Real Talk #006 – Crossing into the USA

Crossing the border and responding to border agent questions can be stressful, especially when you have to do it in English! Join Andrew and Morag as they explain and discuss the questions you’re most likely to be asked when crossing the border from Canada into the United States.


Fun fact

The border between Canada and the United States is approximately 8,891 kilometres, making it the world’s longest international border border-crossingbetween two countries. It stretches across 8 provinces and territories (Canada) and 13 states (United States).

Expressions included in the learning materials

  • Passport
  • Where are you going?
  • What‘s the purpose of your trip?
  • How long is your stay?
  • Where are you staying?

Sample transcript

Morag: That’s right, Andrew, and today, we are going to look at a situation that is fairly common for Canadians, and that is crossing the border into the USA, or the United States of America.

Andrew: Yes. It’s something I do myself, you know, a couple of times a year. And actually more than 40 million trips are made by Canadians to the USA every year, so this is quite a huge number of trips that are being made.

Morag: You’re right. That is a lot. If you're a tourist in Canada, it is likely that you would probably visit the US during your vacation. It's just … It's so close. So knowing a little bit of what to expect at the border crossing is a pretty good idea.

Andrew: Yeah. I got a quick question for you, Morag.

Morag: Mmhmm.

Andrew: When you go to the USA, do you usually cross the border by land, air, or sea?

Morag: Land is my most common, at least since I've been living in Montreal. If I've gone down to Vermont or New York or Maine, it's always been in a car. How ’bout you?

Andrew: Well, I've done all three actually.

Morag: Mmhmm.

Andrew: But I agree with you that crossing in a car is very, very common. And so because of that, during this episode, we're going to listen to a dialogue between a Canadian crossing into the USA and an American border agent. And this will be in the context of a land crossing, of somebody driving their car from Canada to the USA.

And in the next Real Talk episode, we're gonna check out the opposite situation, OK? So today is a Canadian going into the USA. Next episode will be this Canadian going back into Canada, so stay tuned for that episode as well. But for today's episode, we're just focusing on crossing the border into the USA. So I have to warn everybody that, obviously, this dialogue is fictional, and it's impossible to predict exactly what you'll hear when crossing the border. But this dialogue is based on our own personal experiences, and it reflects the way that border crossings usual go for us.

Morag: After the dialogue, we'll put it under the microscope, and examine and explain all the key vocabulary and expressions a little bit more closely.

Andrew: Yes, so let's take a listen. Here it is, today's dialogue, which is a conversation between a Canadian citizen driving across the American border and her interaction with an American border agent.


english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips, Photo: Shutterstock