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My son got refused entry at BRU & spent 3 days confined at airport

My son got refused entry at BRU & spent 3 days confined at airport

Old Feb 3, 15, 11:43 pm
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My son got refused entry at BRU & spent 3 days confined at airport

Just a word of warning to anyone traveling with a non-European passport but permanently resident in Europe that they need to always travel with their residency card. My 18 year old son (US passport holder) who has spent the last 15 years in France and is permanent resident there flew LHR-BRU on a LHR-BRU-LYS itin. Stupidly he did not have his resident card with him because we have never been asked to show it as he travels with his US passport. Belgian police denied him entry to Belgium so he couldn't continue his flight and he was put in airport confinement for 3 days. All his personal items including phone and tablet were taken from him. On the first day they allowed him to call us (we currently live in SIN) to tell us what was happening and we managed to email to the police a copy of our residency cards . Despite this and the fact that he had his student ID card for France and securite sociale card (french health insurance card) the police denied him entry. The police acknowledged that he was a French resident but at that point they said the point was mute. He was driven by two armed policemen and put on a plane to London. In London he was free and we booked him a nonstop to LYS where he entered without difficulty.

So word to the wise, always travel with your residency card even if you have never, ever been asked for it before.
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Old Feb 3, 15, 11:55 pm
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Old Feb 3, 15, 11:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Catusa View Post
Just a word of warning to anyone traveling with a non-European passport but permanently resident in Europe that they need to always travel with their residency card. My 18 year old son (US passport holder) who has spent the last 15 years in France and is permanent resident there flew LHR-BRU on a LHR-BRU-LYS itin. Stupidly he did not have his resident card with him because we have never been asked to show it as he travels with his US passport. Belgian police denied him entry to Belgium so he couldn't continue his flight and he was put in airport confinement for 3 days. All his personal items including phone and tablet were taken from him. On the first day they allowed him to call us (we currently live in SIN) to tell us what was happening and we managed to email to the police a copy of our residency cards . Despite this and the fact that he had his student ID card for France and securite sociale card (french health insurance card) the police denied him entry. The police acknowledged that he was a French resident but at that point they said the point was mute. He was driven by two armed policemen and put on a plane to London. In London he was free and we booked him a nonstop to LYS where he entered without difficulty.

So word to the wise, always travel with your residency card even if you have never, ever been asked for it before.
There is more to the story. Why didn't the police let him in? If he is a US passport holder he doesn't need a visa. What reason did they give?
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Old Feb 4, 15, 12:01 am
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
There is more to the story. Why didn't the police let him in? If he is a US passport holder he doesn't need a visa. What reason did they give?
He does need a visa if he spends too much time in the schengen zone within a certain period--IIRC the limit might be 90 days at a time and something like 90 days out of 180 if he enters without visas.
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Old Feb 4, 15, 12:26 am
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Border police said he was denied because he has too many ins and outs from France and too much time there. One he was denied entry and put in the immigration jail the process had to continue despite them receiving proof he was a French resident. The US consulate in Belgium advised us not too fly there because it wouldnt do anything and there was nothing our French immigration lawyer could do either. The reason for this is that my son opted not to contest the refusal and agreed to return to England. This process took the three days. If he wanted to contest then he would have been moved to a "centre" (like the one used for asylum seekers) and had to wait for the appeal process which would have been longer.

He moved th France when he was three so the passport with that visa is long ago expired.

When he entered in France after the problem in Belgium there were no questions asked which is how it as always been (same in NL, CH, D, I )
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Old Feb 4, 15, 1:18 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
He does need a visa if he spends too much time in the schengen zone within a certain period--IIRC the limit might be 90 days at a time and something like 90 days out of 180 if he enters without visas.
There is no such limit if the US citizen has permanent residency status -- card or not -- in the Schengen country to which they are headed when showing up at a Schengen port of entry. No visa needed.

The situation of the OP's child doesn't make sense, and it seems like something more must have been involved than a recognized permanent resident merely lacking the permanent residency card for presentation at the port of entry to the Schengen zone.

Last edited by GUWonder; Feb 4, 15 at 1:24 am
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Old Feb 4, 15, 1:21 am
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When they scan your passport they can see the history, so of course you should bring your titre de séjour with you. I always do. And I have been asked to show it from time to time, especially at AMS.
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Old Feb 4, 15, 1:29 am
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On what basis did the son of the OP get French legal residency status?
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Old Feb 4, 15, 1:42 am
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I frequently fly into BRU in the afternoon and out again the next morning - a lot of my SN routings have overnight transits. So I will typically book a hotel in town. I've noticed that the immigration officers at BRU are more careful with me and my status (USC, non-resident) than many other EC countries I visit. I recall once an officer initially refused me entry and told me to rather wait overnight in the airport - but relented when I showed him a pre-paid one night hotel booking and my onward ticket. I'm not sure why Belgium would be extra careful with US citizens, but I'm guessing there is a reason.

Last edited by fischi; Feb 4, 15 at 1:43 am Reason: typo
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Old Feb 4, 15, 2:05 am
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Originally Posted by fischi View Post
I frequently fly into BRU in the afternoon and out again the next morning - a lot of my SN routings have overnight transits. So I will typically book a hotel in town. I've noticed that the immigration officers at BRU are more careful with me and my status (USC, non-resident) than many other EC countries I visit. I recall once an officer initially refused me entry and told me to rather wait overnight in the airport - but relented when I showed him a pre-paid one night hotel booking and my onward ticket. I'm not sure why Belgium would be extra careful with US citizens, but I'm guessing there is a reason.
They've been more rigid for longer than most other primary airport passport control in the Schengen Zone. It's been that way for as long as I've been going to Brussels. The joke is that it's a form of externalizing their domestic identity crisis.

They've been doing ridiculous things to US citizens at BRU passport control for nearly as long as there has been a Schengen Zone, but it's done mostly to US men of university school age, more so if they appear to be of non-European ethnic heritage.

They have the ability to do a rather timely check that a person with specified biodata elements as per the passport has a residency status in the Schengen country mentioned by the resident.

That said, things have gotten worse in practice also for Schengen country (non-local-citizen) residents at the Schengen ports of entry as the transoceanic selling of paranoia about terrorism has increased.
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Old Feb 4, 15, 2:10 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
There is no such limit if the US citizen has permanent residency status -- card or not -- in the Schengen country to which they are headed when showing up at a Schengen port of entry. No visa needed.

The situation of the OP's child doesn't make sense, and it seems like something more must have been involved than a recognized permanent resident merely lacking the permanent residency card for presentation at the port of entry to the Schengen zone.
My wife has permanent residency in the US. Not only does she have a Green Card (probably functionally similar to what the OP's son forget to take) but she also has a visa stamped in her passport that showed she was already approved and when they scan her fingerprints it comes up. I would have thought Europe had something similar.

Apparently not.
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Old Feb 4, 15, 2:23 am
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
My wife has permanent residency in the US. Not only does she have a Green Card (probably functionally similar to what the OP's son forget to take) but she also has a visa stamped in her passport that showed she was already approved and when they scan her fingerprints it comes up. I would have thought Europe had something similar.

Apparently not.
Many of the EU Schengen countries have issued permanent residency status without notification of such status (or application for such status) in the passports of persons with such status (or in the process of being supplied a document confirming such status). While many of these countries used to issue stamps/stickers indicating residency status in foreign citizen's passports, the trend has been toward residency cards in the Schengen Zone. But the residency status is not generally contingent upon either having such card or having ever had such a sticker/stamp.

I always get amused when a newbie working Schengen or LHR passport control first encounters a situation of a resident EU Schengen citizen from another EU country shows up with a non-EU spouse intending to settle in that EU country of arrival. Why? Because legally the host country is generally required to issue a visa on the spot or otherwise grant admission without separating the family unit.
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Old Feb 4, 15, 5:38 am
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The times I've not proactively shown my residency visa to regain entry to Schengen zone , i've been asked for it. Whether ZRH/MUC/FRA/VIE or other ports.

I've gotten away without producing the card, maybe 1/5 times.

Assuming they're alerted to the fact that I'm not just US tourist from entry/exit pattern.

So yeah... this is considered permanent carry on my person.
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Old Feb 4, 15, 6:28 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
I always get amused when a newbie working Schengen or LHR passport control first encounters a situation of a resident EU Schengen citizen from another EU country shows up with a non-EU spouse intending to settle in that EU country of arrival. Why? Because legally the host country is generally required to issue a visa on the spot or otherwise grant admission without separating the family unit.
Have you tried it in reality? I have not - yet! =)
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Old Feb 4, 15, 6:46 am
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
My wife has permanent residency in the US. Not only does she have a Green Card (probably functionally similar to what the OP's son forget to take) but she also has a visa stamped in her passport that showed she was already approved and when they scan her fingerprints it comes up. I would have thought Europe had something similar.

Apparently not.
I just have a separate card that I have to carry with me all the time. I have no note in my passport except for an expired student visa for Spain from years ago before I was a resident.

Borders in general have gotten much more strict for me recently as I believe the whole Schengen Information System is finally up and running. If that's true it should flag me every time and I have certainly noticed that officers look very closely if I don't show my residence card. I have been seeing if I can just get a stamp without further thought and it hasn't been the case for about a year now. Just flashing my residence card gets me waved through very quickly. They didn't even give me the stamp at HEL.

I was even getting a harsh interrogation to get into the UK until showing my Spanish residence which made things easier so I don't know what kind of information sharing there is.

I have only entered or exited Schengen recently from MAD T1, T4 and HEL. Was supposed to have to fly to DUB from AMS next week, but won't do that so there goes my chance to test another port.
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