Leaving from Canada for a work trip?
June 6, 2014 6:02 PM   Subscribe

I am a US citizen working for a US company who is being sent to Europe later this year on a temporary (~1 month) work assignment. My ability to work in the destination country is not an issue. My flight to get to and return from the destination leaves from Canada. I have a NEXUS card but won't be arriving in Canada via a NEXUS lane, so I'll do regular land-based Canadian immigration. How do I tell them the purpose of my visit? If I say "flying to Europe," is "for work" an acceptable answer if they ask why, or will CBSA even ask why? I'll have copies of my air tickets away from and back to Canada, along with proof of ties to the US. Am I over thinking this?
posted by fireoyster to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
I think you're overthinking it. As a US citizen, I've always had an easier time getting into Canada via the land borders than I have getting back into the US via those same borders. "I'm flying out of [x airport] to [destination] for work" is totally valid, and given the number of my friends who've done similar flights, not uncommon for then to hear.
posted by olinerd at 6:08 PM on June 6, 2014

You're overthinking it. Just be honest and tell them you are flying to (insert final destination). If they ask why, tell them it's for work.
posted by joan_holloway at 6:09 PM on June 6, 2014

Whenever I've transited in Canada, they've been satisfied with "in transit".
posted by caek at 6:11 PM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Totally overthinking it.
posted by Brockles at 6:18 PM on June 6, 2014

I showed up in Canada last month with no boarding pass to my connecting flight, just an email with the details (I was rebooked when I was already at the airport and then more chaos ensued). I said I was in Canada for 1 day on the landing card (I didn't know whether to put 0 or 1), the immigration officer said "What are you doing in Canada for a day?" (sounding a tad suspicious), I said "Transiting. I'm going to Heathrow." and it was totally fine. (I had ticked 'for pleasure' rather than 'for work' on my landing card, which was accurate. Saying 1 day and business is probably less weird. But it was like 9pm.)

If you're on Air Canada via Toronto, there's actually a separate immigration line for connecting passengers that leads back to the departure gates rather than going through the main immigration near the baggage claim, so they know you're transiting already. I said to the guy in that line "I have no boarding pass and I'm pretty sure I missed the connection" and he even checked that there was another flight, told me I had two hours and to go through the main immigration and where to go to get rebooked. I was shocked that he didn't yell at me, which is totally what would have happened in the US.
posted by hoyland at 6:20 PM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

You are over thinking it. You have a connecting flight/are transiting. They will only care about you if you try to stay in Canada.

(Also, your use of nexus or not is irrelevant in this situation.)
posted by Kololo at 6:25 PM on June 6, 2014

I recently drove to Canada from the US to get a flight back to the US (was the easiest way to get to Traverse City MI from Central VT at reasonable hours, Montreal is a bigger airport with better flights than Burlington) and I said I was flying to the US "for work" which was maybe even weirder than your situation and they were AOK fine with that. No one cared at all and, like hoyland, i was a bit confused whether to put 0 or 1 on the day thing on the landing card. Not a problem.
posted by jessamyn at 7:13 PM on June 6, 2014

Thanks, everybody. :) This is the first time I've tried this so I didn't want to show up for the chat with CBSA and have them say "uh, no."

For what it's worth, I'm arriving by train so I've no clue how that all works but I get to find out. One friend said that Amtrak just drops you off in downtown Vancouver with nary a care, but there's still no NEXUS "lane" like for driving.
posted by fireoyster at 10:21 PM on June 6, 2014

When you get off the train in downtown Vancouver, you'll go through Canadian customs and immigration there. IIRC there were 3-4 customs officers, and it went pretty quickly. Then you can just catch the SkyTrain across the street to Waterfront Station, and then transfer to the Canada Line to YVR.
posted by Emanuel at 6:54 AM on June 7, 2014

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