General Question

Mtl_zack's avatar

Am I allowed bringing alcohol into the United States from Canada if I'm 19?

Asked by Mtl_zack (6725 points ) May 30th, 2009

What are the conditions? On the declaration card it says nothing about alcohol. I am not going to be drinking it, a relative asked me to bring 2 6 packs of his favorite Canadian beer.

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36 Answers

steve6's avatar

What they don’t know won’t hurt them.

steve6's avatar

Why would you? It’s cheaper here.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t know about bringing in, but you can’t legally possess it once you’re here if you’re under 21, so I would think not. A friend of mine and I once smuggled Cuban cigars into the U.S. from Canada in our socks, but that would be hard to do with six packs. :)

steve6's avatar

Smuggle it.

Ivan's avatar

I doubt it.

J0E's avatar

I wouldn’t suggest trying it, the border patrollers can be real assholes sometimes.

Mtl_zack's avatar

If I put it in my suitcase, like a bottle in each sock or whatever, will the customs officials be able to detain me? I’m going with my best friend who’s also 19. Do they only check certain people? We are very experienced travelers, and are relatively good at borders. I have never ever gotten stopped, and I’ve travelled a lot in my life, mostly to the states.

shrubbery's avatar

You could always feign innocence if they happen to find it. You shouldn’t have asked this question haha.

Mtl_zack's avatar

@lillycoyote Are you sure it’s possession that’s illegal and not consumption? Is there a difference in the states?

kenmc's avatar

@Mtl_zack Possession can get you busted. MIP=Minor in possession.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Another factor: Can dogs smell alcohol?

lillycoyote's avatar

@Mtl_zack Yep, I’m sure. And you’re still taking a chance, you may get through fine, you may not, but it is illegal in the U.S. for you to be in possession of alcohol if you are under 21. It’s up to you if you want to take the chance of being arrested. That’s a choice only you can make.

Ivan's avatar

Why is it critically important that you bring alcohol with you?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

If dogs have been trained to sniff out alcohol, yes, they can alert people that you have it. Boots is also right, you can be charged with an MIP.

dalepetrie's avatar

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t it matter what state you crossed over in. For example, in Minnesota, we allow people to tend bar at age 18, but not to drink until 21. So, if there were an MIP law on the books, I would think this wouldn’t be possible. Bascially what I would do is put the 12 packs in the trunk or in a cooler or what not, don’t try to hide them because that would indicate intent to smuggle. Essentially, I believe no more than 1 in 20 are questioned more intensively then just a couple questions through the window. If the border patrol DOES single you out and tries to be an asshole about it, remember you haven’t crossed into the US until they let you through. If it’s legal for you to drink and possess alcohol in Canada, if they say you can’t legally possess liquor in the US, simply say that you were unaware…your friends with whom you’re staying in the US asked you if you could bring them some Canadian beer and you didn’t think anything of it. Worst case is they hold you up for a few hours and then confiscate the beer, but it’s unlikely…I don’t really think you can be hit for a crime, because unless you try to do something stupid like hide bottles in your socks, what are you really doing illegal if you never actually cross the border with beer in your possession…all you’ve done is possess beer in a country where it’s legal for you to do so. Most border agents try to intimidate you but that’s how they can tell if you’re telling the truth. Just don’t lie. Having said that, I’m not a lawyer, it wouldn’t hurt to try to get an official answer from the powers that be because what I’m saying seems “logical” to me, but the law isn’t always logical.

Mtl_zack's avatar

We’re dot driving, we’re taking a plane to Florida.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Were you going to put the alcohol in a carry-on? Because I don’t think they allow anyone to do that anymore, regardless of age.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Eh, screw it. Just try it. If they ask you about it, say it’s legal in Canada. The worst that’s going to happen is that they’ll confiscate the alcohol. You won’t be arrested or anything like that, because obviously, people from your country will have allowed you onto to the plane with it in the first place.

Mtl_zack's avatar

I was thinking of putting it under the plane. I have a copy of the declaration card, and it says nothing about alcohol. I think the main thing is getting off the plane and out of the airport with it. From there, I’ve got a driver who takes me home, and done!

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Yeah, just try it. I really don’t see the harm in it. You aren’t smuggling drugs or anything into the country and a lot of American’s know that drinking laws are different in Canada. I was going to say that maybe, if it’d be possible, the person you’re bringing the alcohol for meets you at the airport? That way once you’re off the plane you can unload it right into their hands or something.

evolverevolve's avatar

say fuck the police and speed through that shit. i’ve crossed into canada with other possibly illegal things so i’m sure you’ll be fine. just don’t run into the cops, doesn’t matter where you are, you should know that.

Gfly's avatar

You don’t need it in Florida there are better things there to be found:)

Likeradar's avatar

Possession is illegal if you’re under 21. I wouldn’t risk it. There’s a big chance no one would know, but if you get busted do you really want to deal with the consequences? Two 6 packs just don’t seem worth the risk to me.

alive's avatar

legal, no.

possible, well anything is possible…

Judi's avatar

you can bring rum in from a cruise to the Caribbean so I don’t see why not. There are limit rules though and I don’t remember what they are.

dannyc's avatar

Buy it in the States, it is way cheaper…

dalepetrie's avatar

I think all the people saying that people should just buy their beer stateside are missing the point. In Canada, their beer has a much higher alcohol content, and real beer aficionados given the opportunity, try to secure Canadian beer that is sold in Canada because it tastes better than say the LaBatts you can buy at your local liquor store.

brettvdb's avatar

I say try it and just be honest about it – don’t try to hide it, as someone suggested earlier this indicates intent to smuggle it. If customs asks you about it, just tell them the person you’re staying with asked if you could bring them some Canadian beer, which you bought legally in your own country, and that you didn’t think it would be a problem.

alive's avatar

i would not take brettvdb’s advice. customs does not take “i didn’t know” as an answer.

there is no legal way to get that beer to your relative. if you are not 21 and you are in possession of alcohol (drinking it or not) you can be ticketed. and since you are not a US citizen a ticket will be much more than a little hassle.

the likeliness that customs will ACTUALLY check your bag to see if it matches your declaration card is small. but taking that risk is up to you. a couple beers or some trouble with US Office of Homeland Security.

brettvdb's avatar

I don’t think you can be ticketed for having alcohol in Canada if you are of age.

Can a US customs officer really ticket you before you’ve crossed over?

alive's avatar

He is flying in, so it would be an international arrival. he would be going through customs at the airport once he lands, not before he leaves.

brettvdb's avatar

Ahhh okay fair enough. As always in an airport, follow all the rules to a tee.

Mtl_zack's avatar

It turns out that the customs process was in Canada on the way there, so yeah, I could’ve brought in alcohol, but I didn’t.

dalepetrie's avatar

Maybe you could ship some. I know you can’t use the postal service for alcohol, but there HAS to be a way.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

my best answer is, bring it, and if they catch you, just tell them the truth. it’s legal in canada, and you weren’t aware that you’d be in legal trouble for bringing it here.

dalepetrie's avatar

I forgot about this, but I emailed customs and found out that there is no legal way to do this…you can’t bring it into the US if you’re under 21 and you can’t ship it through the mail.

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