By Jensen, Randy on July 18, 2020.
With travel still restricted to “essential” business only and recently extended, Lethbridge residents who are looking to travel south of the border to access properties they own in the United States would have to plead their individual cases to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“CBP officers make the final determination of whether travellers are admissible to the United States at the port of entry, taking into account the totality of each traveller’s circumstances,” said CBP spokesperson Jason Givens in response to a Herald inquiry, following recent reports of Canadian cabin owners being turned back at the border.
Canadian property owners should not expect any special treatment, explained Givens, and should not try to misrepresent the urgency of their requests if the reason for travel is truly not essential. There are dire consequences for foreign nationals who try to enter the United States under false pretenses, he said, regardless whether the person is a property owner in the United States or not.
One recent report noted cabin owners from the area were allowed to cross the border because they said their cabin had suffered damage. However, CBP followed up and checked on the owners’ cabin and found no damage. The owners were then fined and prohibited from entering the U.S. for five years.
“If the non-immigrant alien attempts to gain entry, or gains entry, by wilfully misrepresenting their true intent they may be found to be inadmissible to the United States per INA Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. An alien found to be inadmissible to the U.S. under 212(a)(6)(C)(i) is permanently inadmissible to United States.”
A desire for recreation, or to see a property, is not deemed an “essential” reason to travel south of the border with COVID restrictions still in place. Givens provided a list of what his government does deem essential travel for those wanting to cross the border:
– U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
– Individuals travelling to receive medical treatment;
– Individuals travelling to attend educational institutions;
– Individuals travelling to work in the United States;
– Individuals travelling for emergency response and public health purposes;
– Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (truck drivers);
– Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
– Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
– Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.