49 on: January 24, 2012, 12:33:53 PM »

Don't smuggle though. The above is advice on how to bring home legal, hand rolled, unlabeled cigars. Enjoy your Cubans before you come home.

I cannot officially endorse smuggling, but let it be said that if anyone breaks that dumbfuck of a law, I will raise no protest.

I am okay with believing that Cubans are people too, despite their grievous sin of having been born on the wrong side of an invisible line.
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