Vancouver Immigration And Cross-Border Injury Law Blog

US immigration cell phone searches are allowed at border crossing

A lot is being said about the rights of border agents to search the phones of Canadians crossing the border. Vancouver residents who plan to travel across the border to Seattle might be unsure about the criteria for when extensive cell phone searches are allowed. U.S. immigration issued a directive in January that explains the limits on border agents' rights when it comes to downloading documents from cloud storage and uploading or analyzing files.

According to the Border Search of Electronic Devices directive, agents do not need probable cause to demand a password be supplied to gain access to a phone. The owner of the device may refuse. However, that might lead to the phone being detained or seized. Travel could be delayed, and non-U.S. citizens might even be denied entry.

Cross-border personal injury claim challenges for TBI victims

When British Columbia residents travel across the border into Washington, the last thing on their minds would likely be the possibility of being involved in an automobile accident. However, crashes occur when they are least expected. When there are catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, dealing with insurance and legalities of cross-border personal injury on both sides of the border could be challenging.

Traumatic brain injuries affect people in different ways. One problem relates to their communication abilities, through speaking, written language, body language and gestures. The problems that could develop can vary, and if the areas of the brain that control the muscles used for speech are damaged, it will cause dysarthria. This condition causes slow, slurred speech, which makes it difficult for others to understand.

US immigration: Be prepared for taking children across the border

British Columbia parents who want to take their children along on a trip across the border will ease the process by gathering knowledge about passports and other requirements at the start of their planning. Because of the ever-increasing problem with child trafficking, parents can expect extra scrutiny and questioning by border officials. Although the preferred travel documents are passports, U.S. immigration laws allow Canadian citizens who are not older than 15 years to cross the border with certified birth certificate copies.

This applies to sea and land crossings, and children must have proof of parental consent. When a minor travels with only one parent, written permission from the other parent must accompany the child. If the parents are divorced, border officials will also want a copy of the child custody court order. The contact details of the other parent might be required if officers want to call to confirm his or her consent.

How to keep US Immigration officers happy at a border crossing

When British Columbia residents plan to travel across the border, it is a good idea to be prepared. U.S. Immigration officials can ask as many questions as they like, and there are ways to avoid unnecessary delays. Advisers say the first step is to have the correct documentation ready for presentation to the customs and border protection officers.

Telling the truth and answering questions truthfully is crucial. Being caught in a lie can be detrimental to future travels because records are kept of each person's border crossings. Furthermore, criminal convictions, pending criminal trials and warrants must be declared and could affect permission to cross into the United States.

Cross-border personal injury can come in many forms

Most people do not consider the possibility of being involved in car accidents as they travel around in British Columbia, knowing that their auto insurance is in place to take care of the financial consequences of such incidents. However, matters could become complicated when they suffer a cross-border personal injury while on a trip south of the border. Even a collision at a slow speed can cause serious injuries with long-term consequences.

The whiplash motion of the head and neck at the impact of a crash can cause traumatic brain injuries. Even without visible wounds, cuts or bruises, the jostling of the brain inside the skull can cause bruising, swelling or bleeding of the brain. That motion can also cause neck injuries such as muscle strain or even spinal disc injuries or cervical dislocation. Vertebrae and spinal discs in the lower back are often damaged in car accidents, and in severe cases, fractured vertebrae and damaged discs can cause injuries to the spinal cord. When these nerve cells can no longer carry signals to the brain and back to the rest of the body, loss of feeling or function can occur, and it might lead to paralysis.

US Immigration laws for Canadian business owners carrying sampl

A business owner in British Columbia who is planning a trip to the United States to market a company's products must ensure the appropriate documentation is in place for any commercial samples he or she will take across the border. Business travellers might find that the complexities of the U.S. immigration laws increase the complexity of such a business trip. Several options exist to facilitate the transportation of commercial samples across the border into the United States.

The suitable choice will likely depend on whether the business traveller plans to sell the samples as merchandise in the United States or to bring them back when returning to British Columbia. If the applicable import duty and taxes are paid upon crossing the border, the business owner will be free to move about the United States and to either sell the samples or export them into Canada again upon his or her return. Exporting the merchandise may allow a refund of duties if they are in the same condition as when they were imported.

How will you deal with hit-and-run cross-border personal injury?

Accidents can happen to anybody at any time. It is never easy to deal with injuries, but if a British Columbia resident is involved in a crash while on a trip south of the border, things can get complicated. Dealing with doctors, hospitals, medical expenses, insurance and other cross-border personal injury issues could be overwhelming.

Challenges can be exacerbated if a hit-and-run driver causes the injuries. An example of such an accident is one that recently occurred in a U.S. state on a recent Wednesday. Reportedly, a Canadian family rented two pedicabs -- one for the 32-year-old mother and their 5-year-old daughter, and the other one for the 33-year-old father and the 8-year-old daughter. While they were out enjoying the rides, an alleged negligent driver allegedly struck the one pedicab, causing it to smash into the other pedicab.

How will cannabis users deal with U.S. immigration laws?

The British Columbia representative in the Canadian Senate recently warned her constituents of potential problems that could arise when they cross the border to enter the United States. She says the imminent legalization of recreational marijuana and the relevant U.S. immigration laws could see Canadians facing heavy penalties. In fact, they might even be barred from the U.S. for life.

One of the questions U.S. border officials typically ask Canadian border-crossers is whether they use or have ever used cannabis. This question is like a double-edged sword for some because regardless of what they answer, entry into the U.S. will be a problem. If a person confirms that he or she had used marijuana in the past, the entry would likely be refused. However, if someone answers no, and it is later determined that it was a false reply, he or she may face fraud charges and might even be refused any future entry into the United States.

U.S. immigration rules cause confusion for Canadian vendor

Although there have been no formal changes to the requirements for visitors from British Columbia or other Canadian regions who want to travel across the border, everyone undergoes a higher level of scrutiny than before. The U.S. immigration control at the border recently caused an owner of a Canadian business significant losses. Her experience underscores the need for seeking legal counsel when planning a trip south of the border.

The owner of a small business -- who had travelled to and from the U.S. many times -- registered as a vendor at a two-day yarn festival in the United States where she planned to sell her products. An employee and some relatives accompanied her. She claims her planning for the trip included obtaining information about required travel documents from a U.S. immigration enquiry phone line, and she used a customs broker to assist with the necessary paperwork to allow her to trade at the event.

Cross-border car accidents can have serious economic consequences

If you suffered severe injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you might be struggling to cope with the financial consequences. It could be extremely complicated to recover your losses if this happened while you were across the border on a shopping trip, for a sports event or a visit. It might be a good idea to consult with an experienced British Columbia personal injury lawyer who can help you explore the various options for financial assistance.

Medical care does not come cheap, and you may have to make some up-front payments before receiving treatment. Mounting medical bills could become overwhelming, especially if you are in another country.

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