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Extra screening at immigration

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Jun 16th, 2013, 10:26 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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Extra screening at immigration

Just wondering if this has happened to anyone else.

Two trips ago flying CDG-ORD I was stopped at immigration, had my passport taken, and was escorted by the border police for extra screening in a separate room. I was not amused, but figured it was just random and my number came up. After being delayed for what seemed forever, but was probably only 20 minutes, I was free to go and thought nothing more about it.

Last trip, again flying CDG-ORD, again the same thing happened. This time I was less than amused, quite pissed off actually, but politely asked why this has now happened twice in a row. I didn't get any answers, just told to apply for Global Entry (not worth the annual fee since I only leave the country but once per year).

I am nearly ready to book another trip to Paris, but knowing that I will likely be stopped once again at immigration really makes me think twice about it.

Any help, ideas, or suggestions welcome.
ruedebuci is offline  
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Jun 16th, 2013, 10:39 PM
  #2
Hez
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Why not apply for Global Entry - it's $100 for 5 years - worth the money even if only once a year - especially if for some reason your details seem to raise flags. The bliss of walking past all the customs lines is sweet. I recently made a connecting flight from Sydney through LA only because of my Global Entry. Can't even describe the feeling of walking onto my plane to Denver from LA as they closed the doors behind me, knowing that without the Global Entry I would still be in the immigration queue.
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Jun 16th, 2013, 10:59 PM
  #3
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If that is the case, then I was misinformed of the price. I thought it was $125 per year!

I agree that $100 for five years is worth it.

How long does the process take? I'm looking at leaving in about three weeks.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 12:53 AM
  #4
 
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I traveled with a British guy of Chinese extraction through the US a couple of years ago and we were both stopped at every (6) security checks for "special service", I have no idea what our special (racial, religious, nationality, stance) was that triggered this but once "tagged" it never stopped.

You have been "tagged".
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Jun 17th, 2013, 03:42 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: May 2003
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For the uninitiated . . . what is Global Entry, please?
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Jun 17th, 2013, 03:49 AM
  #6
 
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I get pulled aside all the time. Of course it happens to other people, not just to you.

di2315 - I googled Global Entry for you. Here's the site,

http://www.globalentry.gov/
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Jun 17th, 2013, 04:11 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Welcome to my world.

Often (in fact, more often than not) when I travel to the U.S. (I'm English) I find myself being 'randomly selected for additional checks'. I fly to the States three to four times a year on business, so it happens to me quite a lot.

I don't know if I'm guilty of travelling alone whilst brown or what it is, but I make sure I factor in the additional time I know I'm (almost always) going to need to get through immigration.

I've also learned not to ask why I've been selected, or show any signs of happiness on being finally allowed to continue my journey.

I once made the mistake of saying 'nearly there' to the person next to me in the queue after a particularly long immigration queue in San Francisco, within earshot of a uniformed (and armed) member of staff who took umbrage at this.

He asked me step over to the bag search area, open my bag and take a step back. He then put his hand to the bottom of my case, turfed the contents out and immediately told me I was free to go.

Having to re-pack my case, following a 12 hour flight and two hours in the immigration queue was quite possibly the last thing I wanted to be doing, but of course I had to say "thank you" through gritted teeth and proceed to the hell that is car rental at SFO...
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Jun 17th, 2013, 04:29 AM
  #8
 
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to be fair SFO is very similar to hell
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Jun 17th, 2013, 06:39 AM
  #9
 
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bilbo - you're not far wrong.

If SFO is similar to hell, Atlanta airport must be its earthly incarnation. I've had some fun and games there as well...
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Jun 17th, 2013, 07:10 AM
  #10
 
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When THIS thread suddenly "disappears" we'll know for sure what the problem is.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 07:54 AM
  #11
Hez
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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It took longer than 3 weeks, although there might be a way to expedite it, or it might be quicker where you are. I'm pretty sure when I applied I got an interview date straight away though. You apply online. As long as the interview is before you leave then you'll be good - you don't have to actually have the card to use the global entry kiosks. At the interview they said I was now approved and could use it as of that day.

hth
Hez
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Jun 17th, 2013, 09:22 AM
  #12
 
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As far as the Global Entry application timeline, it took about a week for approval for us. However the soonest available interview time slot was over a month away. We decided to head to the airport early on the day of our outbound flight and were able to schedule interviews on the spot due to no shows. The actual interview only takes 10-15 minutes and we were able to use Global Entry on our return. I used to get flagged and sent to secondary screening often as I had a passport stolen 20 years ago.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 10:26 AM
  #13
 
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Perhaps your name is similar to that of someone on a watch list - and they need to confirm you are not they.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 10:47 AM
  #14
 
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I have been suffering extra screening for the last 15 years due to having two passports stolen in 2 years. Usually I can get through just by telling the immigration officer that I know exactly what he just saw on his screen and giving the details, but sometimes I experience the joy of the interview room with all of the other suspicious characters.

Oddly enough, I am absolutely never interviewed now. I just sit and wait for a few minutes with the fake visas and blacklisted names, and then they call my name and return my passport to me with a smile.

Nevertheless, it is infuriating.
kerouac is online now  
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Jun 17th, 2013, 11:53 AM
  #15
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Thanks for your replies everyone.

I'm on a tight budget so debating whether or not to spend the $100 Global Entry fee now or later.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 12:20 PM
  #16
Hez
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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United reimburses the global entry fee for Platinum and higher frequent flyers.

Probably not helpful to you ruedebuci as you said you only fly once a year - but I thought maybe helpful for someone later reading this thread.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 12:31 PM
  #17
 
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Amex also reimburses for Platinum and Centurion cardholders.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 01:00 PM
  #18
 
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Global Entry is not a guarantee that you won't be pulled for additional screeing:

"While Global Entry's goal is to speed travelers through the process, members may be selected for further examination when entering the United States. "

"The "X" can mean many different things: random inspection; you have items to declare; you have agriculture products that need to be examined your fingerprints may not have matched, or other issues."

I resent the idea that if you pay extra you get to skip the line. And I have no interest in subjecting myself to investigation and interrogation (aka interview).
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Jun 17th, 2013, 07:18 PM
  #19
Hez
 
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My spending the $100 potentially makes it faster for you as well as I don't need to take up the time of a customs officer - and I'm not in front of you making the queue longer.

By the way, it also give you PreCheck which means at many domestic airports you skip the queue and don't have to go through the backscatter machines, take your shoes off, liquids out, laptop out etc. I was happy to have a 5 minute interview to forgo having the tsa "investigate" my person every time I fly!
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Jun 17th, 2013, 09:05 PM
  #20
 
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There was a couple of years when every time I flew they would search me. In fact, I got a great foot massage from a woman at the Frankfurt airport, while another agent was uncomfortably touchy with me. I should have been flattered.

My husband started joking that I must look like a known drug trafficker. It was funny when he said it outside the airport but when he whispered it on the plane it felt like he was on a microphone. Not funny.

After a few times it stopped.
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