DISCLAIMER: Lying to border guards, Canadian or otherwise, is almost definitely illegal and certainly naughty. You'd better have a damn good reason for doing it; one that will keep you comforted while you languish in some rathole Canadian prison in which they whip you with scorpion flails and feed you rancid blood. Seriously, you probably shouldn't do this.
"If you're not a good actor, you're a bad actor. And bad acting is bullshit in this business." "It's like a joke; you can tell a joke, can't you? You memorize the details and make the rest your own. And the only way to do that is to keep sayin' it, and sayin' it, and sayin' it, and sayin' it and sayin' it."
All of us harbor dreams of international espionage. However, it's best to start small. Canada is not small; in fact, it's the second largest country in the world by land area (fun fact!). However, it and the United States of America share the worlds longest unmilitarized border (fun fact!)! This is the perfect training ground for you, the neophyte clandestine traveler.
The following tips are intended for those who have a serious reason to believe they may not be allowed across the border, but need to get across very badly. People who simply want to get a laugh out of telling the guard they are heading for Calgary while intending to go to Yellowknife can go forth and deceive with impunity. Wimps.
The absolute best way to cross a border is to not need to lie in the first place. As we've already established that, in your case, the truth will imprison you, the only way to avoid lying is to cross where there isn't anybody watching. There are innumerable small, guardless border crossings. A high resolution map of the, for example, Vermont/Canada border will reveal many of these. Google maps can do excellent intelligence gathering for you. However, the majority of these types of crossings will be dirt roads, so you'll need 4-wheel drive. They also, sometimes, have ropes and other things strung across them which will need to be bypassed. Remember, if you are caught crossing in this manner you will almost definitely be detained, and you will lose any credibility you might otherwise retain. If this method isn't for you, then you should try to cross at a very small patrolled crossing. This means avoiding Interstates and major highways.
If you're pretty sure you need to lie to be granted Canadian ingress, chances are it's because you're part of some unpopular group. Disguise is your friend. You must eliminate all visual evidence of connection to said group. For example: if those dirty Canadians are trying to keep, say, a bunch of radical-leftist anti-globalization protesters out, you've gotta present yourself in as bourgie a manner as possible. Prep yourself out: wear clothing with visible logos or sports-related apparel, be clean and neat. LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE, AND ARE INTENDING TO SPEND, A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MONEY. Do not have any "questionable" music in your car. Do not have propaganda, "literature", or hand-painted signs in your car. DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING POLITICAL OF ANY KIND WITH YOU. Remove piercings, cover tattoos, and wash garish dye out of your hair.
Create a plausible, thorough cover story. You will need to know:
- Where you are going.
- What you are doing there.
- Where you are staying.
- How long you'll be staying.
These are the basics
. The devil, as usual, is in the details. Your cover story must account for everything you have with you. If you happen to have helmets with you to protect your fragile head from flying tear gas grenades
(for example), your story must
account for them. To generalize: ANYTHING POTENTIALLY SUSPICIOUS MUST BE EXPLAINED AWAY BY YOUR COVER STORY
. If you can't explain it, don't bring it. A good strategy
is to build a cover story around said suspicious item. Carrying helmets? Perhaps you're going rock climbing
. Where is there good rock climbing near where you're really
going? Val David
. Ooh, Val David's not far from Montréal! We could be going there for a couple of days, too! Why are you bringing them, and not renting them? Oh, well, this is our first time; we didn't know what to expect.
You get the idea. However, as with all lying, SIMPLICITY IS PARAMOUNT. Just think: what would you know if you were actually planning on going where you claim to be? It's okay to not know everything; you're just a bunch of dumb, rich Americans looking for a good time.
DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING WITH YOU THAT COULD POSSIBLY HINT ABOUT YOUR REAL DESTINATION. If you must carry written information that could be compromising, make sure it's disguised in some way. Use "safe" city names. Use plain text, with some sort of word substitution you can memorize.
If you are travelling with a group, it is essential that everyone have the cover story information down cold. Practice. Quiz each other. Come up with anything the border patrol could possibly ask you, no matter how ludicrous. EXPECT THAT EVERYONE WILL BE INTERROGATED SEPARATELY. However, do not have any kind of word-for-word "story" for each person to tell. Again, simplicity: think about what people travelling in a group together would know about the trip.
Okay. You have your disguise, and you have your cover story. Ready?
If you've followed this advice so far, you should be crossing at a small, backwater border post patrolled by one or two officers. You will be stopped and questioned about the above four items (at least). If you are extremely lucky, you will be waved through and that's it. If you are anyone other than Longshot, you will be asked to pull off to the side and park. The driver will be asked to get out of the car and come inside the post. This is when the fun begins.
The most important thing to do now is relax. They don't know. They don't know a thing, 'cause you're supercool. You are fucking Baretta. Your driver's license (and as of 2008, passport) will be examined, and probably verified. Make sure you have a real one before leaving home. At this point, if you have a criminal record you're probably fucked. The officer will again ask you about the things on the above list, this time in more detail. DO NOT OFFER ANY MORE INFORMATION THAN IS SPECIFICALLY ASKED FOR. Blabbing out a bunch of very meticulous data is a sure sign you're lying. Look pleasant. Don't make jokes; you look nervous. Chances are you'll be asked something that you haven't anticipated. Remember: it's okay not to know. It's also okay to improvise something very simple. Simple, simple, simple. "Why are you crossing so far off the Interstate?" "Oh. I dunno... no reason. We wanted to see some of rural Vermont." Do not get defensive. Remember: you are innocent. You are doing nothing wrong. They have nothing to suspect.
Eventually the driver will be allowed to return to the car, usually with instructions to send another passenger in. At this point you have a very few seconds to inform them of how you answered the unanticipated question. This passenger will undergo the same drill, and the same advice applies. The new variable is your behavior while you sit in the car.
Did you notice, while you were inside, that the second border guard was somewhere out of sight? He or she is probably watching your car. Therefore, the proper assumption is that you and your fellow travellers' activity in the car is being noted. So, again, relax. Try not to talk too much. DO NOT TALK ABOUT YOUR COVER STORY, BEING INTERROGATED, OR ANYTHING ELSE REGARDING YOUR CURRENT SUBTERFUGE. If you absolutely must refer to something negative, do so while smiling. Yes yes; they can't hear you, right? Tell that to Dave Bowman and Frank Poole.
Repeat n times, where n is equal to the number of travellers. Then, wait for the guard to return your IDs and deliver the verdict. If you fucked it up, you are not passing Go. You'll either be refused entry, or, worse, detained indefinitely. However, if you and your companions remained ice-cool muthafuckas, that's it: you are a fucking Canadian, you little piece of shit!
Caveat:The above method will NOT help you if your intention is to smuggle drugs, weapons, or other dangerous and/or illegal items. You will be caught, and you will go to jail.
DISCLAIMER THE SECOND: QXZ accepts absolutely no responsibility for anyone else's actions, and provides no guarantee that you won't get your head stomped in by those incredibly violent Canadian border guards. The above information is for entertainment purposes only, and absolutely did not work perfectly last April.