Challenges with Border Guards - RE the Laws

I know of a Canadian house sitter who was entering the USA for a housesit. When house sitter told the Customs and Border Protection Service the purpose of the trip the house sitter was refused entry and returned to Canada.

I wrote to CBP explaining what I do as a house sitter and asked if it was allowable under US law. Here’s the CBP’s response.

Thank you for contacting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Information Center (CIC).

CBP Advisory or Disclaimer: It is important to understand that at the time of entry the CBP Officer at the Port of Entry will make the final determination and decision of your admissibility according to U.S. law. This would include your entry and length of stay in the United States. As well as the travel documents you present and the intended purpose or reason for your admission or entry into the United States.

If you are Canadian citizens and are not getting paid in the U.S. or by a U.S. company, then you will not need or require a U.S visa.

However, CBP recommends that you inform the CBP Officer at the time of entry (at the designated U.S. Port of Entry) of your intentions and the purpose of your travel, so that the CBPO will be able to determine on whether you will require a work visa. Since, you will be provided as shared with CIC “accommodations and amenities” in the U.S.

Thank you again for contacting our office.


CBP Information Center

NOTE: The answers provided in this forum are for general information purposes only. Utilizing this forum does not constitute reasonable care under the Informed Compliance guidelines.

The CBP Information Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. We are closed on U.S. federal holidays. Our toll-free line within the United States is (877) 227-5511. International callers can reach us during our hours of operation by dialing 00+1+202-325-8000.!

Hi @Figgbee no matter what you always say you are a tourist on holidays visiting friends, you NEVER EVER say you are house sitting, unless you want to be refused entry to the country you are visiting. There is a long thread about this at Challenges with Border Guards - RE the Laws


So true. We oddly got stalked on linked in by one of the ex THS members who was refused entry into the USA with her “intro letter” (she was an Ozzie) as a house sitter. It was a disaster, made the tabloids, had her seeking out members to warn them of the dangers of non THS support etc etc. a bizarre time to say the least for all involved. You are ALWAYS a tourist just like @Crookie says. Do NOT use that letter @Figgbee :raised_hands:t3::raised_hands:t3:


I am surprised they make a statement like that in writing. I think it is best not to rely on that.

“Paid” is not just money. As they state a bit vaguely, it can include being provided with “accommodations and amenities” in the U.S.
(I am guessing that CIC means Citizenship and Immigration Canada, that CBP is sharing information with.)

Just be a tourist if you want to avoid secondary questioning etc.

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I’m reading this as containing two different views. The CBPO still determines whether or not you can get in. Border crossings are always risky. Just keep it simple: Have all your return information at the ready. Say you’re tourist.


I had been advised when I went to the Nova Scotia sit to say just visiting friends