A recent CBC report is reporting that there appears to be an increase in five-year bans being handed out by U.S. border guards to Canadians trying to enter the United States.
The bans, referred to as "expedited removals", are at the discretion of an immigration officer and don't have to go before a judge.
While the cases cited in the article don’t appear to involve snowbirds, it is a concerning trend and should give snowbirds pause that they need to be properly prepared and have documents to back up their travel intent when crossing the U.S. border.
Snowbirds should remember that while they can generally stay for up to 6 months in the U.S. it is up to them to prove that their intention is to visit and not remain in the U.S., that they have sufficient funds to cover their stay and that they own or are renting a vacation property in the U.S.
What can you do to avoid trouble at the border?
- Bring documents proving that you have secured a winter vacation rental (such as a signed lease) or evidence that you own a U.S. vacation property.
- Provide proof of funds in a Canadian or U.S. bank account, or even an investment statement.
- Officers may want to see evidence of your ties to Canada, such as home ownership, employment, utility bills, etc…
We suggest carrying a file with you that has all the relevant information you may need. And remember, always be consistent and truthful in your answers to border guards and do not attempt to carry any cannabis products, including CBD oil across the border.
You can also find some additional tips on being prepared to cross the border in this CTV report.