Somewhere in northeastern Romania. Photo taken November 30, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Not sure. We're staying in Chisinau for a week or so.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

I think we'll just avoid the U.S.

I thought about booking our flight back to Europe yesterday. A deal came up at a decent price ($584 CAD, or $460 USD) from Ottawa to Paris leaving after Christmas and returning in April.

But, it connected in Philadelphia. That causes a minor problem.

Because my current U.S. "Waiver of Inadmissability" expires in November.

This is the third waiver that I've had since I found out in 2007 that I am not welcome in the U.S. due to a minor indiscretion while hanging around with the wrong crowd 35 years ago. The first one was valid for 1 year. The second one 2 years, and this last one was 5 years.

This is what the great Department of Homeland Security is spending it's time on folks. Making sure people like me have to jump through hoops because we're such a threat to national security.

It's a joke.

And a very expensive joke.

It costs $585 USD ($775 CAD) just for the application fee. And another $25 CAD to get myself fingerprinted by the RCMP.

Then, I have to apply in person at a border point or airport preclearance location. Then, once you apply it takes between three and six months to actually receive the piece of paper.

There are thousands of people like myself who have had ages old minor arrest records (mine has since been pardoned a long time ago) and ever since 2003 when the U.S. talked Canada into sharing it's criminal database, have been getting surprised at the border when told they're not welcome without this piece of paper.

It's ridiculous, and a huge money grab, and I've decided that I don't want to play that game this year.

And so, we will just avoid the U.S. for now. There are lots of other countries that we're quite happy to visit, we just have to make sure that we don't book any flights with connections in the U.S..

I'll reconsider my position next May depending on what we're thinking of doing the following winter.

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30 comments:

  1. I am with you - a pure money grab. Don't get me started. I was born there and it takes about $10,000 to give up the citizenship - they expect me to file taxes yearly with them even though I don't even have a social security number. They can "shove" it.

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  2. Well, we have the same issue getting my wife into Canada. An offense 35 years ago as well. Never repeated!

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    1. Yes, it's true...Canada does the same thing to Americans. All in the interests of National Security, don't you know!

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  3. I lived in Williston, ND in the 1980s, a supervisor flew in and rented a car. He was driving into Canada to visit a drilling rig. When he got to the border, they asked what he had, checked his car and asked to look in the trunk. In the trunk of the car was a roll of some wire that he was completely unaware of and they wanted to give him a hard time for not declaring it. I have never crossed over into Canada, in spite of being less than 6 miles from there more than once. I asked him why that was such a big deal. He told me it is a mutual thing. If the US gives someone a hard time about something, Canada will push back with equal force. I know of a Canadian man who was arrested for a marijuana possession in the US decades ago. I have been told he is not ever going to be allowed back in the US. Since this is from someone else telling me this story, I wonder if in fact he will never be allowed back in the US, or if he just does not want to deal with the application and baloney involved.

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    1. When crossing the border it is important to know everything that is in your car because he didn't know about that roll of wire in the car there is always the possibility of other items in the car that could cause a problem and that can go either way for both countries.

      As for now being allow into the US of A for life for a marijuana charge, I believe it is true. The US is very strict on drug charges and from what we understand you will be turned down even if you try to fill out the "Waiver of Inadmissability" form. This also again works the other way with Canada not excepting anyone from the US with a drunk driving charge, again Canada is very strict on that and from what we have heard it is for life as well.

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  4. What airline offered that deal???

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  5. How ridiculous! After 35 years, REALLY. We need to keep a watch on people who did whatever 35 years ago. Just makes me SIGH......I had a run in with them in 2002 when I was told I could not renew my driver's license until I cleared up my name problem. What name problem? Well it seems that all of sudden it wasn't ok for me to have the nickname I've been called all my life on my driver's license if that wasn't the exact same name and spelling as on my original birth certificate, a name no one has ever called me. So I went to court and changed my birth name. Paper work and $35 was all but still, how stupid. Don't blame you at all for being irritated but of course neither Canada nor the US cares if anyone does or does not come through.

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    1. You're right, they don't care at all, one way or the other. We know that we have to play by their rules though, so it's a good thing we can simply decide not to play the game.

      There are 191 other countries in the world that we are quite happy to visit, without having to pay the extra $1,000 CAD!

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  6. I've never understood it. "Biggest trading partner". Apparently. Yet we treat each others citizens like dirt.
    One does need to have a passport along, just in case one is asked, but I've driven all over Europe and never had to stop at a border. Slow down, maybe, but that's it.

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    Replies
    1. Of course we always have our passports. Speaking of which, they are up for renewal this summer as well...

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  7. Does this apply to you driving over the border as well? We live a hop, skip, and a jump from the Canadian border (and would love to travel there), but we won't step foot into Canada while raising our grandson (until he's 18). We've had full custody since he was a baby, but we are afraid of what could possibly happen with entering or exiting the country. Just not something we want to take a chance with even though all our paperwork is official. I just don't trust the people at the border ;)

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    1. Oh yes...driving across as well as flying...

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    2. So what happens when you are ready to take Sherman back to Mexico? You have to fly there and have someone else drive him?
      I'm so sorry. As a US citizen I feel responsible and embarrassed. Of course there's NOTHING I could do about it nor to have caused such a stupid and greedy rule. Still.
      I have to ask, how is it that so many thousand illegals from Mexico make it into the US and Canada and stay here? But then we have TSA patting down grannies at the airport and flagging a straight arrow like Kevin Read. The double standard makes me furious. The only thing in common between those two examples is the stupidity of government.

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    3. When we want to go back to Mexico with Sherman then we will just have to fill out the form and pay them their money but then we will be good to go again for another 5 years. It is just a money grab and a pain and one that we don't need to do at this time so we might as well save our money for a little longer.

      As for the illegals from Mexico, they are crossing the border illegally so they aren't crossing at the actual border crossings like we would be! They are crossing in the dead of night risking their lives in the process.

      Delete
  8. Wow! I had no clue about any of this. My wife is a Canadian U.S. citizen. We've been going back and forth for years, and this is the first I've ever heard of this.
    I understand the need to restrict terrorism, but this petty tit for tat stuff is unbelievable. That said, one time while spending the weekend in Toronto we were in a big bookstore. A youngster expressed his desire for a certain book and his mother told him no way. She told him the bookstore was U.S. owned and they should go to a Canadian bookstore because she wasn't going to give them her hard earned money. That was my only clue about the underlying animosity.

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    1. If you have never had a problem with the law then you would never come across this situation.

      I think that it is only a minority of the population that might have this animosity. Look at all the Canadians that travel to the US of A, especially in the winter.

      Delete
  9. They sure are making you pay for your minor incident.

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    1. Yep. And I've pretty much decided that I've had enough.

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  10. There's not enough space for me to comment. Sad, sad, sad situation. I just don't get it.

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    1. Neither do we Chris, neither do we!

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  11. Let me see if I could figure this out ,,,,Sherman is up in Canada you're up in Canada Sherman wants to go to Mexico You're not allowed in the US unless you want to spend $$$$
    so it looks like you fly,,,Ruth Drives

    So if you're going from point A to Point B And none of the final destinations are USA you're not getting off or out of the terminal it seems you're in a neutral zone What are they going to do ship you back to Canada or off to Paris
    Have you broach that subject with your air carrier or the Canadian ???

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    Replies
    1. A) No, Ruth won't be driving the motorhome anywhere.

      B) We would not be taking any flight that connects in the U.S.. There are lots of places that we can fly that don't include connecting in the U.S..

      Delete
  12. If Lord forbid Trump gets elected, you will jump through more than hoops.

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    1. If it gets harder than it already is then we unfortunately won't be headed across the border. Which would be a shame because there is still so much to see there.

      Delete
  13. I know it's the principle of thing---Canadian pardons should be recognized, for chrissake---but look at it this way: for a mere $125 a year, we'll completely overlook that moral turpitude of yours haha.

    But you'll have to scale that new wall we'll be building. Which you will also have to pay for lol.

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    1. If you get a pardon before ever having a problem at the border then the border patrol would never see the charge and you would never have this problem but if you get the pardon after having the problem at the border, it will always remain there. So the trick is if you know you had a problem with the law then get a pardon ASAP before ever crossing the border.

      Yep, money buys everything! ;-)

      Delete
  14. I was also not welcome in the US even though my husband is American. We spent $5000 US to get me back into the US, we crossed the border only 3 times after that. Mow we don't want to go at all. Waste of money. The border agent told me I was not welcome in the US but I could emigrate. Does that make any sense?

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    1. We remember your issues with the border too! Sometimes it seems like they just don't want you there and if you want to go bad enough they they will let you but they are going to make it worth their while, as in you will have to fork over some big bucks!

      Delete

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