06 November 2007

Congratulations, You Are Now A Foreigner

This post is a small explanation of the immigration paperwork process for those that are leaving their home country. Apparently no matter how many onboard announcements are made, this is not sinking in.
If you are visiting a foreign country, congratulations, this makes you a foreigner!! Part of the heady responsibilities accompanying such a lofty title is the paperwork that many nations require.
"But I'm an American!" you tell me. Yes, but we are landing in England. Not America. England. Do you see where this is going?
"How will they know I am not European?" Hmmm..... I have difficulty answering that one (with a straight face), why not ask the immigration official you need to get past before entering the country.
"We are going on a cruise". Does the ship dock at Heathrow??? If you are LEAVING the airport, you are entering the UK.
"I am only here for 2 days." See above.
Please do not be startled when you return to America and you are also asked to fill out paperwork, we love bureaucracy!! Most importantly, please bring a pen. I do have one, but have seen to many disappear into your purse, backpack or mouth to be confident of its return. Most important of all, if it says 'for official use only' that is NOT you. Do not 'help' them out by filling in that part. Job security and all.


Fly Guy said...

Hi Heather, thanks for your comments on my blog Stewedbeef.com. I couldn't find an e mail addy in here for you, so I am posting this under comments, sorry. Wondered if you would mind blog rolling me? Would appreciate and will do the same for you. Thanks

Pat said...

Hi Heather,

I came across ur blog from some random link i just clicked on during my lunch break. Anyway, u are hilarious. Just want u to know that ;o)

Krista said...

But as American living in the UK, what's your take on filling out the US form on your way back into YOUR country?

I have gotten many questions and requests from immigration over the years:

1. Please tell me what hotel you're staying in.

2. How long are you here for?
WHY??? I'm American!!! Can't I come back to my own country????

3. In August, I flew through Dallas to Cabo. Immigration in Dallas so couldn't deal with that. "You don't have a final destination in the U.S.?" "Well, no, I'm going to Cabo." "And you haven't been in the U.S. anytime recently?" "Well, I guess I was in NY in May and Puerto Rico in January. Does that matter?" "Why would you go to Mexico and not stop in the U.S.?" "Uh, because I don't get THAT much vacation?"

4. When I flew to NY in May, I had recently been to Austria, Slovakia, and Estonia. I am neat and professional looking. I am normal. Immigration couldn't stop asking me questions about why I'd been to all those countries. It was just for fun, I swear.

5. OK, last thing and then I'll shut up--the part about Visitors vs. Residents on the customs form. I am not a U.S. resident anymore, but I am so not a visitor. So filling in the amount of stuff I've bought abroad is always a hassle. And any immigration officer I've asked re: "What am I? Visitor or resident?" has given me different answers.

Sigh. Rant over. Thanks for reading.

Heather said...

Krista, i totally get the visitor vs resident confusion. i will admit I *lie* and say I live there, otherwise customs gives you major aggro. I have been asked why I dont want to live in the states (um....george Bush for starters!) and then they sure love to ask why I have visited Lebanon,Syria, Taiwan, etc. They have also told me I travel too much.....not possible I say!!

The Nasty Stewardess said...

omg! The "pen borrower" who proceeds to stick it in his gob and chew on it. I hate them!