I'm a US citizen and I'm employed by a US company. Recently, I drove to Canada to do some on-site work for one of my employer's customers in Canada.
There was some stuff that I was planning to declare to customs (but nothing I expected to have to pay duty on). Specifically, I had some prescription medications, a box of tools worth about $1,000 in total, two laptops, and two cell phones.
When I got to the booth, the agent asked me various questions, including questions about what items I had with me, but they never actually asked if I had anything to declare. That agent then sent me to secondary inspection and told me to speak with an immigration officer.
(To be clear, they only asked me specific yes-or-no questions like "do you have any firearms?"; they never asked any questions similar to "do you have anything to declare?" or "what do you have with you?")
I'm guessing my experience at secondary inspection was pretty typical: some customs agents searched my car, and the immigration officer asked me a few additional questions, before telling me that I could proceed into Canada.
Was there some point in time where I should have said "by the way, I have stuff to declare," or was that unnecessary?
Some additional details, in case any of it is relevant:
- I was going to Canada to supervise the installation of a machine in a factory.
- I told the agent at the booth that I was going to be in Canada for about 6 weeks, but apparently they misheard me and thought I said 6 months.
- I didn't have a visa or work permit. I did have my US passport with me.