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Just back from 1st trip overseas (Paris) have a quick question.

Just back from 1st trip overseas (Paris) have a quick question.

Apr 16th, 2003, 04:09 PM
  #1  
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Just back from 1st trip overseas (Paris) have a quick question.

I was sitting in my hotel room three days into my week long trip, and I was thinking "I wonder what the France stamp looks like in my passport". So I look and there is no stamp.

So then I realize that no one searched my luggage, no drug dogs, no one asked my if I had anything to declare, nothing. I start to think maybe I did something wrong going through the airport, but I did not want to ask anyone over there in case I had!

This is what I did from the time I walked off of the plane until I got on the RER. I filled out the disembarkment card and gave it and my passport to a person in a booth, who then tossed my card into a pile of hundreds of cards and handed my passport back. I went to pickup my luggage off of the carrousels but it never came off. So I went into the AirFrance office right by the carrousels and filled out a lost luggage form. I then exited the area that had the carrousels and the AirFrance office through a pair of doors just to the left of the AirFrance office. I then followed the signs to the RER and left.

For some reason I was thinking that when I was waiting for my luggage that there may have been airport/security people over by those doors that I eventually left through, but by the time I went though there was no one around. Did I fail to do something, or did I sweat bullets for nothing?


Thanks

bigb
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Apr 16th, 2003, 04:16 PM
  #2  
ira
 
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Hi bigb,
Don't worry. Due to the large number of travelers in the modern world, the authorities only check the people who "fit the profile".
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Apr 16th, 2003, 04:31 PM
  #3  
 
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Hopefully, you were checked and your baggage scanned BEFORE you got on the plane. Typically, you would not go thru anything more when you got off, and, you just go thru the "nothing to declare" passage.

I do find that unless you ask in a lot of countries, they often don't stamp your passport. I now ask because I just like to see the stamp.
nancy is offline  
Apr 16th, 2003, 05:33 PM
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The last passport stamp I got in France was in 1997, I used to have a VISA for France also as they were requiring them back in the 1980s, but not in my new passport (I'm American).

NO one has ever searched my luggage in France and I don't remember dogs around, but I have been questioned at times by security people and I most definitely do not fit a profile. They pick people randomly at times, they don't have enough personnel to do it to everyone. I had to describe what I had done in France, where I'd visited, where I'd stayed, etc. I don't know why you'd be asked about declaring things upon arrival, I've never had that happen in any country.

Just out of curiosity, why were you "sweating bullets"? I gather you had brought something illegal with you? I was questioned extensively and I wasn't sweating bullets.
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Apr 16th, 2003, 05:35 PM
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My only problem was recently in Houston, Texas. I was asked to remove shoes as well as the luggage search. I miss the stamping of passports myself.
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 16th, 2003, 06:14 PM
  #6  
 
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My son asks for a stamp. He has a passport full
Bigb,
be glad that all that sweating of bullets WAS for nothing!
Scarlett is offline  
Apr 16th, 2003, 07:09 PM
  #7  
 
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Did you get your lost luggage back?
Betsy is offline  
Apr 16th, 2003, 07:42 PM
  #8  
 
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The French immigration people do not stamp American and EU passports.
If you return to Europe, and enter through France with plans to exit from another country, I suggest you ask for a stamp.

Why? Other countries check USA bound passengers very, very thoroughly, particularly Germany. Like who are you and where did you come from?

Immediately after 9/11 I returned from Munich. My passport did not have a stamp for entry into Europe. So I had to explain a lot quickly. Fortunately, I had my tickets for the flight over in my passport case and that satisfied the officials in Munich. I must admit they were a thorough, professional bunch, particularly when compared with security in the USA.

I have returned home twice after 9/11 from Germany. Both times the Germans inspected everybody headed for the USA very thoroughly. The Grenzpolizei had a much better idea what all of us were up against than did the French. (Remember the shoe bomber? He got on the airplane in Paris at CDG.)

I was astounded at the differences in intensity with which passengers to the USA were screened. When we flew to Helsinki, the inspection was cursory. When I came home, questioning before boarding was extensive and careful, passports were scrutinized, and everybody was xrayed and hand searched. (And yes, all of the German border patrol agents spoke very good English.)

I can say with 99.999% confidence that the shoe bomber would never have made it past the check point in Munich. All of us went through security with our shoes off. Each shoe was x-rayed in high resolution detail, then it was hand examined in questionable cases. One poor guy even had his shoe cut into.

Then when we taxied into take off position, a German armored car followed the aircraft down the tarmac with its cannon pointed right at us. I talked last year with the guy who drove the vehicle two years ago. He remembered the procedures quite well.

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Apr 16th, 2003, 08:04 PM
  #9  
lyb
 
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Bob Brown
>>can say with 99.999% confidence that the shoe bomber would never have made it past the check point in Munich. All of us went through security with our shoes off. Each shoe was x-rayed in high resolution detail, then it was hand examined in questionable cases. One poor guy even had his shoe cut into. <<

The only problem is that they didn't start checking shoes until AFTER the shoe bomber....
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Apr 16th, 2003, 08:30 PM
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Sorry. that was immediately after 9/11.
I returned from Munich in 2001 and 2002.
I went through with my shoes in my hand both times.
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Apr 17th, 2003, 05:55 AM
  #11  
 
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Christina - When did you get a visa from the French???? I travelled there several times in the 80's and earlier, and never had a visa....

Just wondering what I missed...

Best wishes.
Dave is offline  
Apr 17th, 2003, 06:08 AM
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We got ours in 1987. I think there were a couple of years in there where for some reason we required a visa of the French, so they retaliated by requiring one of us. (I'm sure Christina will remember the details!) What a pain! We took a group of students to Europe and one kid lost his passport in Salzburg, so we had to replace not only the passport, but also the French visa!
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Apr 17th, 2003, 06:20 AM
  #13  
aj
 
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On our first trip to France we did not get a "stamp" on our passport. I did not know what to expect. The other countries we visited did stamp our passport. In fact in Belgum they acted really mad because we told them we had come from Paris and we had no stamp on our passport. Any way, I wanted to collect stamps from all the countries I visited so I asked for a stamp on our second entry to Paris. "NO" was the answer! I just gave up on collecting stamps. I guess "romantic" travel must have ended years ago.
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Apr 17th, 2003, 08:26 AM
  #14  
 
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LVSue - thanks for the "visa" info...I wasn't in France in '87, and didn't know that they required Visas then!! Now I wish I had gone, if only to have the visa in my passport!!

Best wishes, Dave
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Apr 17th, 2003, 08:37 AM
  #15  
 
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Passport stamps. Ex-patriates working in Poland enter and leave Poland every three months. Limits of tourist stay. Check country regulations. Stamp is also evidence of legal entry into country.
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Apr 17th, 2003, 09:46 AM
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I had to get a VISA to travel to France in 1988, I think. I don't remember when they started it, but I think it was 1986-1987 -- I remember I had to go to the French consulate in Los Angeles (where I lived) and stand in a long line to get one in the Spring of 1988.

The US was provoking Libya at the time so they could bomb them, and there was a lot of trouble in the world -- Middle East, Pakistan, Iran, etc. The US conducted military manouvers in 1986 off the coast of Libya in waters they claimed in order to get Qaddafi to attack them so they could bomb Libya in retaliation. They did that in 1981, also. I think Libya did fire a couple missiles far off, and then the US killed some Libyans in a patrol boat as a reaction. After that, there was a bombing in a German nightclub in 1986 which the US said Gaddafi was behind (he well could have been) and some Americans were killed, including a few GIs, and so then the US (Reagan) conducted bombing raids on Libya (that was when they killed Qaddafi's adopted daughter). They couldn't get Britain (Thatcher wanted more evidence) to go along or other countries, even Germany where it occurred, so the US bombed Tripoli while they were thinking about it and while German's foreign minister was on the was to US to discuss it.

That was the general climate; I don't recall if France did it because the US required it of French citizens or not. There was also a lot of problems in Beirut at the time and riots in Pakistan and the Aytollah K in Iran.

I think I'm remembering July 1988 because I was studying at the Sorbonne and I remember the US did something one day during that month that we (the American students) thought was going to cause a lot of anti-Americanism and weren't sure whether we should go out that night into the Latin Quarter. I think the US military shot down an Iranian civilian airplane and killed 300 people. Some theories say that lead to Lockerbie.

You wouldn't still have the Visa because passports only last 10 years, which is why I don't have it anymore.
Christina is offline  
Apr 17th, 2003, 03:30 PM
  #17  
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Thanks for all of the replies everyone!

I guess I was just expecting something more like what you go through when you come back to the US. When I came back, drug dogs sniffed all the luggage, all carrryons were re-Xrayed, everyone went through the metal detectors again, some had to remove their shoes, ect.

I assumed that all countries would have similar security measures.

Thanks

bigb


PS My lost luggage was delivered to my hotel the afternoon of the next day by AirFrance. So except for all my blisters from walking all over Paris in my dress shoes for a day and a half everything worked out fine.
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Apr 17th, 2003, 06:47 PM
  #18  
 
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I was in france in 1989, and I did not have a visa...I believe that visa was required only for long sojours..
kismetchimera is offline  
Apr 17th, 2003, 06:50 PM
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It was in July of 1989 that France stopped requiring visas of US tourists. It only went on for a couple of years. I've tried to find out the story behind it, but to no avail. I'm positive of the date I got mine because I still have my old passport.
LVSue is offline  
Apr 17th, 2003, 07:41 PM
  #20  
 
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Can someone please share with me what constitutes THE PROFILE?

thanks
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