Only 2 booths open in the evening ?
Even walking across to the USA side on a busy summer weekend can be a bit of a wait. Two weeks back I walked across and there was about a dozen people ahead of me. So we stood in a line line we were at a grocery store. Some people it seemed didn't have proper documentation so that was a pain as they then had to go sit in a room just to the left of the entrance inside. After about a 20 min wait it was my turn, there was only 2 customs officers working too, I gave him my Nexus Card, he swiped it, asked where I was going, told him to the Hard Rocks Café, he said "You have one on your side what brings you to the one on this side, I said I am meeting two friends from Buffalo there for lunch, he smiled and said "Enjoy the rest of your day."
I got sent over to immigration walking back into Canada last winter. I wanted to see NY state park in the snow and didn't know 3 sister island was closed and same with the walkways right near the edge of the falls (on the Canadian side the walks all stay open and get salted)
Well I guess I seem odd for going across on a cold windy morning and I was breathing hard by the time I got back to Canada (an officer told me it was from the cold air outside--yeah but I guess I'm older then I want to believe sometimes, lol)
After a few pointed questions and lots of clicking/typing in customs computers, I was sent on my way. Did not feel very welcome back, most times immigration tries to be cheerful on the Sarnia crossing. I got sent over there too when I came back to Canada in June--back to back immigration visits for me. The officer in Sarnia asked me more questions but was friendly the whole time. Felt more welcome if it means anything, I guess not but was more pleasant.
Would be great if customs did even a better job on stopping all smuggling. For all the long lines, wait times, screenings, hard drugs that can not be grown in the US or Canada still seem to be around in mass amounts. We got teenagers shooting up smack in nice well to do cities around me. Where is customs to stop the junk from coming in ? I guess they catch some but mass amounts are still sneaking across. Do customs need even more money or what ?Edited: 7:46 pm, August 26, 2013
Customs worries more about shopping receipts. The economy is more important to Canada Customs than worrying about guns and drugs. US Customs finds it odd to walk across to check out their State Park but just shrug and send you on your way. Canada Customs thinks it is weird for tourists to want to walk across to the US side unless you go to shop. Sad that they make people feel ininvited or unwelcome home. I just view it as an expected inconvenience for a short time.
I have found when walking across the Rainbow bridge, I've had no problems going there or back except for the US Customs guy that called me a bleeding heart liberal, I have found Canada Customs much harder on myself when I have driven across for sure....
I gave him my Nexus Card, he swiped it, asked where I was going, told him to the Hard Rocks Café, he said "You have one on your side what brings you to the one on this side
Amazing..even with a Nexus card and all the clearance you go through to get it, they still insist on asking quesitons like that.
I have found that they don't care if you have a nexus card or a passport. Taking the bus across to the Buffalo Airport and having my flight and hotel itinerary printed out the guy still asks me why I am going to the destination and how much money I am bringing. But I found that US Customs just ask a couple of questions. Canada Customs I give my card and they still grill me why I was in the USA etc.
Crossing the border is a real crapshoot! It is a sunny day it is a Saturday. We cross Lewiston at 5:30pm thinking the day trippers have been over much earlier. Still have to wait 33 mins, partly because our border agent is having a bad hair day and taking 3 times as long as the line next to us. He is worried about the imminent shut down of the US government on Monday when he will have no pay only an IOU!
We look across to to cars entering Canada, wow the line up stretches for miles. So we decide to have a leisurely meal and let the lineup go through so we can breeze through later.
Were we wrong! It took us 1 hour and 33 minutes to get through. First they have you reduce to one lane, this later expands to two. Then as you see the custom booths you are fed back to one lane. They have 8 booths open (US only had six) again a bad choice of lanes! The good lady sent 4 cars ahead to be inspected and was taking up to four minutes to pass a car. She did not look like a happy camper at all very sour.
What were all these people coming over the border at this time of day? We thought there was a security alert which was causing the delay. Maybe they were avoiding the Peace bridge?
You just have to be lucky as to which line you pick! Maybe they will finish the construction both ways some time in the next couple of years!
No more sunny Saturdays to cross at Lewiston!
Growing up a 2-3 hr wait at either border was normal. I think they are much faster now. The speed at which the cars are checked really does not have much to do with the Agent, often one of them seems to get all the "concerning" cars that day. The last time we came back into Canada, the agent kept asking questions that are not normally asked, almost like delaying us. We realized he was waiting for his computer to come back with the OK, so to kill time he just asked a few questions.
They can tell by your answers if there is something to be concerned about, even if they seem silly.
One time going into the US, upon asking where we were going, and then asked why (as not too many people would go there from where we were entering the US) she proceeded to give us some good places to find dinner.
I could see why they were concerned about someone only going over the border for a couple of hours, too easy to meet up with a drug dealer.
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