Windsor/Detroit Border Crossing!

Posted date : Jul 22, 2008.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Making reference to your reply to the letter in issue 66 of CSANews re: Florida Driver’s Licence, I would like to tell you about our experience and, at the same time, correct your statement.

In October 2007, we too were asked by the border agent if any one of us (my wife & I) had a U.S. driver’s licence and, not knowing if he had information about it in his computer, I replied honestly that I did indeed have a Florida driver’s licence. His reply was “do you not know it is not legal for you to have one?” To which I of course replied that if it was illegal for me to have one, why would they have issued one to me? We were then instructed to go to U.S. Customs & Immigration.

There, we were met by a very rude and impolite customs agent, who again asked why I had a Florida driver’s licence, to which I replied that I had found I would be able to obtain discounts on some golf courses, etc. if I had one. He then said: “So you pretend to be an American for financial gains,” to which I replied no, I am a Canadian. He then asked me to prove it and I said you have my Canadian passport in your hand. To this he said “that is just a piece of paper.” “Do you own a house in Canada?” to which I was foolish enough to say “Yes, but I did not bring it with me.”

I’m sure you can appreciate that he did not find that funny and he took an additional half hour, during which we were left alone, before he came back and threw our papers on the table and asked us to leave. For your information, I sent my driver’s licence up to Tallahassee, Florida and informed them about my experience and that I did not need that, and they sent back a nice letter saying thank you for turning in your licence and that they wished more people of my age (70) would do the same. I guess they just did not read my letter and the explanation therein as to why I returned it.

My point in regards to your comments about the need for a Florida driver’s licence in order to purchase and register a car there is that this is not a true statement. We just took my wife’s 1999 Mercedes Benz with only 47,000 km on it down to Florida so we would have a car there if we fly down, and we had Florida licence plates put on it. It took us about half a day for the paperwork and a cost of about US$500.00-US$600.00.

The reason we did not need a Florida driver’s licence is that we use the same insurance company in both Canada and the U.S. for both our cars and residences. That was the only requirement.

We were initially told by friends who had gone through the same thing, i.e. taking a Canadian car down to Florida, that we needed to get a Florida driver’s licence, but we proved that is not the case.

Sincerely,

Heine Holm



Response:
Ed: We have had a few letters (see page 8) from snowbirds who have received Florida car registrations without having a Florida driver’s licence. We will do some further checking, but our guess is that everyone appeared to be so honest and forthright (like most Canadians), that the tax agent did not review his or her procedures manual.

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