Effective July 19, if you are travelling to the USA, you are now required to take your personal electronic devices larger than a smartphone out of any protective cases and turn it on, if asked. Examples include, but are not limited to laptops and tablets.
If you are unable to remove the protective case, or if you cannot turn the electronic item on, the US Department of Homeland Security will not allow these items past the security checkpoint. In addition, you will not be allowed to take these items in your checked baggage, which is a change from prior security measures. These changes are a part of heightened security measures being implemented overall on flights to the USA, including enhanced overall passenger screening, increased security and deploying advanced technologies and expanding canine screening.
It is anticipated that the increase in security measures will increase the overall time required to pass through security and complete all pre-departure screening, and travellers should bear this in mind when planning their travel.
Entry to Canada
Canada-bound travellers will not see any changes to security screening processes. On entry to Canada (via land border, air or sea port), the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA’s) regular screening procedures may include a referral for a secondary inspection on entry, where a CBSA officer may:
- ask you to provide detailed information about your plans while visiting Canada, or the time you spent abroad; make further enquiries, check records, or conduct research to verify your declaration;
- confirm the guardianship of children travelling with you;
- process the payment of duty and taxes;
- inspect your luggage, purse or wallet, electronics (including laptops and cell
phones), your vehicle and any additional goods you are transporting;
- conduct a visual examination of your pet or any animals travelling with you;
- ask you to produce evidence of the money you have available to fund your visit
- request that you produce receipts to account for expenses you incurred or
purchases made abroad; or
- count your cash or travellers cheques, in your presence.
These practices are a continuation of well-established screening policies already in force.
Given the broad authority officers have to search belongings when crossing international borders it is prudent to not carry confidential business information, including information on electronic devices. If information is protected by solicitor-client privilege, it should be clearly marked as such.
If you have any questions on how these changes may affect your or your employees’ international travel plans, please do not hesitate to contact one of our qualified immigration professionals.