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Dear America.

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Mark Wilson, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings

    So, as you all know, I was very excited to go down to Florida to have the opportunity to work with Bud Snyder and record for a month.
    We found this service that allows us to drive and deliver a car from Toronto to Naples Florida and it would pay for our flight back. This wasn't the problem at all.

    The problem was we didn't have work Visas. This wasn't a problem before, so I guess we shouldn't have assumed. The kicker is we aren't making any money, and WE pumped $10,000 into America by hiring an AMERICAN Engineer, at an AMERICAN studio to record an album in AMERICA. With the deposit, it came with room, food, accommodations, liquor, everything we needed to support ourselves. But, the border officers didn't budge. The didn't care to look at the copy of the deposit, nor the flights we booked to get back.

    Their justification is that, even though the bandleader is Canadian, on a work visa for an entire year, Kev and I are taking work (free work) away from American musicians. It wasn't until back at the Canadian border did we find out that America classifies "work" as essentially ANYTHING, whether you get paid or not.

    In order for Americans to get into Canada to work though, they need to fill out a FREE form, and pay $150 for a work permit, which will take all of a few hours. Whereas the opposite will take 2 weeks (With a rush) and $2000.

    Oh, AND the border officer didn't refund our $10.75. :spit:

    So, call me crazy, but this **** just doesn't make any sense.

    Does anyone know a way around this?
  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Maybe you could bribe them with wine gums and the tylenol with codeine?

  3. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I'm on it.
  4. You can bribe me with Tylenol with codeine.

    Why can't you just take a month "vacation" to Florida?
  5. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Nice Fassa thread. You obviously know that in order to get in right part of America you need to lie. If you give border patrol opportunity to say no they will always say no, or if you overwhelm them with too much info, or info that is not easy to understand they default to 'no'. So just lie and say you're here on holiday. But all in all me thinks you are just bragging about spending a month in Florida recording. This is the equivalent about me complaining about the cost of milk while getting paid to surf in Hawaii for a month.
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Next time tell 'em you're going to Disney World.
  7. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    k, well why should I have to lie to fork 10k into your country?
  8. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Nailed it. I'm gonna keep bragging about things I get screwed out of. Maybe it's a 2012 thing.
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Seems to me that if you didn't get any money for this trip, it WAS a vacation, no? When they ask if the trip is for business or pleasure, just say pleasure.
  10. Just say you are taking a holiday.

    If you want to go via the legit methods, you should have looked into what permits you needed to acquire before going in.

    The loops you need to jump through may be stupid. But it was pretty daft of you guys to plan such an expensive trip without looking into what visa you needed.
  11. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Well...... It's really only something like $8,500 USD isn't it?
  12. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    It may have been daft, but the last time we did this without Visas, it wasn't a problem. So another question is who's not doing their job properly? The first guy who lets us through no problem? Or the 2nd guy who clearly had a really bad day. (The guy was a complete asshat and said it's the end of his shift and he can't wait to go home)
  13. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    10,000 American. not many places in Florida take Canadian money.
  14. We get the same crap trying to get into Canada. I'm a field service tech that gets called up there a couple of times a year, by our various customers there. They pay me to come and do work that THEY CAN'T HANDLE. So its not as if I'm taking food off of someone's plate. Same result for me, at the border. I have to lie and say I'm a salesman, or I'm on vacation, or whatever. Its a PITA, which I believe we can blame on a certain trade agreement.
  15. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Caliming it's a "vacation" seems like the easy way to me.
  16. It is not the border officer's duty to rationalize your visit or your paperwork situation. Sure, you aren't taking jobs away from American musicians, and you are helping the American economy... Their job is only to determine whether your paperwork is in order. If you are working according to the definition, you are working. And honestly, if this recording is such a big deal as you have described it, it sounds like you can take the time to follow the rules.
  17. But... they were not getting paid. Therefore they do not engage in paid work, so a visa should not be required...

    Either I misunderstood a key point, or it simply makes no sense at all, and they just found an idiot working at the border... hmmm.
  18. Curmei


    Dec 29, 2008
    We used to occasionally get a hard time crossing into Canada for gigs in the 90s. If they saw multiple people in a car with equipment, they assumed that you were going to "work." Technically, we did have gigs there, but they were always non-paying, usually invited by friends of ours who played around Toronto or Montreal. We found it best to drive separately, and bring small rigs - or, just use friends' gear up there.

    We also rented gear from music stores on a couple of occasions - sometimes even if playing in the US (if we needed a larger set up than what we owned, and were playing clubs without decent PAs, for example). This allowed us some more control over what equipment we were able to use - the same amps, etc.

    I did know someone who was turned away at the Canadian border one time. He just waited a couple of hours, turned around, went to a different booth, and they let him through the second time. Probably a bit more strict these days, than back in '95.

    I agree that it's a bit ridiculous, but also that the onus is on us to research and plan accordingly, for the worst case scenario.

    Good luck getting things sorted out. If you need a place to crash in central NC, plenty of space in the studio here.
  19. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    It's been a while since I've worked in Canada, but in all my international business travel, Canada (specifically the border agents at YYZ) gave me the hardest time over any other. Maybe we're just paying you guys back finally? :D

    Just joking a bit. Sorry to hear about your troubles. It does sound a bit odd. Hard to say much else without a political spin.
  20. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    I am on a working visa and it is hard sometimes even with the visa to re enter to the US, you need to be careful on what you answer to the officer otherwise he will deny the entry. Getting a working visa (H1-B or TN) it is not easy, it is a lot of paper work and in many cases you will need a lawyer, you should be able to come to US with B-1 Business Visitor which is easy to get but even with that visa you should be careful with your answer, the easy way is tell the official you are meeting some friends in Florida just to have a good time :)

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