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Old Dec 18, 07, 1:46 pm   #1
 
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Customs Red-Flagged?

Hello All....After being questioned a few times and then bag searched twice I am pretty sure my passport has been flagged. For what reason...I have NO IDEA.

Does anyone know if I can find out what is on their customs file? Can the profile fixed to avoid being flagged? Should I register with Nexus and do a voluntary background check?

Also, can someone explain to be the number coding that the U.S. Customs agents use when marking your declaration form? I think they use 1,2 or 3.
Any information and help will be helpful. Thanks guys!
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Old Dec 18, 07, 2:00 pm   #2
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philnyce welcome to FT!

I'm going to move your thread over into the Travel Safety and Security forum, the gurus on how to deal with the DHS. I'm sure they'll be able to help you

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Old Dec 18, 07, 2:02 pm   #3
 
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thank you
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Old Dec 18, 07, 6:44 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philnyce View Post
Hello All....After being questioned a few times and then bag searched twice I am pretty sure my passport has been flagged. For what reason...I have NO IDEA.

Does anyone know if I can find out what is on their customs file? Can the profile fixed to avoid being flagged? Should I register with Nexus and do a voluntary background check?

Also, can someone explain to be the number coding that the U.S. Customs agents use when marking your declaration form? I think they use 1,2 or 3.
Any information and help will be helpful. Thanks guys!
I can't speak for other ports, but at LAX the 1, 2, 3, etc means how many people are included on the stamped CBP 6059B, in other words, how many people are on your declaration.

There's a few people on FT that have already requested their file, if one exists from CBP. I'm sure they'll let you know the particulars.
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Old Dec 18, 07, 7:35 pm   #5
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I can't speak for other ports, but at LAX the 1, 2, 3, etc means how many people are included on the stamped CBP 6059B, in other words, how many people are on your declaration.

There's a few people on FT that have already requested their file, if one exists from CBP. I'm sure they'll let you know the particulars.
There's this one from DHS, but I don't know that it will include your CBP dossier.

Good luck.
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Old Dec 18, 07, 7:57 pm   #6
 
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One time when I was specifically flagged by an immigration agent at LAX for a little extra attention from Customs it was by circling the little round DHS logo logo in the upper left hand corner of the 6059B form. I presume that is an informal little signal in that specific local. The customs guy took one look at it and sent me strait to secondary where they did a somewhat cursory bag search.

I agree the numbers are just how many people in the family.
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Old Dec 18, 07, 8:03 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by philnyce View Post
Hello All....After being questioned a few times and then bag searched twice I am pretty sure my passport has been flagged. For what reason...I have NO IDEA.

Does anyone know if I can find out what is on their customs file? Can the profile fixed to avoid being flagged? Should I register with Nexus and do a voluntary background check?

Also, can someone explain to be the number coding that the U.S. Customs agents use when marking your declaration form? I think they use 1,2 or 3.
Any information and help will be helpful. Thanks guys!
How many trips has this happened on back to back and at what ports of entry?

Any changes in international travel habits?

I went through a period where I am certain I was flagged. I would always be directed into secondary customs where I would go through a bag search and a long questioning.

It finally stopped, but I had looked at my credit report during that period and saw that a court / police department in Michigan had pulled my Trans Union credit file. They also pulled my fathers. When I called, it turned out it was the child support division that pulled it.

I gave em' hell and made them erase the hard inquiry. Soon afterwards all of my problems with US Immigrations and Customs stopped. Not a problem since then.

Last - is there any "pattern" with respect to the questioning you are getting on each return? How often to you enter / re-enter the United States? I was re-entering every 2 to 3 weeks when I went through the period where I had problems with US CBP.

The # written on the form typically means how many people are in your party. I've hard my card stamped and have also seen other things written on it in the past.
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Old Dec 18, 07, 8:05 pm   #8
 
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Do you ever have trouble getting a boarding pass?
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Old Dec 19, 07, 10:37 am   #9
 
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From my personal experiences I have only been flagged once by customs and this was at LAX which is similar to the OP. First, i made it through immigration with no problems except the agent saying my passport was in poor shape and should be replaced, after grabbing my 2 bags i was going through the nothing to declare line and was directed over to the special screening line. When I got there I received the thorough bag search and a lot of questions about my work, where I visited, and what I went traveling for. The agent then asked me what was on my laptop and numerous memory cards and asked permission to search my laptop for pictures. Since I always make sure to take a clean laptop out of the country I said go ahead and the agent did a search for jpg files and found nothing of interest. Over the whole course of this the agent and I talked a bit and he explained how most likely I was simply flagged because I was a solo traveler coming back from Asia with no business reasons to be there. In addition, I should add in that the agent that did the search was professional and kept everything as neat as possible.

Since this experience I have passed through customs at ORD and SFO a few times and previously I had gone through customs before without any problems. IMO, I would say this is simply either the OP just looking like an interesting person for a thorough customs search for the customs agents or simply the agents are just more thorough when you have been passing through LAX.

In the future, try entering through another international gateway and see if you have the same results. Also, where were you flying in from on these 2 incidents and were you traveling solo?
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Old Dec 19, 07, 1:14 pm   #10
 
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Thank you all for your responses. I not a big international traveler at all. Most of my business is within the US, but from time to time I would be asked to travel to Germany, Vancouver, Mexico and London.

I probably travel internationally 3 times per year..which is why I can't understand why I am being flagged. I have excellent credit, no criminal record at all...etc.)

I do remember having one unfriendly Customs agent at JFK give me a rough time and after that I feel like I have been flagged. I was coming from a wedding in Mexico.

I do not have any trouble with international ports at all. Only in the U.S and mainly at JFK in NYC.

Do I have a right to know what is on my record?
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Old Dec 19, 07, 1:17 pm   #11
 
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questions asked

I am usually asked these questions...like what is my SS number...where do I live...where did I live before...what is my parents maiden names...what was I doing in (germany)....how many days...for business or pleasure...did I pack my own bags...do I have a copy of my birth certificate on me? what do I do for a living..etc. freaking annoying!!
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Old Dec 19, 07, 1:20 pm   #12
 
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number coding

I'm not sure that the numbers coding corresponds with the number traveling in your party. I was traveling with 4 other co-workers and they got only a stamp on their Customs Declaration Forms...no number.

I got a number in red with a circle around it:-) for the love of Goodness!
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Old Dec 19, 07, 2:10 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by bschaff1 View Post
The agent then asked me what was on my laptop and numerous memory cards and asked permission to search my laptop for pictures. Since I always make sure to take a clean laptop out of the country I said go ahead and the agent did a search for jpg files and found nothing of interest.
I know Customs is supposed to stop prohibited items such as drugs from entering the country, but I do not think jpg files are on the list of prohibited items. What is the duty that should be paid on a picture?
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Old Dec 19, 07, 2:13 pm   #14
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Originally Posted by philnyce View Post
I'm not sure that the numbers coding corresponds with the number traveling in your party. I was traveling with 4 other co-workers and they got only a stamp on their Customs Declaration Forms...no number.
It's how many family members. So if you're not related, then they won't be listed on your form.
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Old Dec 19, 07, 2:26 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by dfw_plt_aa View Post
I know Customs is supposed to stop prohibited items such as drugs from entering the country, but I do not think jpg files are on the list of prohibited items. What is the duty that should be paid on a picture?
They're looking for "obscene" material. As in "I know it when I see it".

In some countries, you might assume that they are looking for industrial/business secrets.
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