Niagarans who frequently cross the border can rest easy, as the United States federal government shutdown will not significantly affect U.S. travel for Canadians.
The United States considers border services to be essential services and will keep them operational, though many national parks and other federally-operated services could be closed or operating on a limited service.
There might also be delays in other U.S. interactions involving U.S. customs.
Cyndee Cherniak, a founder of LexSage, an international trade law and sales tax firm in Toronto, reported on canada-usblog.com that people can expect delays when dealing with U.S. customs officers, who aren’t getting paid during the shutdown.
She said customs officers tend to slow down the process, knowing a slowed border is incentive for the government to end the shutdown.
Canadians doing any of the following can expect delays:
- Pre-clearance at Canadian airports.
- Applying for or renewing a Nexus membership. This is a non-essential service and it is unlikely to be done until after the shutdown.
- Applying for an immigrant visa.
- Applying for a U.S. federal tax refund.
- Shipping goods, especially if if those goods have to be inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture.
If a customs agent confiscates your electronic device, it’s likely you won’t get it back until after the shutdown. There will likely be further delays after the shutdown as there will be a backup in investigations.
Tips for Canadians traveling to the U.S. during the shutdown:
- Bring only non-essential devices when crossing the border.
- Check what’s open if planning on using national trails, parks or other federally-operated services.
- Allow extra time for pre-clearance at airports.