Hey nomads, pirates, and travelers, here i wanna share my experience with the canadian customs/immigrations...a couple days ago, may its interesting for some of you;)
The last 3 month I was traveling in Canada with a normal tourist-visa, so I was not allowed to do any kind of work there. But as I heard from the fruit-picking in the okanagan- valley, I went there and found myself working a couple weeks in cherry- and apple-picking to refill my travel budget up a little. My experiences in this job you can see if you scroll down in my blog;)
After the 3 month, I decided to do a little road trip from Seattle down the west coast till San francisco with a friend for like 10 days. After my tent and some important stuff got stolen in the US, I decided to go back to Canada to try some grape-picking and visit my girlfriend up in Montreal. So I booked a flight from San Fran. to Kelowna, BC, with a stop in Seattle.
When I landed in Kelowna the guy who watched my stamps in my passport, he asked me the usual questions (why you wanna stay here for 2 months, what you did in the US....do you have enough money, etc....
When I realized that he didn't give me a stamp, I knew that they will control me ... so I waited a couple minutes and the two "officers" took me in a little room beside and startet asking me EVERYTHING .... everything about the US and specially about my first stay and what I did 3 months in Canada.
The first 2 hours I was kind of bullshitting on them, of course... I mean I told them everything except that I did some picking jobs.
But than they startet to searched and controlled all my stuff and also my laptop and even my Facebook-chats.
So finally they found 3 or 4 telephone-numbers of some orchards in a little book and some points in my Facebook chats, that I was picking this summer, and that I planned to try grape picking now, too.
Also they found my canadian bank account. But in the end they couldn't proof how much money I made, there was like 80 dollars on that Bankaccount...so all they had, was some chats with my friends.
Anyway, it was enough for them to take my passport and asked me for like 3,5 hours and made a bunch of protocols, which I had to sign... than they told me that its late now and they will decide tomorrow, what they gonna do with me... Also they told me if I´ll not be on time tomorrow morning they will send out the cops and bann me for the rest of my life.
Of course I slept in the Airport and I was on time. Than the other guy (he had the power to make the final decision) started asking me all the same questions again for like 2 hours, a lot of paperwork and bullshitting but in the end they´ve been fair enough and polite all the time.
At the end he asked me if I wanna say something else. So I used my chance and apologized for what I did and that the money never left the country and that the jobs just came along my way and that I never planned to come here to work and that right now I just wanna see my girlfriend for a couple days and that I could buy a flight ticket now to show him that I don't wanna stay long in Canada. But it was not enough and he decided to kick me out and give me a 1 year ban for Canada, than he gave me some advices for my next time...that its not hard to get a work-visa etc.
So they kept my passport and escorted me till the security control, just than they gave me back my passport, my flight ticket and some paperwork. (Nobody asked me to pay that flight back and he told me that the airline is responsible for that.)
When I landed in Seattle, there have been two immigration-officers waiting for me direct out of the plane....same procedure, they took me in a small room and searched through my stuff. I have to admit, that I expected a really rough question-answer-game.... I have have to tell they´ve been really friendly, correct and even made some jokes, specially after I told them everything what happened honestly.
He said, technically I never left the US and that my stamp is still actual and just because Canada banned me for a year doesn´t mean, that the US do the same.....and I just picked some fruits and I was honest so it´s all good and I can stay if I want.
I showed him that I already booked a flight to Germany so I would just stay 2 days...that was ok for them and after a dog came in and searched for drugs, they let me go.
So in a couple hours there´s my flight back to Germany, and I´m happy to see my family and my friends at least for a couple weeks before I hit the road again;)
And my lovely girlfriend will come in one month for a couple days to europe to see me.
If you plan to do something similar, delete everything ...EVERYTHINg from your laptop/iphone/ travel journey....what ever!!! Or just get a work-Visa;)