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Old 06-19-2008, 07:51 PM   #21
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Re: Border Crossing and Planes

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Originally Posted by YoungestPiperCUb View Post
The best way to do it and the safest is to go to a customs office and get serial number stickers for all your gear without serial numbers (planes, toolboxes, field boxes camping gear) and anything with serial numbers (radios, gps' etc.) bring them in and show them. Then get all those numbers put onto a green card and you will have no trouble. The office will sign and stamp the card.

If everything you are carrying in your car thats worth more than 50 bucks has a serial number either from factory or a government issued serial and you have all the cards signed and stamped from a canadian customs office listing those numbers you will not have any trouble at all. This can be done at any local airport with a customs office or at the border to i believe. I do it prior to leaving at waterloo wellington airport.

It looks good to the officers if they ask where did you get this plane or this radio or that gps to say in canada and show them the matching signed card. They cant really argue with that.

Plus all this is free to do and it doesnt take very long if you do it at an office not at the border.

This is excellent advice, and is close to what I do.

I travel to jet rallies in the US eight times a summer. My planes are, to say the least, a bit expensive. I do not want the hassle of being assessed taxes because I can't prove I brought them with me (if that happens, you have to then dig out your receipts and file a refund claim when you get home.) Whenever I am bringing a new plane with me, I stop at the Canadian side of the border first and get a "green card". A serial # is not necessary (but it does help) Usually, the Customs Agent will come out and have a look at the plane, then write down a short description and stamp the card. The nice thing is that you only have to do that once (per plane) as you can keep the "green card" for your next trip. (I have about 10 of them now. Some for planes that no longer exist. Sigh.)

Entering the US is a no big deal. Make sure you have proper identification that at least shows your Citizenship. A passport is the best, and is going to be required soon. If you don't have one, go get one. They may ask if you will be selling anything while there. I don't know what happens if you say yes, as I have never brought anything to sell. Occasionally they may ask how much cash you have. No big deal on that either, they are looking for large amounts, $10,000 or more, as that is an indication of money laundering. We've learned not to bother bringing any food across the border, the rules change all the time depending on what the latest scare is. We purchase food once we arrive at our destination.

Do drop in to the duty free shop. While there is not much stuff that actually has any duties, you can save on taxes, particularly booze.

On your return to Canada, if you have purchased more than the exemption ($50 after 24 hours, $400 after 48 hours, $750 after 7 days) then have your receipts ready. You'll have to pull over and go in to pay the taxes on the purchase amount that exceeds your exemption. If they ask you where the plane was purchased, you just need to say in Canada, and show them the "green card".

Above all, be honest, and only answer what is asked. Do not volunteer information. Look the Customs agent in the eyes while talking to them. I always take my sunglasses off and put on my regular glasses. I also always give the agent a friendly greeting as I drive up to the booth.

I've probably made almost 100 border crossings in the last 12 years, and I've never had any problems (except a few years ago, when I didn't do the "green card" thing, I got lectured a couple of times in a row. That's when I started getting the cards. I'm almost always have to show them now.)

Have fun!

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Old 06-19-2008, 08:41 PM   #22
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Re: Border Crossing and Planes

Originally Posted by Ken Currell View Post
I thought that they would only stamp green cards. Does the list need to have your name and address on it before they will stamp it?
We had all identification on it from the University and my home address. It would have been too much to put everything on a green card we had a drill press, several sanders and rotary tools, tons of spare parts, covering all kinds of different epoxies in tubes and quarts you name it we had it and more. We generally listed what we had and it was enough.

If I was going with just my personal stuff I would green card anything of value and have a paper list for my support equipment.

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Old 06-19-2008, 09:36 PM   #23
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Re: Border Crossing and Planes

>Canada Customs gets REALLY suspicious when you go to the States for a short time, and bring back nothing!

We cross the border three or four times each year, for 3-4 nights, with a station wagon packed almost to the roof with freeflights in wooden 'coffins' and cartons, equipment, luggage, cooler, etc and have never had problems with Customs in either direction. If anything, the guys and gals are interested in what I'm going to do and where .. or where I've been and why.

When asked what we're bringing back - I just have the legal dutyfree liquor allowance and maybe a half-full bottle extra, which is never queried ... if asked 'anything else' I point out I've been on a hot (hopefully) dry (hopefully) airfield, competing, for two/three 10-hour days and nowhere else . .no time to go shopping. 'On your way.....'

Maybe I have an honest face ...... lol ....
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