Passport Please

Travelling on a one way ticket, Ben has for months worried about being refused entry to Canada. Would his worries be justified?

In preparing for my trip to Toronto the one thing I was most concerned about was getting through customs on a one-way ticket and right up to the last minute was terrified by the prospect that I could be taking the next flight back home to Gatwick...

...When trying to resolve this problem or at least get some clarification at home I spent a great deal of time searching various Internet forums and drew a blank every time.

So if you're in a similar position to what I was, perhaps my experience can help...

On the flight you will have to complete a form that will be given to you by one of the flight attendants in preparation for the customs officials at the airport. This just requires some basic personal information, your flight details, a few basic security questions and the number of days you plan to stay in the country.

British citizens are allowed up to six months stay without the need for a visa but I opted to put down 115 days because I decided a month or so ago to book a coach across the border in to the States in July to enable me to provide just some evidence, if required, that I had made arrangements to leave the country.

Yet amazingly when I went up to the customs official at the airport I was not asked if I had a return or onward ticket. I was simply asked the following questions:

Q. What is the purpose of your visit?
A. pleasure

Q. Where are planning to visit?
A. Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver

Q. Did you book your own tickets?
A. Yes

Q. Who are you staying with in Canada?
A. People I have met through CouchSurfing on the Internet

Q. Have you met them before?
A. No

Q. How do you plan to travel across Canada
A. Coach and flight

Q. How long do you plan to stay
A. 115 days

Then finally "Enjoy your stay in Canada."

Generally I found the officials I dealt with up front but friendly. I certainly didn't feel intimidated. They just wanted short, concise answers and an impression from me that I knew what I was here to do.

Obviously my experience might not be shared by everybody but nevertheless I hope this helps someone out there because I know just how frustrating it is not being able to get any idea on what to expect.

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