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Old Aug 23, 09, 5:55 am   #1
 
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customs agents and speech/hearing disability

Hi. I have an adult son who is exceptionally intelligent (he was recently awarded a utility patent on one of his drums) but, because of a work injury, has a 40%R and 80%L hearing loss and suffers from moderate aphasia - occasionally mixing up words when talking/listening and he also has difficulty writing. He has a visible disability when it comes to walking distances, so he holds on to my shoulder for balance. We are both US citizens. He has the opportunity to perform at a disability festival this year in Korea, and next year I would like to show him Paris and London. But, I am really concerned about his inability to get through customs if I am not allowed to be with him to help him answer questions. Since I am not his "guardian" in the legal sense, will they separate us in customs even though I am his care assistant? Any suggestions? Thank you very much.

Last edited by janereed; Aug 23, 09 at 5:57 am. Reason: was not finished
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Old Aug 23, 09, 1:20 pm   #2
 
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Originally Posted by janereed View Post
Hi. I have an adult son who is exceptionally intelligent (he was recently awarded a utility patent on one of his drums) but, because of a work injury, has a 40%R and 80%L hearing loss and suffers from moderate aphasia - occasionally mixing up words when talking/listening and he also has difficulty writing. He has a visible disability when it comes to walking distances, so he holds on to my shoulder for balance. We are both US citizens. He has the opportunity to perform at a disability festival this year in Korea, and next year I would like to show him Paris and London. But, I am really concerned about his inability to get through customs if I am not allowed to be with him to help him answer questions. Since I am not his "guardian" in the legal sense, will they separate us in customs even though I am his care assistant? Any suggestions? Thank you very much.
You probably mean immigrations more than customs. In Paris I would say no trouble at all, as it is unlikely that he would be questioned at all, and you could probably go through as a family. London may be a little more difficult, but I would guess you could also approach the immigration officer as a family and speak for your son. The reason I think London may be a little more difficult is that they always have asked me a few questions. In Paris, I don't believe I've been interviewed even once.

Enjoy your travels.
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Old Aug 23, 09, 2:51 pm   #3
 
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Thank you for your correction and kind reply. I feel a bit better knowing that we might be able to go through immigration "as a family."
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Old Aug 24, 09, 9:12 am   #4
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In my many years of travel, I have not been separated from family members going through either customs or immigration. The questions are easy: usually starting with "what is the purpose of your trip?" "How long are you planning to stay?" "Where are you staying?"

As he is an adult, give your son the chance to answer on his own, but if accents cause him problems (happens with my husband), you can make eye contact with the immigration official and look for a signal to answer.

Your son can say "I can't hear you. Mother will answer." or some such.

This is new to you, but is a very well trodden path. You won't have any problems.
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Old Aug 24, 09, 10:17 am   #5
 
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Thank you "oldpenny16". It is nice to know that immigrations will be no bigger hurdle than normal vagaries of travel. And with proper planning and preparation and a sense of humor (not in immigrations) it will all work out fine.
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Old Aug 24, 09, 2:59 pm   #6
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You are certainly welcome!

Have wonderful travels.
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