A Gift or a Curse?

I know we’re coming home for the first time with the baby, and the natural reaction some people have is to feel like they should buy something for him. While we appreciate very much the gesture, I gotta explain to everyone back home the realities of living on a TN-1 Visa.

Simply put, your gifts will likely costs us more than they cost you.

When we cross the border under NAFTA, one of the things the border folks will look for is the volume of our belongings. If we appear to have more than is necessary for the duration of our trip, one of two things will happen — neither good:

– The border guard can chose to label our car a “moving truck”. If it looks to him like we’re “moving” they can require us to inventory each item in our vehicle, and they can hold us at the border until we have done so.

– The border guard can decide that we’ve been cross-border shopping. This means that we’ll have to pay duty on each item that looks “new” — meaning we can’t prove that we’ve owned it for more than a year. If it looks like we’re trying to “hide” “new” items, they can accuse us of smuggling.

Both of these situations would cause enormous amounts of stress for us, and easily turn our 8 hour drive back into a 15 hour nightmare at the border. Again, we appreciate it if you’re thinking about buying us anything, but we’d ask that you don’t. A dozen $10 gifts could costs us hundreds of dollars, or some very long hours trying to explain ourselves to immigration. My status in the States is not an easy one to maintain, and we’d very much appreciate your help on this. Benjamin has everything he needs — all we really want while we’re home is your time and your love!

Thanks!

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3 thoughts on “A Gift or a Curse?

  1. How about cash? Cash is always nice, and the really nice thing is that it has no history, no shiny tags and slips nicely into one’s wallet or purse. Nice, nice, nice.

  2. Gift cards are always an option too 🙂 But everyone needs to make sure that they cross over from Canadian to American stores…Walmart does not! Sears and Home Depot do though…does Benjamin need some power tools?

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