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I'll be looking to base myself in Vancouver soon. In the past, you've always had to prove at the border that you'll be leaving again, one way or another. Last time they didn't take the "I'm planning on winging it" comment well, so fortunately I had a bus ticket to Seattle as well (from Vancouver).

This time I'll have a return airline ticket, so that's easy, but I know other friends who just want the cheapest form of a ticket out of the country. Last time I had a $22 bus ticket from Vancouver to Seattle. Is there a cheaper ticket that would serve this purpose? Every dollar counts when you backpack ;)

Note - it doesn't have to be from Vancouver. Anywhere in Canada, to anywhere outside of Canada is acceptable.

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Related: One-way tickets into the US and Canada? –  Mark Mayo Feb 29 '12 at 11:10
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There's a regular city bus that goes from Windsor, Canada, to Detroit - the Tunnel Bus, and costs a whopping $4.50CDN, but it's not a ticket you can buy in advance, so likely not useful for your purpose. But the Windsor/Detroit crossing might also be worth a look to see if there's other transit you can prepay there to act as an 'exit guarantee'. –  BrendanMcK Feb 29 '12 at 12:32
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I wouldn't be surprised if there's some really cheap options back East where cities are really close to each side of the border, perhaps Niagara Falls? –  hippietrail Feb 29 '12 at 12:50
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How about a reservation or booking for a hotel room or event that is being held in the US, along with the statement that you will be walking from one Niagara Falls to the other, or taking a city bus from Windsor to Detroit, or whatnot? You have to "prove you're leaving" not "show your exit ticket". –  Kate Gregory Feb 29 '12 at 12:55
    
@KateGregory I'd consider adding that as a novel and 'thinking outside the box' answer ;) Nice! –  Mark Mayo Feb 29 '12 at 19:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I would double-check this with Border Services before getting on a plane, but my understanding is they only want proof you are leaving. For example, at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/5256ETOC.asp it says you must (among other things):

  • satisfy an officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay,
  • show that you have enough money to maintain yourself and your family members in Canada and to return home,
  • not intend to work or study in Canada unless authorized to do so,

If you have a confirmed booking or reservation in the States, along with a story about how you are getting to it, I would expect that to be ok. For example, you have something booked in Niagara Falls US and you say "I will travel within Canada from Vancouver to Niagara Falls Ont, then walk across the bridge." Or perhaps "I will travel within Canada from Vancouver to Windsor, then take the Tunnel to Detroit."

First and foremost, please do not use this technique to lie to immigration. I never lie to the border people of any country and I sure don't want anyone lying to mine. Second, make sure that your story is not just true, but is obviously and clearly reasonable and true. You can't hitchike from Vancouver to Niagara Falls in 12 hours, for example. Your confirmation of whatever it is you're going to do should be consistent with your travel plans. And third, don't just do part of the plan. Book the event, and the hotel, and the rental car, for example. Provide the address of the friend you'll be visiting in the US. Etc. While you could probably be "free and easy" with most of your planning, if you are going to use a plan to "satisfy an officer" then it should not be arm-wavy.

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Considering that the cheapest way across would probably be walking there are many crossings that you can do this at:

Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge

In Vancouver you can do this across the Peace Arch

You can 100% cross by foot into Lubek, ME, the only problem is I have no idea how to get to the Canadian side of the border through Canada as there didn't seem to be any land connection.

Next Cheapest would be the BUS

Greyhound: Montreal to Plattsburgh, NY fare is about $20 one way.

There is Windsor Transit to Detroit but as BrendanMcK pointed out it has to be bought on the spot listed fare is $4.

Vancouver to Seattle you already know.

Finally got onto Megabus. Depending on the day the one way ticket is $17-$21 one way.

One more thing that may be a possibility but I have no and can find no information on hitching a ride with a trucker going from Canada to the US but I know that there are a lot of those going from Montreal and Toronto.

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