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Immigrations and Customs Experiences

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If I were a gambling man, I would bet that there is something common in the DNA of most Immigration and Customs Officials around the world. Entering and exiting most countries, I am often reminded of an old joke and have been tempted many times to use it.

A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Hey, buddy what's up with the long face?”

So far I have been able to restraint myself from becoming like Jason Bourne and others in having my passport stamped “Denied”. Although, I think being “Persona Non Grata” would be cool if just for a day.

My best land /seaport border crossing by far has been in Swaziland followed by Jordan’s, “Welcome To The Kingdom Of Jordan” in Aqdaba.

The best airport experience, Dubai where there were no forms to fill out, the process was efficient and it actually felt like they wanted you to visit their country. Most countries in Europe tend to also fall into this category not necessarily in terms of warmness but efficiency.

The worst land border crossing, almost a tie between Mozambique and The King Hussein Bridge crossing into Israel. The latter almost understandable but what an unfriendly process that I am told can sometimes take up to five hours.

The worst airport experience, Detroit, Michigan where as a US citizen I was pulled aside and interrogated before being allowed back into my own country.

On a recent visit to China I was surprised to find an Immigration Officer grading system right at the counter available for you to give instant critique after you are processed. These should be available everywhere and the results made public. A JD Power rating system for Immigration and Customs Officials.

I know which group would not be anywhere near the top of that rating system except if it's Global Entry Program is included. As member of Global Entry, I am happy to report that now most of my returns to the US are efficient and pleasant experiences. Maybe it is because machines never seem to be unhappy to be at work or have long faces.

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