Residents of Vancouver have, until recently, had few problems crossing the border from British Columbia to visit friends or family in Seattle. U.S. immigration lawyers in Vancouver say they have noticed an increase in incidents in which residents of Canada are denied entry and even banned from entering the U.S. One case involves a Vancouver woman who was refused entry and told to get a visa before trying to cross the border again.
Reportedly, the woman and her partner arrived at the border crossing on their way to Seattle for a visit with her godfather. She reports being held and questioned for almost five hours. The woman asserts that she has no criminal record and that she had been back and forth across the border frequently in the past with no problems. Although the border agents did not deny entry to the woman’s partner, they did go through both of their wallets and cell phones.
Canadians do not typically need visas when they travel to the U.S., and there was no explanation why border agents ordered her to get one before her next trip to Seattle. The woman, who says she has many friends and family in the United States, had not tried to cross the border since she was denied entry. She claims that she has since checked on her case, and although it is marked closed, she had not received an email or a letter from authorities.
For Vancouver residents who want to cross the border for trips to Seattle or other destinations in Washington state, it might be a good idea to consult with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer who has specific experience in border law. A lawyer can explain the requirements and help to prepare the necessary documentation for smooth border crossings. If there are unexpected problems, legal counsel can advocate for the client.