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Coming from Canada

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by WickedWife, Apr 16, 2015.

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  1. WickedWife

    WickedWife Tourist

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    It's sad, I know, but my experiences flying to another country have been limited to once, when I was 14..... we will not get into how long ago that was :evillaugh

    When flying from Canada to LAS, from a Canadian International Airport, do they do customs screening here in Canada? Or is it done at the first point of entry in the US? Or is it done at your final destination?

    How long does it usually take? We will have carry on.

    I've searched US Customs and Canada Customs sites and can't seem to find the answer. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. sigsev

    sigsev Low-Roller

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    If you're flying from a major Canadian city you will clear US Customs before you board the plane. The process is pretty quick these days with a computer terminal where you answer the typical customs questions, it prints out a receipt, and you to talk to an officer who asks you some more questions. I'd still allot a good amount of time in case of delays, like an hour, even though it normally doesn't take that long.

    Here's a list of US Customs Preclearance locations in international airports:

    http://www.cbp.gov/border-security/ports-entry/operations/preclearance
     
  3. VegasChic-

    VegasChic- VIP Whale

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    From Vancouver, the customs screening is done at the Vancouver airport, both outbound and inbound.

    Once you clear security, you continue on to customs. The wait you hear about is generally the line-ups, and can vary as much as it does getting through security line-ups. You fill out a customs declaration card showing what flight you are on, who you are travelling with, where you are going etc. Don't bother bringing fruit, meat or dairy products for snacks as this will hold you up (buy once through customs at airport if you want them). If you are bringing more than 10K cash you will need to let them know. Once the card is completed, you go to the customs agent who looks at the card, checks your passport and usually asks where you going? why are you going - i.e. biz or pleasure? If all is good, no warrants for your arrest etc, they send you through and it may only take a minute or so at the customs. However, if you have a criminal record or something like that, then I suppose it could take longer as they check things through.

    On the flight back to Canada, the flight attendants will give you customs cards to complete for your return. Once you land you clear customs with that card, again with a customs agent. The line-ups can be really long with arriving flights, so some people jog off the plane to get to the front of the line - haha. Again, don't bother with the fruit/meat/dairy - they are interested to know about the 10K again, will want to know how much you spent in case you are over your duty free amount, and they will want to know how much tobacco and booze are coming back as well.

    Personally I don't find it a big deal, it does add some time, but not too much.
     
  4. Jordan

    Jordan Caveman

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    From Halifax you either...

    a) Pre-clear US Customs here if you flight takes you directly into the US (Chicago, Philly, Boston, Washington are the usual points of entry when heading to Vegas)
    or
    b) If you have a connecting flight (usually via Montreal or Toronto) you will clear US customs in Canada before you board your US flight.

    I have never pre-cleared coming back into Canada, usually you do Canadian customs when you set foot on Canadian soil!
     
  5. zenvegas

    zenvegas Low-Roller

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    If you're flying out of Toronto, its really pot luck. I've been there on days when you just breeze through customs and I've also been there on other days when it takes you 2 hours or more to get through customs and security. My advice would be to leave plenty of time for this.
    My wife and I would always fight for weeks before a vacation about how early to get to the airport. If it were up to her, she'd leave it to the last minute.
    Now we only talk about it the night before. Saves a lot of arguments.
     
  6. ripper

    ripper Tourist

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    I'm in Saskatchewan and i clear customs in LAS if its a direct flight.
     
  7. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    The answer is: it depends.

    Will you do customs at your airport or in Las Vegas? It depends on the flight you are taking.
    How long will it take? It depends on how many people are going through customs the same time as you.

    When you get your tickets or ticket information (online) they will usually say to show up at the airport 2-3 hours before departure for international flights - as long as you do that you should have more than enough time to get through customs. And note that whether or not you have carry on luggage with you doesn't matter: US customs doesn't check your baggage unless they pull you over for additional screening - your carry on luggage will be checked just as it normally would when you pass through the luggage screening area on way to your gate.

    Will you have to do customs at your airport or in Las Vegas:
    This depends on the flight. If the flight is a Canadian-USA carrier and your airport is the point of origin then you almost certainly will do customs at your airport.

    However if it is an international flight passing through Canada on its way to the USA then you will do your customs screening in Las Vegas. Somebody mentioned Vancouver and thats a good example: if a flight originates in Asia, stops in Vancouver and then goes on to the USA then you would do your US customs screening in Las Vegas, NOT in Vancouver... otherwise all the WestJet, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, etc that start in Vancouver and fly to the USA will do their customs in Vancouver.


    How long does it take:
    This just depends how many people are going through customs at the same time.

    If you are doing customs at your local airport it will likely go pretty quickly and thats because people are usually staggered for when they arrive and have to go through the customs checkpoint. As an example: if your flight leaves at 10:30AM for that flight some people might be arriving as early as 7-8AM and others won't get there until as late as 9:30-ish... so there probably isn't one big crush of passengers going through at the same time (NOTE that as the day goes on and more and more flights are departing the airport to US destinations will lead to more people going through customs at the same time).

    On the Las Vegas end I've gone through customs there where it took only 15-20 minutes... and I've had experiences that took well over an hour. The short times were usually when its just our flight and we were one of the first ones off so we can get up there ahead of the crowd, the long times are when we get to customs and find out that a flight from Europe or Asia has landed just before us and their passengers are all already in the queue. Unfortunately there is nothing you can really do to speed the process up.
     
  8. Julie888

    Julie888 High-Roller

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    I fly out of a Canadian International airport that doesn't have the facities for pre-Custom clearance.

    If I'm on a direct flight, it's done in Vegas. Half the time is spent walking to their Customs area, the other part is the lineup and talking to an agent. The exception to this is when a non-Canadian plane arrives. They try to stagger this but if that other plane is late, we wait and it can be a long one. If this happens, then the lineup to leave after talking to the customs Agent and picking up your luggage is also rather long. They double check the forms, etc.

    If I'm not on a direct flight and the first stop is in the U.S., Customs is cleared there. It's always been more efficient.

    Basically the answer is, it all depends where your flight originates.
     
  9. WickedWife

    WickedWife Tourist

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    Thanks guys, it looks like my airport is not pre-clearance.

    If we catch a flight into Vancouver and then go from Vancouver to LAS, could we do pre-clearance still? We are coming from another BC community.

    Or if we catch a flight from our home town and land in Seattle before transferring to a place to LAS, would we do customs in Seattle? Sounds like that might be the better options so we avoid the huge lines at LAS.
     
  10. lionelhutz

    lionelhutz Low-Roller

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    if you're flying from a smaller airport into Vancouver and then connecting to LAS from there, you'll clear customs in Vancouver before you go through security and such into the departures area.

    if you fly from the same airport into Seattle instead, you'll disembark and clear US customs there, and then go through security again and then board your domestic flight into LAS.
     
  11. WickedWife

    WickedWife Tourist

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    Thank you lionelhutz!! (Love the name, BTW :) )
     
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