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How much does immigration know about your trips overseas?

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Mal

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Some countries such as New Zealand (and IIRC China or Macau) request any countries you have been visiting within the last 30 days as part of your immigration form.

Australia and most other countries don't. They appear to take on face value whatever you write down as the country which you've spent the most time in (plus the country you've just arrived from).

Surely this has implications - eg a tourist who travels <insert bad country> - SIN - SYD isn't really assessed as coming from <bad country>, but rather SIN.

Is this by design? Do other countries report back to immigration about your entries and exits so that data is on file for cross checking? Or are the passport stamps the only evidence you've been somewhere?

(BTW, I have no evil intentions, just curious about what communication between countries exist!)
 

bigjobs

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i have always thought the authorities ask these questions in case you have been to a country/area that could be a quarantine or disease risk. this is why they ask the Africa/South America question on the australian card.

i think there are just a couple of ways for asking for this kind of information and that is what we see as variance from authority to authority
 

markis10

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A lot of the info collected is purely for statisical reasons, in this modern day and age computers do the real work when it comes to assessing risks of inbound visitors. I have seen some interesting events in my travels and usually they occur before the form is even presented to the immigration desk. Although I recommend never bringing back and declaring coffee in your baggage, I learned that lesson a few years back, it seems it is often used to mask drugs!
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Most countries seem to exchange info with each other on who enters/exits.

The request to list countries visited in last 30 days by NZ immigration serves 3 purposes I think

(1) statistical since this info can be handed over to Department of Statistics whereas the info obtained from other countries cannot

(2) to see how accurate you are - if you are going to lie about this then this is a red flag for secondary

(3) to gather information for the few travellers that they don't get the info on their travels from other countries (eg if you travelled on a dual passport to a third country and didnt indicate you were from NZ)
 

Kiwi Flyer

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markis10 said:
Although I recommend never bringing back and declaring coffee in your baggage, I learned that lesson a few years back, it seems it is often used to mask drugs!
Surely if you bring coffee back and don't declare it it would be picked up by the x-ray anyway (unless you happen to be one of the lucky few that gets to bypass the x-rays in busy periods).
 

Skyring

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I brought back an opened packet of ground coffee from Hawaii earlier this week and got no grief. I declared food items on my card, meaning the lollies/sweets/candy I was bringing back for the kids, and got waved through.
 

JohnK

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bigjobs said:
i have always thought the authorities ask these questions in case you have been to a country/area that could be a quarantine or disease risk. this is why they ask the Africa/South America question on the australian card.
I think you are right. I have noticed the question about visiting Africa/South America in the last 6 days on a few inbound immigration cards in the past month not just Australia.
 

clifford

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For what it's worth, in a past life I worked in the passenger card processing section at the Department of Immigration in Canberra. I have also worked at DFAT in Canberra. I wouldn't be too worried about what happens to this data.

If you want to know more, feel free to PM me.

Of course, there are other lists that are transmitted between countries, but that's an entirely different story.

:)
 

NM

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On a slightly different note, on my last entry through Australian Customs, my bags were x-rayed by a trainee operator. She forgot to collect my customs declaration card, which I still have in my travel documents wallet. I wonder if anyone noticed it was missing?
 

one9

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Just something I thought about some time ago:

Many countries do not require their own citizens to complete incoming passenger cards.

Australia however requires both Australian passport holders and foreign passport holders to complete an incoming passenger card.

Have you ever thought what would happen if an Australian passport holder refused to complete such a card.

I never studied the Constitution and from the little bits I did study quite some time ago, I wonder whether or not any law that requires this could be challenged.

I wonder how the Australian customs would react. They can't send the person away because Australia is their home country, and they can't let them stay in the restricted area for ever.
 

clifford

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NM said:
On a slightly different note, on my last entry through Australian Customs, my bags were x-rayed by a trainee operator. She forgot to collect my customs declaration card, which I still have in my travel documents wallet. I wonder if anyone noticed it was missing?
Hi NM,

These people are actually employed bt AQIS.

One thing they have a major problem with is soap. It shows up on their scanners as food.

Just be warned.
 

Mal

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clifford said:
One thing they have a major problem with is soap. It shows up on their scanners as food.
And certain types of vitamins do too.

Interesting responses everyone. Amazing what you can learn from boards like this!
 

Kiwi Flyer

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one9 said:
I wonder how the Australian customs would react. They can't send the person away because Australia is their home country, and they can't let them stay in the restricted area for ever.
I dont know the laws in australia, but in NZ they can forcibly confine you in a cell and do a full body search (including cavities :shock: cat scan etc). Basically if you don't cooperate it could get rather unpleasant.
 

NM

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clifford said:
Hi NM,

These people are actually employed bt AQIS.
If that just the people doing the inbound x-ray scanning? Or is that also to the people handling the sniffer dogs etc? I have always just considered them all customs officials, but now that you mention AQIS I note the different uniform (brown for AQIS and blue for Customs).

I seem to rememner that the same staff handing the passport control and customs checks, but the AQIS x-ray process is different.
clifford said:
One thing they have a major problem with is soap. It shows up on their scanners as food.

Just be warned.
At least a quick check will reveal the true contents 8) . I rarely have to carry much soap anyway :wink: . Now I know to keep it at the top of the bag when I do carry it.
 

Skyring

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Mal said:
clifford said:
One thing they have a major problem with is soap. It shows up on their scanners as food.
And certain types of vitamins do too.
One of the TV programs I like watching is "Borderline Security" and they occasionally spend time examining images on screens. Basically, any compact reasonably dense mass with an irregular shape and lack of internal texture is going to show up as probably organic. Food or drugs.

I carry my soap in a little green plastic container inside my toiletries bag along with toothpaste tube, razor, shaving foam, nail clippers and other stuff which would show up as identifiable shapes on a scanner, so anyone looking at this on a screen would probably figure that it wasn't food.

I haven't had anybody challenge me on soap yet, but the Kiwis made me haul out a pair of boots in Auckland to make sure they were clean, and they picked them up from a luggage scan.

Then again, my way of getting through customs and immigration is to have a clear conscience and be squeaky-clean. As well as the clean that comes from soap.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Skyring said:
I haven't had anybody challenge me on soap yet, but the Kiwis made me haul out a pair of boots in Auckland to make sure they were clean, and they picked them up from a luggage scan.
I declare my boots and get a free clean most times (sometimes they'll take one look and wave me on my way).
 

abtwo

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The other interesting item to try and explain can be syringes/needles in emergency medical kits supplied by TMVC for travelling in countries where the medical facilities cannot be relied on. Make sure these are still in the original packaging with the doctors signature.

AB
 

bigjobs

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the part of the australian customs and quarantine incoming passenger card that i have a challenge with is the part that asks an australian citizen their address.

i find that odd and a little bit annoying that i am required to provide that information as an australian citizen.

i think foreign nationals are definitely required to provide an address, even if it is only the first hotel they stay at, australian citizens though ... i reckon it could be voluntary information.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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There are lots of reasons why they may need that info even of returning Australians.

To give just one that is topical - suppose someone on your flight had a serious and highly contagious disease? Through the contact details they can check if any other pax may need medical assistance.
 

bigjobs

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Kiwi Flyer said:
There are lots of reasons why they may need that info even of returning Australians.

To give just one that is topical - suppose someone on your flight had a serious and highly contagious disease? Through the contact details they can check if any other pax may need medical assistance.
not sure how serious and highly contagious diseases are currently topical ... i don't see to much evidence of anything like that.

i reckon there would be plenty of other ways that they could get people to come forward or inform people on a particular flight anyway ...
 
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