Damn, I was hoping at least for some sort of uber polite query at the border...just to be sure to keep the riff raff out.
I'm so glad we didn't wait any longer...hubs is super excited to be coming too!
He said he'd be happy to speak about mustachian hair care ;-)
Oh, JR said something about getting papers together...I've never crossed the border by road...do I need anything more than my passport to enter Canada? Do I have to ask permission first?
Your passport is all you need. No permission required :)
Or a "permission to come aboard (ma'am, sir)?"
Its likely worthwhile to point out that at the border you will get a short set of questions.
We get out our passports/birth certificates/drivers licenses a few miles before the border, and the person in the passenger seat opens all of them to the photo page so the driver can give them to the border dude easily.
When you pull up to the window, the guard will usually ask 2 or three questions, along these lines:
- Where are you going? Who will you be staying with? Where will you be staying?
- Where are you from?
- How many are in the car? (they may want to talk to everyone individually)
- What is the purpose of this trip - Business or pleasure?
- Do you have any weapons?
- Do you have any food?
- How much cash are you carrying?
- Please open your trunk.
- Do you have a police record/criminal convictions?
If there are no weird answers and no flags are set off, you drive off merrily on your way. Sometimes something you say will set off the guard, or you will be the lucky candidate for a random secondary inspection. If this is the case, you will be handed a chit and asked to pull into "secondary inspection".
When pull in to secondary, you hand your chit to the friendly border guard who will ask everyone to get out of the car and stand "over there". The guard will then take a look at your documentation and give the car a cursory glance. A sniffer dog may walk around the car. Normally things end there, you hop back in the car and carry on.
If the secondary uncovers something incongruous (you said you were travelling for pleasure, but you have a contract for work in the car... etc.) you will be taken inside for more thorough questioning. This is where shit gets real. It has only happened to me once. Actually, they took my 3 yr old daughter in to question her. As soon as the "policeman" got her behind the counter she started screaming "Daddy don't let them take me away!!!" and that was proof they needed that she was my kid and I was not abducting her. They gave her back and we drove on.
Basically if you let them know you are travelling for pleasure, have all your personal papers nicely together, and are pleasant you should have no issues at all. We've crossed the border literally hundreds of times, and have been pulled aside maybe ten times. Max.