Immigrations and Customs Experiences

Aug 13th, 2012, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Well, I've traveled by land from the US dozens of times, in cars and in semi-trailer trucks. Canada immigration always asked the same one and only question "Are you carrying any firearms"? They don't seem to care if I'm smuggling or overstaying. As long as I don't carry any guns...
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 13th, 2012, 07:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,075

Your points are the point of my original post. I think the questions asked by Immigration Officals are for the most part ridiculous.

For flights into the US they are sent a passenger list and know you are coming long before you get there. If they have some suspicions about your travel then give you the "VIP Shuttle" treament not silly questions when you are coming back from maybe a 8-14 hour flight.

Now I understand land border crossings can be different and should be processed differently. However, training in human behavior should be helpful in making it easier to spot those that are maybe trying to enter a country with possible bad intentions.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 04:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,075
Thumbs up for Iceland Immigration (Police) and Customs.

The only question (politely) asked: "How long will you be in Iceland?"

No forms to fill out, the whole process took less than three minutes excluding time in line. Now that's the way to feel welcomed to a country.

Thanks Iceland
DMBTraveler is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Iceland is Schengen. I don't know why they even opened their mouth.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 03:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,994
re -1:

Maybe the fellow was arriving from the UK?
DonTopaz is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 10:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,075

Maybe some of them actually like people visiting their country that are Non-Schengen.

Nice to see not everyone has a pessimistic view of travelers and traveling
DMBTraveler is offline  
Aug 31st, 2012, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,895

You'd be amazed at the questions US immigration has asked me when returning to the US, particularly when I lived in the Middle East. Sometimes I think they're just curious or bored.

One time US immigration wanted to know how much money I had. I asked "on my person"? Then I rattled off how much cash I had in Singapore dollars, Australian dollars and US dollars. It was kinda weird, I've never been asked that before.

I do like when the immigration officials say "welcome home" though. I'm usually pretty glad to be 'home' by then.
Melnq8 is online now  
Sep 2nd, 2012, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,222
thanks for sharing fun stories!

One of my most intimidating was into Russia in the late 80's. The plane was early, and we ended up waiting on the tarmac for about 45 minutes while they found someone to turn on the lights in the airport and let us in. The immigration guy kept staring at me, my passport, me, my passport. Got to the point that I wondered if passports had gotten switched!

Coming through Amsterdam from Belfast - we had a long conversation before boarding. In this case, I don't think it was immigration - it was just security to board the flight to the US, but it was late May 1998 and voting on the Good Friday agreement happened while we were in Ireland. We had played golf and were asked many detailed questions about it. Clearly, the questions were designed to check details and watch human behavior as explained above. But when a man with a large machine gun (who can deny you boarding in this case) asks how your round was, and how the weather was, and where you played, you answer.
surfmom is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 06:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 82
I have never had an unfriendly immigration officer in the US either. But does anyone think its because those with good experiences are American Citizens?
lifeisanadventure is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 12:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,075

I tend to agree with an earlier post that most of the good experiences come from areas where the surrounding communities are more friendly and does not necessarily have anything to do with your citizenship.

For example, one poster stated that in Dallas, he always get a friendly welcome. For me, this was not normally the case in the past when I returned on flights through Detriot. There, I was once pulled aside as an American Citizen and had some sort of background and indentification check done before I was processed back into my own country. Now I have "Global Entry" and avoid those kinds of situations.

It is good to read about others experiences, especially the funny ones
DMBTraveler is offline  
Sep 6th, 2012, 12:00 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 999
Some very funny stories above!
I have to recount a very sad one though that my daughter told me yesterday. Her male friend (early twenties) recently visited the US and Canada and had a very traumatic experience.
He was travelling with his parents (I am unsure through which airport) on his first trip into the US. After a very bad accident in his teens he has been left with a disability for which he requires a 'Viagara' type drug which he is legally prescribed.
He had a packet (with his name etc on them) on his person and I think 'erring on the side of caution,' declared them when entering the US (I wouldn't have thought he needed to declare prescription drugs?)
Anyway, he was dragged off to a room on his own and absolutely grilled by the officer.. "How many days are you in the US? Answer 23. Officer "So why do you need 28 tablets? Are you planning to f*&k an American girl every day then??!!"

He had a letter from his DR. which unfortunately he had naively packed into his checked luggage which wasn't at hand.

He tried to show the Officer his extensive scarring and explain about his accident but the guy wasn't interested. He was told if he wanted to bring the drugs through he would have to pay a large fine (?) or dump them in the rubbish bin ($200 worth of tabs) which he ended up doing.

All in all a very traumatic experience for a young man who thought he was doing the right thing.
ozgirl is offline  
Sep 7th, 2012, 10:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,075

Unfortunate when common sense and professionalism are thrown out the window. However, I hope others will learn from your posting and this young man's experience.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Sep 9th, 2012, 08:23 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,450
I recently entered the US from Canada on Amtrak's Adirondack from Montreal. I was horrified by the behavior of the US order guards, who just barked questions at the Canadians like they were felons. I wasn't sure whether they were polite to me because of my US passport or my white hair, but I felt ashamed to be (half) American.

My friendliest border guard was at the Batumi airport in Georgia (Republic of), who gave me the biggest smile and the heartiest "welcome to Georgia". I figured they must not get a lot of tourists there. My worst border crossing involved a train and Russia, like NoFlyZone - six hours to get out of Russia and into Mongolia.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 13th, 2012, 09:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,075

Unfortunately, what you witnessed is far to common for US Immigration and Customs Officials. It really is a shame because they do not have to exhibit that type of behavior towards anyone.

I hope you will continue to get polite treatment even if you dye your hair
DMBTraveler is offline  
Sep 15th, 2012, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,264
US Immigration officer at Logan airport in Boston, when I said I had been to France, asked why I would I would go there since they all hate us. I replied that the French were welcoming and kind. She answered" Well they don't like Bush and we're all Bushies!" I wish I had taken down her name to report her. I didn't say anything back to her as I wanted to enter the US and not be detained.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Sep 17th, 2012, 07:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,075

Besides they are the ones who gave us "French Fries"
DMBTraveler is offline  
Sep 17th, 2012, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Part of a lengthy exchange between and INS agent and @ ORD earlier this month:

INS: Where are you going?
Me: The Canadian Rockies. We are transiting to Calgary.
INS: There is Rockies in Canada? Isn't that in Colorado?
Me: No, m'am. The Rockies extend all the way up to Canada.

Well, I guess this is more a sign about the US education system more than about immigration.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 17th, 2012, 04:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,075

"Eh, what's up doc?" Don't put down the US education system because of one experience with one individual.

Although you may have a point, I think this is more about this individual's lack of travel experience or education more than it is about the US education system.

I think people like Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Warren Buffet, Sandra Day O'Connor, Barbara Boxer, Madonna, even Bugs Bunny and many others like them are products of the US education system
DMBTraveler is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 06:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,075
Kudos for Immigration and Customs officials at "The Port Of Miami". Fast, efficient and somewhat friendly.

Must be from all the Florida sun
DMBTraveler is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Okay, so it's not the issue with US education. Yet, an agent with the Customs & Border Protection having poor knowledge geography is a sign of.... sign of, whatever. Well, at least she should know when NOT to open her mouth.
rkkwan is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:46 PM.