US Customs and Border Protection humour

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justinn

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I am harassed and given a hard time at every customs point I go through. The only time I never had an Issue was Ireland, the folks in Canada seem to be the worst as UK. How are the folks at Australian customs?
 

clazman

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Never had any issues in Canada or US, sailed straight through minimal queues
 

NM

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Australian customs ceased to be as of the 1st of July

Well pretty much the same people, same functions, same rules, just that Australian Customs and Border Protection was merged with Department of Immigration and Border Protection, to know be called Australian Border Force (ABF). At least now we won't have people confusing Immigration and Customs as its all now under the one department.
 

gruntfuttock

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Entering through LAX in October 2011 for a long weekend business trip, a week or so after we lost the World Cup semi-final. To NZ, of course.

No surprises at CBP - don't-give-a-toss attitude, but inoffensive & got the job done. I, on the other hand, got everything wrong: the date of my last trip wrong (by nearly a year), fingers wouldn't scan and not sure I was making any sense at all.

Got through it with no humour from the other side of the desk... until I was two or three paces away and I heard "Sucks about New Zealand" and got a silly grin when I looked back. Not what I expected from US CBP.

Sadly spent the whole weekend refreshing the news feed to see it QF would be flying again to get me home, so entry point was the highlight of the trip!
 

Denali

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Entered US in April.

Agent: Where are you folks going to?
DH: Seattle
Agent: Why Seattle?
Us: To see Jimi Hendrix!
Agent: You know hes dead, don't you?
Us: *laugh* make polite talk
Agent: Do you know who else is buried in Seattle?
Us: Ummmmm
Agent: Come onnnnn, you can do it? Who is else is buried in Seattle?
Us: Kurt Coban?
Agent: Maybe but that's not the right answer. Who else is buried in Seattle?
Me: OH! Bruce Lee!
Agent: Yep and his son, Brandon. Now you can enter.
 

juddles

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A few years ago, before I convinced my family to come and live in Colombia, I spent a year doing "FIFO" - and that was bloody hard, as due to bad connections the average time between home in SE Qld and "home" in Colombia was 48 hrs travelling, each way! During that year I got bored with the flights, and as both an avid aviation enthusiast, and with basically any route the same long time, I started doing various different routes. So either via Chile, via Argentina, via the USA, via Panama, via Curacao, etc etc, once even as a RTW just for something different.

So I was used to being absolutely grilled every time I left Colombia. The US border agents also always took a very good look at me, but always polite. But one guy made me laugh.

After going through my passport and looking at all the pages and trips, and listening to my usual story about why I flew from Colombia to almost everywhere on the planet, his face suddenly changed and he looked up at me with a very special focus.

He said "So you work in mining?"
I said: "Yes, I do."
He said: "And how tall are you?"
I said: "6 foot seven inches"
He said: "Aha! You're too tall to work in a mine!"
I said: "Opencut"

I then explained to him that I worked in alluvial mining situations and actually spent most of my time planting trees, which is difficult if you attempt it underground.

He was a nice guy, keen at his job, happy for a second he had detected a bad person, and we laughed together over his disappointment. :)
 

flying_duck

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As an Aussie, flying from EWR to YTZ and back in a day, I was grilled on the way in by Canada about my intentions (they seemed confused that I would come for a day to see a friend?) but on the way back, I was a little worried because of my earlier experience. I shouldn't have been, as the guy told me to smile. I thought it was a trick or something so I kind of did the whole half smile thing. Then he said "You're on holiday - not good enough! Try again". Nice guy actually, asked me all about my trip.

I haven't had any issues with immigration in the USA. Sometimes they're gruff but they deal with the public I feel their pain.
 

Tyrone Wood

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LAX Border protection has been so harsh to me all the time. 24th Dec 2015

ME: "Hi how are you?" (never saying that again)
Agent: "Put your four finger on the scanner". < In the manner that he said this, was as though I did something wrong, instantly making me nervous.
Agent: "Why are you so nervous sir?"
ME: "Im not"
Agent: "your hands are shaking"
Me: "I got no reason to be nervous (although I was but had no reason to be)"
Agent: "Look around you, does anyone around here look nervous?"
Me: "No"
Agent : "Well why are you shaking when putting your fingers on the scanner?"
Me: "I've just had a 14 hr flight, and am in need of some food"
Agent: (Stamps Passport lets me go though.)



Other Checkpoint at JFK and MIA were fine. One Agent Even laughed at my name yelling out to his colleague "This guys name is Tyrone" (typical african american name in the US) while giggling.
 

Denali

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Mistake: do not speak unless spoken to.

And don't cross the red line, including your trolley.

A woman was standing behind it but her luggage trolley wasn't, he told her to "Get back. Back. More, Behind the line! Back!".

She did (pushing us backwards), then he motioned her to move forward and barely looked at her and sent her to secondary and she didn't seem to tick any visual profiling other than she crossed the red line.

Hubby: Stay behind the line and be pleasant.

Me in peeved off but quite voice: Im. Pleasant! Dammit!!!
 

exceladdict

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Also, do not dare lean on the counter. Or use vague terms like "I think our itinerary includes new York". Or "I think I Am carrying a few hundred bucks"
 

jastel

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After a flight to LAX in Business via upgrade I was off the plane early, I tried to wait for my friend who was in economy but was yelled at to get in a very long line.
They were processing one passenger every 5minutes on average, complete incompetence. We finally worked our way to the front of the line and a white supervisor type lady came along and asked us what flight we were from, we answered and she said “But you landed 3 hours ago, you should be gone by now!” Tell us something we don’t know.

She started shouting orders in Spanish and suddenly the line started moving and I got to the immigration lady. The conversation went something like this –

Officer: Travelling alone?

Me: No, I am with a friend.
Officer: Where are they?
Me: No idea
Officer: Why Not?
Me: I was not allowed to find him as I was in business class and he was in economy
Officer: Oh, How long areyou here for?
Me: 81 days
Officer: You know you can’t stay over 90 days on a Tourist visa?
Me: That’s why I am only staying for 81 days
Officer: How much cash have you got with you?
Me: US$9750
Officer: You know you can’t bring more than $10000 cash into the USA?
Me: That’s why I only bought $9750
Officer: Why do you have so much cash?
Me: Because I am staying for 81 days!!

Don’t these people listen to the answers provided?


Anyway finally got admitted after she took 3 goes to do a fingerprint scan and went into the luggage area to see my friend collecting his luggage and starting the customs line.
So much for being amongst the first off...


The next trip a year or so later, same flight, business again, but just a 2 minute wait and straight in...
 

Hvr

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Never a good idea to have large amounts of cash at US airports, even if of a legal amount:

How the TSA and DEA Joined Forces to Seize Cash at Airports
A new report from a government watchdog criticized the Drug Enforcement Administration for working with a Transportation Security Administration security screener to flag bags containing large sums of cash, which the drug agency could then take.



According to the investigation from the Department of Justice’s inspector general released earlier this month, the TSA agent was registered with the DEA as a paid confidential source.
The inspector general’s report said that the TSA security screener working with the DEA to identify luggage with large sums of cash was promised a reward based on the amount of money seized.

Government Takes $44,000 Cash From Man at JFK, No Crimes Charged But He Can't Get It Back - View from the Wing
 
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Boca68

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After a flight to LAX in Business via upgrade I was off the plane early, I tried to wait for my friend who was in economy but was yelled at to get in a very long line.
They were processing one passenger every 5minutes on average, complete incompetence. We finally worked our way to the front of the line and a white supervisor type lady came along and asked us what flight we were from, we answered and she said “But you landed 3 hours ago, you should be gone by now!” Tell us something we don’t know.

She started shouting orders in Spanish and suddenly the line started moving and I got to the immigration lady. The conversation went something like this –

Officer: Travelling alone?

Me: No, I am with a friend.
Officer: Where are they?
Me: No idea
Officer: Why Not?
Me: I was not allowed to find him as I was in business class and he was in economy
Officer: Oh, How long areyou here for?
Me: 81 days
Officer: You know you can’t stay over 90 days on a Tourist visa?
Me: That’s why I am only staying for 81 days
Officer: How much cash have you got with you?
Me: US$9750
Officer: You know you can’t bring more than $10000 cash into the USA?
Me: That’s why I only bought $9750
Officer: Why do you have so much cash?
Me: Because I am staying for 81 days!!

Don’t these people listen to the answers provided?


Anyway finally got admitted after she took 3 goes to do a fingerprint scan and went into the luggage area to see my friend collecting his luggage and starting the customs line.
So much for being amongst the first off...


The next trip a year or so later, same flight, business again, but just a 2 minute wait and straight in...


Errrr, yeah! I think you got lucky first time. I know you think you didn't, but my rule for any customs/immigration officer anywhere in the world, is as follows....

#1, yes sir/ma'am
#2, no sir/ma'am
#3, 3 bags full sir/ma'am
#4, bend over...

In other words, shut up, don't be smart, be polite (no matter who or what peeved you off before)
 

PLANT

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Have said this before..... At border at nigra falls....
Officer holding my passport: Where did u come from?
Me: Canada
Officer: ha ha ha ha...
 

RooFlyer

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This is security, not CBP, but still:

At T8 security, JFK. Three security lines, not really long, but you know ... One line was moving visibly faster than others, so I joined it. As you went round the corner and got within 5 people of the disrobing area, you could see why.

Security agent there, with his captive audience was constantly coaching on what to do, with good humour.

"Everyone, repeat after me" "Fruit comes out and goes in the tray" ... now repeat ... (and many did :) )."

Constantly saying what was out/off and what was not, directly to the people waiting. "Belts ON - we are not that kind of airport! (laughter)" (that's a new one for me in USA??), "EVERYTHING bigger than a cell phone in the tray ..." etc etc.

He called people forward when there was a space at the tray-loading point. :cool::)

So virtually no rejects at the X ray and the line moved quicker than the others by a long shot.

I found a supervisor and pointed out this valuable employee.
 
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