From travel bans and social media scrutiny to what happens if you admit smoking marijuana or get caught in a lie, here are six things about U.S. border rules you should know.
1. The Trump travel ban
Anyone holding a Canadian passport should theoretically be fine, but things could still be uncomfortable for a person born or raised in one of the banned countries who now is a Canadian citizen.
2. Your life is an open book
The idea of giving a border guard your social media passwords might seem like a hill worth dying on. But unless you’re willing to risk future access to the U.S., you should make peace with the idea that there are just no secrets at the border.
3. Don’t get caught lying
If you get caught lying to a U.S. border official, chances are you’ll be banned for life from entry. Somewhere down the line you might be able to obtain a waiver and get in, but it will be an expensive hassle.
4. The marijuana Catch-22
While lying could get you banned, there is also an increasingly common scenario where being truthful can do the same. A lesser-known border rule is that if you admit to the elements of what would be considered a crime in the U.S., you can be inadmissible for life.
5. Know your rights, or lack thereof
You do have some options if things become uncomfortable. If you’ve decided you don’t want to answer certain questions or unlock your phone, you can simply withdraw your application to enter, and cancel your trip.
6. The common sense part
Now that you’re on the edge of panic about your U.S. trip, take a breath. The fact is that the vast majority of Canadians who try to cross into the United States do so with little or no problem. Canadians make more than 30 million cross-border trips a year, and the U.S. is in no hurry to turn away our tourism dollars.