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My border crossing
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-07-02 20:02:47 | Mars Hill, Maine, United States
Keywords: border, crossing, foot
Right from the start of my planning, I was afraid of that initial border crossing... to enter the USA. But I've been in the US at least a dozen of times without a problem... why this time? Because I was crossing the border by foot and without any return ticket to come back “home”. I knew it would not be a simple “Hi, here's my passport... have a nice day!” crossing.

I had to cross the border by foot since there's no ground public transportation between the Maritimes and the US anymore. There used to be ferries between Nova Scotia and the Maine, but that has stopped. In order to cross using a transporter I would have had to come back to Montreal. I found that a LONG ride back and by principle I didn't want to return to Montreal.

So, my solution was to go to a border city and cross the border by foot. Being a Canadian citizen with a spotless record, I didn't anticipate much problem, but I knew it would be complex and long due to the nature of my crossing and of my trip. It's not a weekend in New York.

So, I got off the bus in Florenceville, New Brunswick, using the old bridge you see above. I was about 15 km away from the border. I began walking it... and after about 2 km, I was offered a ride. The local dropped me just before the Canadian border and I walked the 500 remaining meters or so.

As I arrived to the US customs officer, I handed my passport and he directed me to go inside (no surprise). I explained my situation to the officer on duty (it was her first day at that border office, she was a bit puzzled). Since I was an exceptional case, I had to meet her supervisor and discuss my project. But, I was ready for that. I didn't have all my documents ready, but I had them all. After she examined all my documents she went through all my luggage and wallets, making sure I wasn't transporting any weapon or similar stuff.

Here's the list of the documents I had prepared for that border crossing. It's basically what I will have to present on every border crossing... but it was quite unusual to do it at the US border:

  • Passport of course

  • Proof I don't have a criminal record, provided by the federal police (RCMP), based on my finger prints

  • Bank statement proving I had the resources to sustain myself while in the US (I provided it on electronic form and they consulted it directly onto my tablet)

  • Itinerary for my trip in the Americas and for the American segment

  • Address of my first night in the US (standard request)

  • She wanted to see another piece of ID, I showed my birth certificate

That was it. As a regular Canadian, I have access to the US for 6 months without a visa. But since I was in a special situation, I had to pay $6 to get a formal muti-entry visa valid for 6 months. That will ease my other crossings when I'll re-enter the USA in the next few months.

After all the verifications, I had their blessings to enter. The whole process took about 45 mins, which is not too bad. Both the front officer and her supervisor were very friendly and helpful.

I then left on foot and walked for about a kilometre before I was offered a lift to reach my hotel in Mars Hill, Maine.

It was the first time I was crossing a border by foot, and the first time I changed timezone (I'm back to Eastern Time) that way too. It was a bit stressful but overall a pleasant experience.

Related posts:
Panama to Colombia, day 4
Visa Run Guatemala – Mexico
My entrance into Belize
Vancouver to Tijuana
How many ways to cross a border?


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