Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > TravelBuzz
Reload this Page >

Odd questions by Immigration

Odd questions by Immigration

Old May 20, 07, 1:27 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Plantation, Fl
Programs: DL, AA,
Posts: 103
I had a similar experience this week coming from BOG-FLL, that said I was expecting it, afterall it is BOG, but I got quite an interrogation.

The usual, how long have I been away, what do I do for a living, with whom was I with in BOG, long stares directly into my eyes.

Then something that never happened to me before, he held up my customs form which I had filled out on the plane and he asked my not once but twice would I like to change it in anyway, I told him firmly NO and then I asked why, he just responded that he would me to have the opportunity to tell the truth on it, I told him that whatever was written on it was "the truth" He notated my customs firm which meant I had to be secondary screened in customs and when I got there the customs agent told me to go to Area B, and when I arrived there they looked me up and down like a criminal and told me to go ahead and leave.

The whole experience was a bit unerving to say the least.

The purpose of my visit was to visit a friend who was having surgery in Bogota which I had told the immigration officer.

Normally immigration takes under a minute, but on this occasion it took about 5 minutes, not a whole lot but still it was a bit unsettling.

I hated my reaction to the process, I got short of breath and nervous, (for no reason at all, afterall he is just doing his job) but I can understand why he thought I was trying to hide something. Anyway all's well that ends well.
kasop is offline  
Old May 20, 07, 1:42 pm
  #32  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: CLT
Posts: 7,249
I got sent to secondary last week in YYZ. I'm an american. I was dressed casually with a backpack and rollaboard. Guy asked me what I was doing at the first check point. I said sight seeing. He asked for my return ticket. I showed him my Itin. I got a pink stripe on my card meaning i had to go to secondary. After waiting for 45 minutes to see a person at the secondary interrogation He just wanted to see my hotel reservation.

I don't print much anymore b/c the mounds of paper add up quickly. I did print my Itin since i was traveling internationally, but not my hotel res. I had to boot up my laptop and show him the outlook appointment.

I just started babbling about hilton diamond status and mileage runs.

Apparently people don't sight see in Toronto .

Are we allowed to ask the people why we are being interrogated? I thought US citizens can to go Canada with only a passport. Apparently they want our first born too.
gj83 is offline  
Old May 20, 07, 1:48 pm
  #33  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: BRU, SIN, PEK
Programs: SQ TPP, LH SEN
Posts: 3,174
The one and only time I've passed through LHR I was asked what language I spoke (I'm ethnic chinese), and I replied English. The customs officer repeated the question, and I repeated the answer louder, thinking he hadn't heard me. Then he persisted, 'No, like cantonese, mandarin..?'

I was rather put off by the question and just said "yeah, whatever," and then he stamped my passport and let me on my way.

Was I supposed to know that the right answer wasn't 'English?' That was just such an odd experience.
fimo is offline  
Old May 20, 07, 2:47 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: EWR/PHL
Posts: 75
Originally Posted by Bullsman89 View Post
does anybody know exactly what shows up on the "electronic profile" when the passport gets scanned? Does the US have a record of border crossings outside the US? Thanks.
Interesting question, I asked last week when my green card apparantly messed up his computer, he said "you broke it" as an FA Im used to there being NO interraction from the EWR Immigration Officials, so he said once he rebooted his system "Im going to try swiping your passport instead (British) I asked "does it show the same information" response, "yes" me-"what does it tell you" him-I cant tell you that information, its personal"
uhuh ok..Its my personal but he didnt look like I was going to get any further and if you upset them, they put stuff in there so you have to go through Ag every time you come in or something like that, and I coming in tired from a 9 hr flight the last thing I need is all my bags going through a secondary search by Ag every time. I know it happens as a friend of mine has to deal with it 6 times a month!
Im sure it tells them plenty about all your travel history, criminal record, deportations etc and certainly any time youve got into an issue with other officials. Its easier just to be nice, smile and leave, they can really screw up your life if you travel a lot!

Last edited by NTAFlyer; May 20, 07 at 2:53 pm
NTAFlyer is offline  
Old May 20, 07, 4:50 pm
  #35  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: 10 minutes from the largest mall in the usa
Programs: AA gold/SPG something or another
Posts: 15,604
Originally Posted by kasop View Post
I had a similar experience this week coming from BOG-FLL, that said I was expecting it, afterall it is BOG, but I got quite an interrogation.

The usual, how long have I been away, what do I do for a living, with whom was I with in BOG, long stares directly into my eyes.

Then something that never happened to me before, he held up my customs form which I had filled out on the plane and he asked my not once but twice would I like to change it in anyway, I told him firmly NO and then I asked why, he just responded that he would me to have the opportunity to tell the truth on it, I told him that whatever was written on it was "the truth" He notated my customs firm which meant I had to be secondary screened in customs and when I got there the customs agent told me to go to Area B, and when I arrived there they looked me up and down like a criminal and told me to go ahead and leave.

The whole experience was a bit unerving to say the least.

The purpose of my visit was to visit a friend who was having surgery in Bogota which I had told the immigration officer.

Normally immigration takes under a minute, but on this occasion it took about 5 minutes, not a whole lot but still it was a bit unsettling.

I hated my reaction to the process, I got short of breath and nervous, (for no reason at all, afterall he is just doing his job) but I can understand why he thought I was trying to hide something. Anyway all's well that ends well.
That's exactly why it's unnerving.. since a person who is committing a crime is more likely to crack.

Since you were there for legit purposes and did nothing wrong you had nothing to worry about, but it's purposely uncomfortable since it's easier to make smugglers and the like crack when they're made to feel uncomfortable.
civicmon is offline  
Old May 20, 07, 5:02 pm
  #36  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: PDX
Programs: On a collision course with Kettledom
Posts: 25,550
Last time in SFO:
(Wife & I have different last names, and she's a German citizen, I'm U.S.)

USA: Are you two married?
Me: yes
USA: How long were you out of the country.
Wife: Two weeks
Me: More like 2 and a half
Wife: 16 days isn't 2 and a half
Me: it was 17 days
Wife: No, we left on Saturday, and today's Monday
Me: We left on Friday!
USA: Stamps the passports, "Welcome home"
opus17 is offline  
Old May 20, 07, 10:22 pm
  #37  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 89,767
"Where do you live?"
"____, same place as I wrote on the form, right here."

"You spend a lot of time abroad?"
"Yes, long distance relationships must be maintained personally."

"What's the place famous for?"
"____ , ____, ____ " .... none of which they are aware.

"Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Amsterdam?"
"Amsterdam airport, yes. I wrote down the Netherlands, but I'm not sure Amsterdam-Schipol Airport is even located in Amsterdam proper."
GUWonder is offline  
Old May 21, 07, 11:28 am
  #38  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Laying over at a hub near you
Programs: WorldPerks Gold, Priority Club Platinum
Posts: 74
I travel to Montreal a lot for work. The strangest question I got going in was:

IO: "You travel to Montreal a lot."
Me: "Yes, rather frequently."
IO: "Well, you should be speaking French by now. Prehaps I should address you in French."
Me: "I do my best but it's probably less painful for both of us if we continue in English."

Another occasion:
IO: "Who do you work for."
Me: "X Healthcare."
IO: "You know, my friend is a doctor and he said you guys throw the best parties. There's lots of free booze. Are you here for one of those?"
Me: "Unfortunately not. Usually only the marketing/sales people and the big wigs get to go to events like that. I'm just here for a meeting."

Coming back in:
IO: "You've had a green card for a long time. Why haven't you applied for citizenship?"
Me: "I just haven't gotten around to it."
IO: "I don't see why not. You've been in the US for most of your life, you don't have an accent and you can't even vote for the day your garbage gets picked up."
Me: "I'll consider it the next time my green card is close to expiration."
curlyflyer is offline  
Old May 21, 07, 4:41 pm
  #39  
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: London
Programs: I've got three passports, A couple of visas, Don't even know my real name.
Posts: 909
I arrived in Dublin the other day and being a non-European passport holder I can't walk straight though immigration.

Immigration: What is the purpose of your trip?
Me: Visiting friends and family
Immigration: How long will you stay?
Me: Three days
Immigration: You already have 4 Irish visas and they are all expired
Me: Can I have another one please
Immigration: How often have you been to Ireland?
Me: At least 60 times over the past 15 years
Immigration: Enjoy your stay!


Arriving in Australia is always quite funny.

Immigration: Do you have any criminal convictions?
Me: I didn't know you needed them anymore!
Immigration: Do you know how many times I've heard that joke?
Me: Yeah, but it's still funny though.
Ex Amex Card is offline  
Old May 21, 07, 5:44 pm
  #40  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: YUL
Programs: AC SE, UA PE, HH Diamond, SPG Plat, Marriott Gold
Posts: 580
US Custom: "Where are you going?"
Me: "I am going to __________"
US Custom: "Why?"
Me: "Visit my girlfriend"
US Custom: "Do you bring any Playboy magazines"
Me: "Excuse me?"
aaac is offline  
Old May 21, 07, 10:49 pm
  #41  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 32,131
Originally Posted by aaac View Post
US Custom: "Where are you going?"
Me: "I am going to __________"
US Custom: "Why?"
Me: "Visit my girlfriend"
US Custom: "Do you bring any Playboy magazines"
Me: "Excuse me?"
Dumb agent! You're going to bring Playboy when you're visiting your gf???
Loren Pechtel is offline  
Old May 21, 07, 10:52 pm
  #42  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 89,767
Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Dumb agent! You're going to bring Playboy when you're visiting your gf???
I'd be curious at what port of entry that question was asked. It's been used to fish for opportunities to select people to check for pornography, legal or otherwise, on computers and storage devices.
GUWonder is offline  
Old May 22, 07, 10:19 am
  #43  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Siesta Key
Programs: AA EXP-1.6MM, Hilton Diamond, ManU & Chicago Bears #1 Fan
Posts: 9,697
Originally Posted by Bullsman89 View Post
does anybody know exactly what shows up on the "electronic profile" when the passport gets scanned? Does the US have a record of border crossings outside the US? Thanks.
Last year I was coming back from Japan, connecting in DFW. I was send for a secondary and after wasting an hour in a line I finally got to face an older, experienced and reasonable CO.

He scanned my passport and his first reply was - WOW! You seem to travel a great deal. In the last three months you visited.....blah, blah, blah......Some of the countries that he mentioned were squeezed in between 2 foreign countries. At first I thought that somehow they had the ability to see on their own (and perhaps they do), but we had a very friendly conversation, so I asked. His reply was that the info is derived from your previous customs forms. Whatever you fill on the form is the info that follows you around. It made sense to me.

I imagine if there was a criminal investigation then the Interpol rules apply and if there is a warrant, Interpol will try to follow your routing but without a internationally recognized warrant I doubt very much that most countries share this kind of info. I may be wrong.

The CO determined that me being there was a mistake and never looked at my luggage. The entire interview lasted about 5 minutes and he never looked at my luggage. Unfortunately the waiting process took an hour........
andrzej is offline  
Old May 22, 07, 12:45 pm
  #44  
mkt
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: MIA/SJU
Programs: AA lt PLT; B6 Mosaic; Emerald Club Executive
Posts: 3,275
Several years ago I worked for a major media, entertainment, and tourism company. You may have heard of its mascot, Ricky Rouse ?

Anyway, I was taking the ferry from Calais to Dover, and like an idiot, I forgot my passport. I get to immigration, and get immediate shipped away to secondary. I get asked who I work for, and whatnot, asked my citizenship, reason for going to the UK, etc. Well, the agent steps away. About an hour later, she returns and tells me I am allowed to enter Britain, but I must go to the embassy in London immediately to get my passport. I thanked her for that and asked her why so long. She explained that it took that long to write the paperwork to fine the company for failing to check my passport, and that the only reason I'm being let in is because she had a lovely time at the Tragic Kingdom the previous year
mkt is offline  
Old May 22, 07, 1:48 pm
  #45  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: LAX
Programs: DL GM
Posts: 1,029
When leaving Schiphol on a US-bound Northwest or KLM flight, the security screener at the gate always asks me if I'm a member of the frequent flyer program. When I say that I am, he/she always asks to see my card. I've never run into that anyplace else.
MJLogan is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: