What is it about border crossings and customs agents that makes me crazy? I know we all have our own personal stories that we love to share.
Like the one about 40 years ago my husband and I were driving through Maine into Quebec and we stopped to purchase bath towels. Back then buying bath towels made in the USA was the thing to do! Anyways, we had to pay duty and we didn’t have cash. My husband had to drive to a bank in the nearest town – but I was instructed to sit and wait…
OR, the time my Mom and I went to Buffalo and power shopped for the day. Our car was searched and they found a Canadian gas receipt from the night before – negating our “there for the weekend” story. The entire car was unloaded and they calculated the duty on our purchases. We had cut off the price tags – and thrown out the receipts – so they estimated their own purchase price for duty calculation. I still think we paid too much!
It felt like this border crossing was no different – it was driving me crazy!
Chuck, we need to rehearse our answers.
Questions they might ask us at customs.
Honey, they love us at customs!
Yes, but we’ve never stayed for 6 months before either… or had the dog and cat…or…
- Where do you live?
- Where are you going?
- How long are you staying?
- Do you have pets?
- Are their shots up to date?
- Do you have the certificates from the vet?
- Do you have any citrus or tropical fruits? [prohibited in State of WA]
- Do you have any peppers, tomatoes, green onions, chives, garlic chives or leeks? [prohibited in State of WA]
- Any potatoes? [Vancouver Island, Alberta and Maritime potatoes are prohibited]
- Any lamb or goat? [prohibited] [ beef, bison, poultry & pork are allowed provided they are limited to 50 lbs…]
- Is your pet food in its original packaging?
- Any wild game?
- Do you have a valid hunting license?Honey, they are NOT going to ask us all this? Well, they might… They might even come in and check…
Chuck, we need to rehearse our answers.
Yes, now that we’re driving separately they could try and test us…
Honey – our fridge is empty, the cupboards bare, the wine is gone – just tell the truth and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
AT CANADIAN CUSTOMS
“Where are you heading?” [Southern California]
“I’m traveling with my husband – he’s behind in the motor home.”
“How long are you going to be gone?” [Five Months]
“Any fruit or vegetables in the truck?” [No]
“Any alcohol or tobacco?” [No]
Have a good trip!
“Any fruit or vegetables” [No]
“Any tobacco, alcohol or firearms?” [Just alcohol]
“How much? More than 2 liters?” [No]
Have a good trip to Southern California!
AT US CUSTOMS – ANACORTES
“Where are you heading?” [Eventually Southern California]
“My husband is behind in the motor coach. A little mechanical difficulty but he’ll be coming through shortly.”
“You can wait for him over there across the street or there’s a parking lot just up the street.
O.K. – thanks
“Leaving anything behind in the US?” [No]
“What about the dog?” [Noooo]
“Too bad – have a good trip!”
…with the steps down he was instructed to go in the middle lane.
Do you think I’ll be able to get through? Oh ya – said the 1st agent. But Chuck eyeballing the situation thought differently – and as he got closer to the kiosk the 2nd customs agent finally agreed. Now what to do? The customs agent pushed and pulled and you know the rest… While all of this was going on the motorhome in front of him was being inspected – inside and out and the line of cars behind were waiting longer and longer.
Whew, we could get through the kiosk! Chuck to the agent – “where were you a couple of hours ago when I really could have used your help?” The agent laughing, said – “have a nice trip”! He didn’t even look at Chuck’s passport…or ask him any questions…or inspect the coach.
Chuck is right – again! All of those cliches he just loves to use – honesty is the best policy; It’ll be ok; don’t worry; maintain a positive attitude…
Me – we need to rehearse our answers!