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FAQ

How does CBP and CBSA work along the land borders?
It's about 4 years since I crossed some of the land borders between the USA and Canada.   In all of the most recent crossings I've been part of a group.   I took a day trip from the USA into Canada and back from Glacier Park in Montana north to Canada.   Previously I was on a bus tour of Alaska which went from the USA to Canada and back to the USA and then I took a cruise from Alaska down to Vancouver BC.In all cases I only remember being checked when entering a country.   However, there is a difference between what you experience and what is going on electronically that you don't see.   The USA tracks all entries and exits electronically.   Not sure about Canada.
Are CBP officers (at land border) alerted as a global entry program member drives up to the window?
It wouldn’t surprise me but it makes no difference.If a global entry member has a global entry card and uses the trusted traveler lane this would be apparent anyway.If the global entry member doesn’t use the trusted lane it makes no difference unless the member violates the terms of membership, such as by failing to declare something. The member’s passport or green card is tied to the membership and if there is a customs or immigration violation, membership will be revoked.Not sure what you are fishing for.
How difficult is it to cross the border from Vietnam to Cambodia by land?
Not difficult at all…or maybe for a South East Asian like me.Cambodia is a VISA free country for Filipinos. Last October 2021. we visited Vietnam and crossed the border to Cambodia. We just went down for the immigration office, lineed up for our passports to be stamped and we are done! We were even assisted by the conductor of our bus. Our bags were not even checked, too. We just left it on our bus seat.The only problem we had encounter was that the conductor couldn't speak English. Our group (We were just 3) was the only foreigner group in the bus so we didn't really know what was happening. Good thing, there was a good young guy behind us who knew how to speak in English and helped us understand what the conductor was saying.
Do you agree on the new rules for Mexicans to enter the USA, as a tourist?
Which new rules actually??I went to renew my visa/border crossing card this past March 2021 after putting it away for two years after my last one expired, its a boring task to fill out the DS-160 form, then gather all your possible papers, documents, bank statements and all sort of “proofs” that you will not stay in the USA (no thanks!!), basically prcomplete evidence that you are who you are and intend to not be a problem to the USA when visiting.I expected the process to be much much much more complicated due to the rhetoric coming out from the White House that reduced the interview-free visa renewal process from 4 years to 1, so I was really not looking forward to the “interview” but actually found the process the polar opposite, let me tell you why:In years past if you wanted to schedule a visa interview, you had to at least schedule it 3–4 months in advance since all US consulates in Mexico where always fully booked, this time? surprise!! Lots and lots of free slots such that I could actually schedule my interview for next Monday (and it was a friday!). Since I was not going to gather all my papers so soon, I scheduled it for 10 days later, paid for it and done.. no biggie, the whole interview booking process took me 45 minutes complete with filling out the DS-160 form, paying with my credit card and printing a confirmation.I went to the visa processing center to have my picture and fingerprints taken, it was a process that took me‡ 20 minutes including parking nearby. The place was very very lonely, I was scheduled to enter the building at 11:00 am but since there was nobody, they let me enter at 10:25 when I arrived, I was out of the building at about 10:40 or so with all my duties for that appointment done, next day I would have my coninterview at the same time. How lonely was it? Well picture a place with 25 teller windows for processing visa seekers and only two in operation since there was no need for anything else.I went home and gathered all my bank statements, proofs of previous travel history, identity documents, etc, etc‡ I am sad to let you know I practically wasted an entire tree with printing all these 180 or so pages, why wasted? read on…I went next day to my appointment at the brand new US Consulate building in Monterrey and I really loved it this time, let me elaborate: at the old consulate building you had to go and find some parking place somewhere (it was located downtown), pay very expensive per hour fees, then have somebody you trust, accompany you and take care of your cellphone and valuables while you were at the interview since none are permitted inside the building.But this time it was totally a different experience and I loved it: there is FREE parking inside the consulate building after a brief security inspection by the city police, you can enter and securely leave your car parked with your valuable belongings and cell phone in there. You go upstairs to the building, show your papers and confirmation, then you queue for the metal detectors and later on for more fingerprinting.After the fingerprinting queue, you go to another queue for your interview, my actual interview took‡ 2 minutes!!! The conofficer questioned me about stuff I already wrote on my DS-160 form and then proceeded to tell me my US Visa was approved and that I could pick it up at the DHL office I had already selected when filling the form online, we exchanged thank-you’s and pleasantries and then I was out of the building with my approval notice in hand, oh and about the full ream of papers I was carrying? none of them was requested by the conofficer‡ so I had to go home and destroy all of them since they had very personal information.2 weeks later I received a DHS notice informing me that my visa was ready for pickup at the DHL office, they gave me the tracking number and I went to pick it up.After that since I will be traveling quite frequently to the US I went online and applied for Global Entry. After filling out the form in 15 minutes, and paying the fee, I had to wait 2 weeks to receive my conditional approval notification.Having received the notification, I went to the Laredo, TX CBP office with some more papers to have my “interview” with a US DHS officer who only asked me my name and to prmy passport and visa card, scanned them, took a picture of me and my fingerprints and told me that the card would arrive to my address 7 to 10 days later, which proved to be very accurate: it arrived 8 days later.So now in the era of Trump and all of his hateful-to-mexicans rhetoric I find it funny that it is even easier for me to lawfully enter the USA than before thanks to Global Entry benefits: crossing the US-Mexico bridge now takes me 7 minutes at the most compared to close to 3 hours previously (during peak travel days). Visiting via air? no problem! I can clear migration and customs even faster than some US Citizens who have no Global Entry benefits: I just go to the kiosk upon landing, input my info, print out the ticket, show it to the office and voila! I am out of the airport in less than 20 minutes after disembarking compared to the 3 or 4 hour queues I had to endure previously.So please, do not believe all that you hear about “tough guy Trump” making it harder for anyone to visit the USA and increased national protection due to some yet-to-be-announced rules (if ever) because the only thing that is changing is that the US is getting more and more isolated and it is suffering loss of income because of it.Let me show you why: years and decades back, border towns like Laredo and McAllen, TX where full of activity and everybody went shopping there from all parts of Mexico, even from places as far back as Mexico City (14 hours drive away).Now thanks to e-commerce, trade agreements and everything that has happened between our countries in the last 25 years, we no longer need to go to the border, we can import all we want from the USA and buy it at shops here, no need to go to the border. Border towns started to suffer “bigly” due to all these factors.Tourism was still a very big draw for Mexicans but with Trump in office, we have rather decided not to visit (as well as people from some other countries) and risk feeling unwelcome there, only very essential travel actually. In fact, non-stop plane tickets to european cities have gone down in price since there is now much more demand than previously was: with a USD/MXN exchange rate very similar to the EUR/MXN one and the GBP/MXN down too, it is way more attractive to visit Paris or London (where you actually feel very welcome as a Mexican) than New York for example.Trump is causing great damage to the USA but you yet have to see it to believe it, so let me show you a picture I took a few weeks ago while in Laredo, TX’s downtown, it is shocking to see lots and lots of places where previously there were stores and even supermarkets now totally boarded and closed. Mind you: these were stores full of activity and sales to thousands of people mainly from Mexico in any given day, now Laredo seems like a ghost town, a shell of what it used to be.Take a look:The previously very busy H-E-B supermarket in Laredo, TX downtown all boarded, closed and abandoned:Compared to my nearby H-E-B supermarket in Mexico:So in short: NO, you are not seeing less Mexican tourists in the USA because of “new rules” or whatever, we simply feel no desire to visit the USA anymore, we now have the same stores as you do (sometimes even more variety due to a stronger European brand presence in Mexico), the same or more luxurious shopping malls and stores as in the USA:So tell me again‡ why would we want to go up there when here we have everything you have there already? We used to go for shopping and tourism but now that shopping is out of the question, Tourism to feel unwelcome? with crime in cities like Chicago and New York similar or even higher than in some mexican cities?? (thanks MSM for the skewed perception!) risking imminent terrorism attacks due to your orange provocateur? no thanks!!!You can’t beat this for a small fraction of the price of Miami Beach and with better service and hospitality (Cancún México pictured):But hey good news, don’t feel envious!! You can now have our stores in the US too!!In short I love the USA and my dear gringo friends, but I am saddened that this is the first time in my life where I no longer admire you as I used to, i now feel pity for what you are going thru with a president even worse than the corrupt ones we have now and in the past.The saddest part is how the orange guy is lying and lying and lying to you with all this disinformation like the “new rules for tourists”, yet lots of you still believe him‡ hope you wake up soon from your nightmare.
Is it true that when presenting yourself at a US land border crossing you are effectively without any rights under US law, and therefore CBP does not have to afford you due process, and can treat you as they see fit?
Is it true that when presenting yourself at a US land border crossing you are effectively without any rights under US law, and therefore CBP does not have to afford you due process, and can treat you as they see fit?It might appear to be, especially if you are selected for a more thorough search. But no, it is certainly not true.All your rights under US law and the Constitution are intact when you cross the border, sort of.For example, you still have your fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure-BUT, the courts have ruled many times that the same level of suspicion the government needs to intrude upon those rights is much lower at the border. CBP can search your vehicle, your baggage, even your person, for virtually any reason whatsoever, even a hunch on the part of an officer.Some people are just plain contrary and don’t like being told what to do, no matter how professionally it is done. I’ve had individuals show me a passport, and then refuse to answer any questions or cooperate with a search of their luggage or vehicle. It doesn’t happen often, but it does occur often enough that nearly every officer has dealt with it before.Try to put yourself in the CBP officer’s shoes for a moment: They have an individual in front of them. They know almost nothing abut the person: their identity, where they are coming from, where they’ve been, what they’re bringing with them, if they pose a threat of any sort. Of course, the officer’s immediate concern is for their safety, and the safety of their colleagues and the public.A US citizen is better off than a non-citizen at the border. A citizen might be arrested if they are committing a serious infraction, such as drug smuggling. But a citizen that’s just being a pain in the ass will not be refused entry, as long as their US citizenship can be verified.A non-citizen who decides to be uncooperative will most likely be refused entry. If there are extenuating circumstances, officers have broad authority to initiate unilateral, formal removal proceedings that could bar the individual from the US for a number of years, and expose them to arrest if they attempt to re-enter the country.But here’s the thing: CBP officers are like anyone else. Some are highly motivated law enforcement officers, others do what’s necessary, when they have to. Processing violations and making arrests can be extremely stressful and hard work. Monday morning “quarterbacks” will look over your work at their leisure and be only too happy to point out the uncrossed t’s and undotted i’s.More than a million people a day enter the US through our ports of entry. Screening people, vehicles, cargo and containers is a pretty big job. Because of the sheer numbers involved, CBP detects numerous violations of Custom and Immigration laws and makes tens of thousands of arrests every year.However, when you’re crossing the border, CBP holds all the cards. Cooperate, answer questions truthfully, and your interaction with CBP will likely be quick, easy and inconsequential.Be uncooperative or less than forthcoming, and you’ll likely be A bit uncomfortable with the process.