Crossing The Border

Originally posted Spring 2008

At some point in time, one may find themselves driving across the United States Border to either Mexico or Canada. By crossing the border, one might have interest in moving to that country, or just visiting for a while. There are a few differences between customs at the Mexican border and customs at the Canadian border, but for the most part, gaining entry into another country is a big deal and there are many rules and regulations that one must follow to go through with this. Crossing into either Mexico or Canada is not as difficult or time-consuming as it is coming back into the United States. The same laws apply to travel by bus, train, car, or foot.

Juridic Controls
To enter Canada or Mexico, one needs to come prepared to show proof of legal ownership of their vehicle that they are driving, the leasing contract, a valid driver’s license issued in the United States, a major international credit card, a passport or birth certificate. Citizens who are 19 years and older need to have these things, where–as children age 18 and younger will be able to enter with proof of citizenship by providing a birth certificate or passport. When traveling into both countries, there are certain things you cannot bring such as some pets (birds, turtles, and fish), uncertified cats or dogs, no more than 3 liters of alcohol, 200 cigarettes of 50 cigars or 2 kilograms of tobacco. Any weapons that are not going to be used for sporting use are prohibited. You also need to say how long you are planning on staying in the country, where you’re from, where you will be going, and the purpose of your trip. You need to let them know if there is anything that you plan on leaving behind. If you are driving a rental car, you need to have written proof that says you can take that car across the border. When traveling back into the United States, laws are a little more strict. You can’t bring any birds, wildlife, plants, fruits or vegetables, certain kinds of foods, fireworks, any illegal substances, and more. Customs has the right to check your vehicle if there is any suspicion of anyone bringing any illegal substances or any items that aren’t allowed to be brought back into the United States. (Canadian Controls)(Mexican Controls)

Because these controls are used, it makes crossing the border extremely burdensome and difficult to do. One has to keep in mind every rule to follow when crossing, as well as bringing all certificates for every individual in the car. These rules can be very frustrating to abide by, and also burdensome are the lines that one might have to wait in. The governments of The United States, Canada, and Mexico work together to abide by the laws of all three countries and keep the welfare of all individuals in mind.

Escaping Juridic Controls
It is hard to escape or minimize these controls. To eliminate these specific controls, one might consider flying across the border, crossing in unwatched areas, taking a boat, or not going at all. There are not very many ways to avoid these controls, so if you’re not interested in dealing with them, I would suggest not traveling across the border by car, train, bus, or foot. In other words, stay where you are, use your imagination for travel and consider values such as love your place and local pride.

Revised, fall 2008

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