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Interrogation at LAX …. almost!

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  • NorthernLass

    As in any country, they have complete power to have you hauled off to a detention room for an indefinite period if they find a reason so it’s best not to argue with them. I’ve not heard anything this bad since the 90s though! I know at one time they had such a bad rep they all got extra training in customer service so maybe they need to do that again? Especially somewhere like MCO where there will be lots of children. My last few trips (IAD, BOS, NYC), I was impressed how friendly and professional the officers were, though.

    can

    I guess one needs to remember their legal rights — presence of a consular officer for interrogation etc. It is also okay to ask to talk to a supervisor once mistreated (I know I know…).

    I think such behaviour can only persists when they know most visitors/tourists won’t bother to pursue legal action. Just because the border people have the right to question/deny you does not mean that the way they exercise it is right and just. I mean, to me, it is yet another proof that US is still a police state.

    Sure, unless it is your hobby to sue people, it is a big big hassle.

    danimal

    When I arrived at LAX last week the border guy asked if my name was Alvin. I laughed and said no and pointed out that he had my passport which has my name in it. He said I looked like his friend Alvin! He then asked how tall i was. I told him 5′ 7″ and he said so was Alvin. Then he sent me on my way. All very friendly and I’m still not sure if he was being friendly or it was some odd questioning tactic.

    Philondon

    And the irony of all this is that while I am in their special country I am spending my hard earned money in supermarkets, restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, etc etc….

    Tracey

    Queuing for the non-EU entry to Cyprus in the Summer, we were told we didn’t need to queue and could use the EU automatic machines.

    masaccio

    After ~100 trips through the US border I think I’ve had an arsey officer maybe a handful of times. They sometimes are suspicious of an answer to a standard question and get into a bit of a rabbit hole regardless of how many times you’ve visited.

    I once had the third degree because the officer thought that me saying “I’m visiting my team” basically meant I owned a company in the US and I needed a visa I didn’t have. Just stay calm and answer the questions and misunderstandings are easily sorted.

    Anyone who thinks US immigration give you a tough time, should try getting in or out of Israel. Those guys really take security seriously.

    NorthernLass

    Queuing for the non-EU entry to Cyprus in the Summer, we were told we didn’t need to queue and could use the EU automatic machines.

    A few countries have done this, it’s entirely up to each EU member state how they process their arrivals.

    The real Swiss Tony

    Note Cyprus isn’t in the Schengen zone, either, do that presumably gives added flexibility. I used the automated kiosks at LCA last time I was through, maybe in May ‘22?

    NorthernLass

    It’s not really to do with Schengen, it’s part of the agreement that each EU country retains control over its own borders as it sees fit. Other examples of this have been seen (in reverse) during the pandemic, and during refugee crises, when certain countries have rescinded freedom of movement.

    NorthernLass

    Certain Spanish airports were also letting UK arrivals use the egates at busy times – ACE and BCN have been mentioned on here. I think it’s more down to whether the airport has functioning egates than where the passengers actually originate. If no egate, then UK passports have to be manually stamped, so more likely to have a separate queue.

    Rui N.

    Several countries now allow UK citizens to go through egates. Like NorthernLass says, nothing to do with Schengen (Portugal was the first one to allow that, e.g.). As far as I know, it’s EEA citizens everywhere allowed to use Egates (althought some airports say only “EU”), and then some countries allow UK citizens. No other nationalities are allowed.

    davefl

    Certain Spanish airports were also letting UK arrivals use the egates at busy times – ACE and BCN have been mentioned on here. I think it’s more down to whether the airport has functioning egates than where the passengers actually originate. If no egate, then UK passports have to be manually stamped, so more likely to have a separate queue.

    I wasn’t allowed to use the egates at BCN in Nov, passport was stamped. I then left europe for the UK from ACE in Dec and wasn’t stamped (no egates either). So I’m actually quite concerned that there’s no record of me leaving the EU and I’ll be over the 90 day limit when my other trips are added.

    I’ll find out when I go to Athens next month. Plan to take my boarding pass from ACE for proof.

    omicron

    If you’re flying into EWR (or a few other airports), you might be able to use the automated passport controls there – significantly reducing the risk of an unpleasant conversation 🙂

    I think they’re getting rid of the machines for some reason though, so might not be the case for too long.

    NorthernLass

    @davefl, I’ve seen a few similar cases reported and people being denied re-entry because there’s no record of them leaving months previously. I think the advice is to hang on to your boarding pass or other evidence that you did indeed leave, as you have done (though I suppose that in itself doesn’t prove you flew). I seem to remember one lady having to provide all sorts of documentation to show that she was actually in the UK on the dates the Spanish authorities had her as still being there. Spanish bureaucracy is not something you want to get entangled with!

    Michael C

    @davefl, I’ve seen a few similar cases reported and people being denied re-entry because there’s no record of them leaving months previously. I think the advice is to hang on to your boarding pass or other evidence that you did indeed leave, as you have done (though I suppose that in itself doesn’t prove you flew). I seem to remember one lady having to provide all sorts of documentation to show that she was actually in the UK on the dates the Spanish authorities had her as still being there. Spanish bureaucracy is not something you want to get entangled with!

    Exactly — anyone can buy a 2p FR flight and print the boarding pass! Have always had to be v careful about stamps in/out of Spain with my LatAm OH, sometimes having to specifically ask for it as some Customs people there just can’t be bothered!

    NorthernLass

    Can LatAm partner not apply for Spanish/Portuguese citizenship or enter the EU as your spouse/dependant/close family member?

    John

    Several countries now allow UK citizens to go through egates. Like NorthernLass says, nothing to do with Schengen (Portugal was the first one to allow that, e.g.). As far as I know, it’s EEA citizens everywhere allowed to use Egates (althought some airports say only “EU”), and then some countries allow UK citizens. No other nationalities are allowed.

    Helsinki allows Japanese citizens to use egates to enter Schengen, and more non-EU citizens to use them to leave.

    Rui N.

    Thank you!

    Ash

    To OP, sorry to hear that, but it could have been worse.

    I’m non-white- moved to UK aged 3 (should have opened a BAEC back then),…I’m no almost 50. UK citizen.

    Early 2000’s went to NYC to visit family – they asked machine gun questions, back to back, looping, rephrasing the same questions, everything from my job, to my 4 grandparents names , dob’s and jobs (2 died before I was born, the other two are deceased), parents names and jobs, my name, my dob, my name again, my dob again, my grandparents names etc etc. When the quiz was over (I didnt win the cuddly toy), I was escorted to hidden holding area….no white people. African, Arabs, Latinos. Got shouted at for trying to phone family who were coming to collect me, to tell them about the delay. Got shouted out again few hours later for trying to pass the time listening to headphones on discman! Luckily I had a business card, which they took, and called my company to confirm I worked there. They let me go in the small hours of the morning – the airport was deserted, bar my two relatives waiting for me.

    Oh they did do a very american thing when they released me – gave me a pamphlet and gov email to write to if I thought I was unfairly treated. Needless to say, I didnt tip any of them.

    20 years i booked another trip to NYC to visit a friend who had emigrated to US. Everyone’s ESTA got approved bar my friend Andy, who had been sent to Somalia by the NHS to run a healthcare workshop. And me. I had to go for an interview at US embassy. At the interview they asked me for a letter from the nation I left at aged 3, confirming I have never served in their armed forces, and am currently not a serving member. Well I didnt have the letter. Several months later I got the letter from the embassy, had it officially translated and sent it in. Several months passed. I happened to visit a relative in Europe, who I had seen for 30 odd years, it turns out he is fairly high up in the US military. A few days after getting back home, almost a year after the interview the US embassy granted me a 10 year tourist visa (which I’d never asked for haha)…I just wanted an ESTA.

    Flew in Texas thinking i’d have the toughest immigration officers, very nice man, no questions.

    davefl

    @davefl, I’ve seen a few similar cases reported and people being denied re-entry because there’s no record of them leaving months previously. I think the advice is to hang on to your boarding pass or other evidence that you did indeed leave, as you have done (though I suppose that in itself doesn’t prove you flew). I seem to remember one lady having to provide all sorts of documentation to show that she was actually in the UK on the dates the Spanish authorities had her as still being there. Spanish bureaucracy is not something you want to get entangled with!

    Exactly — anyone can buy a 2p FR flight and print the boarding pass! Have always had to be v careful about stamps in/out of Spain with my LatAm OH, sometimes having to specifically ask for it as some Customs people there just can’t be bothered!

    Not sure what else I can do. Maybe my Uber record showing the trip home from the airport after the aforementioned flight.

    can

    That is the oddest one I heard in years. Sorry it happened to you @Ash

    Michael C

    Can LatAm partner not apply for Spanish/Portuguese citizenship or enter the EU as your spouse/dependant/close family member?

    Yes, would never be a problem (if we carried marriage cert. around!) but UK passport is hopefully
    winging its way towards us…fwiw!

    Philondon

    That sounds awful @Ash but a happy birthday to you soon to be milestone birthday.

    I feel I have no right to moan after that. Problem with long haul flights and long queues is we are likely to be tired and not 100% alert.

    I also wonder if the border person was homophobic as I mentioned my partner and the word “he” when saying why I was visiting. Although LA is meant to be liberal.

    iplaypoker

    Honestly I pretty much have given up going back to the US unless I have to for work. Each time I get sent to an interrogation room, been with friends my parents, family doesn’t matter. This has happened at Miami, JFK and LA. The room is only non white people like myself. Last time there was a poor pregnant lady they wouldn’t even let her go to the toilet.

    As for me I had a stamp from Machu Pichu in my passport which I tried explaining but the person did not seem to understand. I was lucky and there was a shift change and the new person knew what it was. That was only 5 hour delay which beat the 7 hour one I had the time before feel even more sorry for the people that have to wait for me to come out.

    davefl

    Honestly I pretty much have given up going back to the US unless I have to for work. Each time I get sent to an interrogation room, been with friends my parents, family doesn’t matter. This has happened at Miami, JFK and LA. The room is only non white people like myself. Last time there was a poor pregnant lady they wouldn’t even let her go to the toilet.

    As for me I had a stamp from Machu Pichu in my passport which I tried explaining but the person did not seem to understand. I was lucky and there was a shift change and the new person knew what it was. That was only 5 hour delay which beat the 7 hour one I had the time before feel even more sorry for the people that have to wait for me to come out.

    If you feel you’re being unfairly profiled then apply for a Redress number. I did after having SSSS on my boarding pass 4 out of 5 times. Not had the chance to apply it to a ticket yet thoyugh.

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