Would an unemployed person have trouble crossing the US border?

As in a Canadian crossing the border from Canada into the US, just for a visit like a vacation. The customs officers sometimes ask what your job is. So if someone doesn't have a job (and not a student either) what would happen? Would that person get searched or even denied entry? Also what if that person is a passenger in a car with other people - would it increase the chance of the car getting searched? I was told that Canadians on unemployment can not come into the US, As of Jan 1, 2013? Is this true?

6 Answers

  • bw022
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer


    US Border Services can deny entry to any non-American without reason. If they suspect that you intend to work illegally in the United States, commit a crime, not leave, etc. they can and will deny you entry.

    Everything is a case-by-case basis and it is extremely hard to figure out what triggers agents to suspect this. Age, travel patterns, having a significant other in the United States, traveling on week days, looking poor, having an obvious health condition, having household goods in your vehicle, having been stopped previously, traveling with someone who was stopped, driving extremely long distances, staying a long period of time, etc. will all likely increase the chance. At times it is also simply completely random.

    If they do suspect they may start asking for proof of finances, travel medical insurance, and proof employment or schooling back in Canada, or some type of proof of a home, family, etc. which would mean you need to return to Canada. If you have been stopped and questioned previously or are worried, make sure you have travel medical insurance, a valid credit card and possible a bank statement, and some proof you are paying rent or have a residence.

    There is nothing which says they must deny entry to someone on EI or who is unemployed -- many tens of thousands of unemployed retired Canadians live in the US. It is whether they suspect that you are going to try to work illegally.

  • 8 years ago

    Hi Cheryl, Allen from Whitefish. It shouldnt be any problem, tell them what they ask and its usually about destination, purpose of your visit, length and do you have any alcohol, tobacco or firearms,Lots of people go up there to ski or go to Banff, you will look like a normal tourist to go for whatever reason. If you have a DUI, any arrest or anything like that they can deny you, but just for a few days or a week, I dont see any problems. Usually the more people going up means they have definite plans and if anything it will reduce the probability of search...just don't cop an attitude with them. I have been to Canada about 100 times and have always gotten across

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    As far as I know, you should be fine. If you're worried, I would take some kind of proof that you will return to Canada - lease on a house/apartment, proof that you own a house, etc.

    If you need to be totally sure, I wouldn't hesitate to call the US embassy in Canada:


    You shouldn't be afraid of having your car searched unless you have something to hide.

  • Mentor
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    Unemployed has no relationship to being ineligible. The same logic would apply to being retired. Retired people visit the US all the time for vacation. If someone actually asks you for what you do, tell them you're a consultant.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    If they believe you are coming to work illegally they will deny you entry

    every case is based on its merits

  • Dzenis
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    You would automatically be denied.Because you have to prove that you are entering as a "Student" for school purposes.Or as a "worker" for working purposes.Otherwise,why the hell are you crossing a border lol?You can give it a try I guess..

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