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Can I cross the Canada-U.S. border to close the sale of a property?

Last Updated Jul 20, 2020 at 6:07 pm PDT

A border officer walks by a closed gate at the Thousand Islands border, near Gananqoue, Ont., on Monday March 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Summary

No recommendations to Canadian owners of U.S. home: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Flying into the U.S. is easier than crossing a land border

U.S.-Canada border restrictions set to remain until at least Aug. 20

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Question:

Valerie: “My husband and I have had a home being built in the U.S. for 13 months and it is complete for occupancy. Our contractor has done his best to postpone our legal closing of the property for four months due to our inability to travel there due to border restrictions. Our contractor has stated that we need to do so by Aug. 1, 2020. What document would we need to present to the U.S. border patrol in order to be considered and allowed to cross and stay isolated with all plans of food in place. We realize it is up to the discretion of the individual border guard and we would also present our COVID-negative test documents. We cannot defer the legal closing of the property without [a] huge legal penalty. We would be travelling straight to our home without stopping except for gas and bathroom three times as we usually do on the same route we took for 10 years to our previous home.”

Answer:

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not give a definite answer when asked whether Valerie and her husband would be allowed to cross the land border.

“I can’t really provide recommendations to the traveler,” Jason Givens said.

The couple can present themselves at the land border and the agents there will determine whether they will be allowed to enter the U.S. “at the time of inspection, taking into account the totality of the travelers’ circumstances,” he said.

Givens didn’t specify which paperwork Valerie should bring with her, but said, “the traveler would want to bring as much evidence to document their claim as they have available.”

Valerie and her husband might have better luck if they try flying into the U.S.

American authorities have not applied the same restrictions on international arrivals at its airports.

“Canadian air passengers continue to be admitted into the United States provided they have not been physically present in Brazil, mainland China, Iran, Ireland, the United Kingdom or the Schengen Area in the 14 days preceding their attempted entry into the United States and that they overcome all other grounds of inadmissibility,” Givens said.

The ban on non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canada is currently set to remain until Aug. 20, but it could be extended.

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