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#1 Nov 13 2012 at 8:20 PM Rating: Good
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Last week I got tossed onto a plane and flown to Mexico on very short notice (5 hours). First time ever going outside the US. My passport photo was over a year and a half old, and back when I weighed 260+ lbs. It was a fun experience. Landed in some big retirement town right in the middle of Guanajuato, Mexico up in the mountains. Beautiful houses all over, lots of rich retired people.

Didn't have any issues until I had to come back to the US and sat in line, 5 places from the front of the line, at Customs for an hour and a half. Then the guy didn't believe it was me in my passport so I had to give him my drivers license too. Made it to my connecting flight 10 minutes before takeoff.

They directed me to the "US Citizens" line, but about half the people in the line were visitors who needed to be fingerprinted/photographed. This was in Houston, coworkers landed in Dallas and said their lines were better segregated and they got through Customs in no time.

Customs was much easier in Mexico "Hola, were are you staying?" "Ok, press this button" "Ok, have a good time."
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#2 Nov 13 2012 at 9:12 PM Rating: Decent
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The US is much more **** about immigration than other countries. I was interrogated coming from Canada via car. They didn't believe my story of flying into NY to see the falls. Apparently that was a foreign concept and not believable. I made a formal complaint to homeland security.
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#3 Nov 13 2012 at 11:34 PM Rating: Excellent
I'm very happy that I can go through customs in Canada. Makes for a much easier flying experience.
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#4 Nov 14 2012 at 3:46 AM Rating: Decent
Strangely, I've never had a problem with US customs, they're always very nice. Canadian customs on the other hand, are often trouble for me.

Coming back from a tech job in Vegas, my friend and I got stopped at Pearson Airport long enough to nearly miss our connecting flight because the customs people were insisting that we must have bought the large electronics, that we had brought down with us, in the US and that we needed to claim them. I've always wondered if this is something all countries do, or if Canada just really hates when people spend money in other countries.
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#5 Nov 14 2012 at 6:23 AM Rating: Default
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Monsieur Driftwood wrote:
Strangely, I've never had a problem with US customs, they're always very nice. Canadian customs on the other hand, are often trouble for me.

Coming back from a tech job in Vegas, my friend and I got stopped at Pearson Airport long enough to nearly miss our connecting flight because the customs people were insisting that we must have bought the large electronics, that we had brought down with us, in the US and that we needed to claim them. I've always wondered if this is something all countries do, or if Canada just really hates when people spend money in other countries.


All countries do it, but the level of seriousness varies depending on the country and what passport you have. It's all about taxes. Countries don't want you to cross the boarder buy a lot of stuff for cheap and bring it in. If you do, then you have to pay taxes on it, even though you didn't buy there. They just want your money.
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#6 Nov 14 2012 at 7:03 AM Rating: Good
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Canada just recently played with their tax free allowance. The > 4 days limit decreased and the 2-4 days limit increased. Assuming I'm remembering the figures correctly from before the changes.
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#7 Nov 14 2012 at 10:26 AM Rating: Excellent
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Monsieur Driftwood wrote:
Strangely, I've never had a problem with US customs, they're always very nice. Canadian customs on the other hand, are often trouble for me.


I've had little problems with either side thankfully. Only thing is traveling with my father, who insists on showing his Canadian passport. Which means we have to deal with a confused and suspicious border guard wondering how we all know each other, and why we are traveling together... Smiley: rolleyes

Also border guards don't seem keep you long if you say you're just here on vacation and have two screaming kids in the backseat. Smiley: lol
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#8 Nov 14 2012 at 3:37 PM Rating: Decent
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Monsieur Driftwood wrote:
Strangely, I've never had a problem with US customs, they're always very nice..


Me neither. It could be something specific about the airport in Houston. Last time I went through customs at LAX, it was practically zero time to get through. I easily spent 100 times longer waiting for my luggage than waiting to get through customs. Um... I don't know if driving/walking across the border between Mexico counts, but if a bunch of drunk high school kids can manage it, it's just not that difficult.
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#9 Nov 14 2012 at 4:05 PM Rating: Good
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LAX is pretty horrible coming in at around 2pm. Customs is filled with way too many people. It's excruciating especially when you have a connecting flight an hour afterwards. Terrible terrible customs in the US.

Now going into Japan is quite easy. I fly via Singapore Airlines (best airline ever) and arrive at 7:15pm. The airport is pretty empty at this time so it makes coming through a breeze.
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#10 Nov 14 2012 at 6:38 PM Rating: Default
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Sogoro wrote:
LAX is pretty horrible coming in at around 2pm. Customs is filled with way too many people. It's excruciating especially when you have a connecting flight an hour afterwards. Terrible terrible customs in the US.

Now going into Japan is quite easy. I fly via Singapore Airlines (best airline ever) and arrive at 7:15pm. The airport is pretty empty at this time so it makes coming through a breeze.


Singapore is awesome because customs is at the gate instead of having one massive customs line.
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#11 Nov 15 2012 at 3:45 PM Rating: Decent
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Almalieque wrote:
Sogoro wrote:
LAX is pretty horrible coming in at around 2pm. Customs is filled with way too many people. It's excruciating especially when you have a connecting flight an hour afterwards. Terrible terrible customs in the US.

Now going into Japan is quite easy. I fly via Singapore Airlines (best airline ever) and arrive at 7:15pm. The airport is pretty empty at this time so it makes coming through a breeze.


Singapore is awesome because customs is at the gate instead of having one massive customs line.


Changi? Unless they changed things in the last couple years, customs is for the entire inbound/connecting international portion of the airport. However, you are correct that security is done at the gate. So coming into Singapore, you have to go down that row of escalators into the customs area (with longish, but reasonable lines). Heading out from Singapore, you just check your bags then walk to your gate, and go through security right there. Makes it ridiculously fast to get into your flight.
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#12 Nov 15 2012 at 5:44 PM Rating: Default
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gbaji wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
Sogoro wrote:
LAX is pretty horrible coming in at around 2pm. Customs is filled with way too many people. It's excruciating especially when you have a connecting flight an hour afterwards. Terrible terrible customs in the US.

Now going into Japan is quite easy. I fly via Singapore Airlines (best airline ever) and arrive at 7:15pm. The airport is pretty empty at this time so it makes coming through a breeze.


Singapore is awesome because customs is at the gate instead of having one massive customs line.


Changi? Unless they changed things in the last couple years, customs is for the entire inbound/connecting international portion of the airport. However, you are correct that security is done at the gate. So coming into Singapore, you have to go down that row of escalators into the customs area (with longish, but reasonable lines). Heading out from Singapore, you just check your bags then walk to your gate, and go through security right there. Makes it ridiculously fast to get into your flight.


Yes, I had it backwards..
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#13 Nov 15 2012 at 6:43 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
Sogoro wrote:
LAX is pretty horrible coming in at around 2pm. Customs is filled with way too many people. It's excruciating especially when you have a connecting flight an hour afterwards. Terrible terrible customs in the US.

Now going into Japan is quite easy. I fly via Singapore Airlines (best airline ever) and arrive at 7:15pm. The airport is pretty empty at this time so it makes coming through a breeze.


Singapore is awesome because customs is at the gate instead of having one massive customs line.


Changi? Unless they changed things in the last couple years, customs is for the entire inbound/connecting international portion of the airport. However, you are correct that security is done at the gate. So coming into Singapore, you have to go down that row of escalators into the customs area (with longish, but reasonable lines). Heading out from Singapore, you just check your bags then walk to your gate, and go through security right there. Makes it ridiculously fast to get into your flight.


What are all the countries you've been to gbaji? Ever get stuck at the border somewhere?
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#14 Nov 15 2012 at 7:14 PM Rating: Default
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Sogoro wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
Sogoro wrote:
LAX is pretty horrible coming in at around 2pm. Customs is filled with way too many people. It's excruciating especially when you have a connecting flight an hour afterwards. Terrible terrible customs in the US.

Now going into Japan is quite easy. I fly via Singapore Airlines (best airline ever) and arrive at 7:15pm. The airport is pretty empty at this time so it makes coming through a breeze.


Singapore is awesome because customs is at the gate instead of having one massive customs line.


Changi? Unless they changed things in the last couple years, customs is for the entire inbound/connecting international portion of the airport. However, you are correct that security is done at the gate. So coming into Singapore, you have to go down that row of escalators into the customs area (with longish, but reasonable lines). Heading out from Singapore, you just check your bags then walk to your gate, and go through security right there. Makes it ridiculously fast to get into your flight.


What are all the countries you've been to gbaji? Ever get stuck at the border somewhere?



I got stuck in Sri Lanka....Smiley: glare

Edited, Nov 16th 2012 3:14am by Almalieque
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#15 Nov 15 2012 at 7:57 PM Rating: Default
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Haven't actually been to that many countries. Mostly places I've gone for work, pretty much in the Asia/Pacific region. Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, etc. Obviously, I've been to Mexico many times, Canada once or twice. Strangely, I've never been to anywhere in Europe. Go figure.

I've never had too much difficulty crossing borders though. Aside from a silly jet-lag induced event in going through security on a layover in Japan, it's been pretty smooth. Actually, the most difficult border crossing was coming back from Tijuana one night many years ago. Ended out getting the car pulled into secondary and searched. Yeah. That was fun.

Several of my co-workers have had "interesting" things happen to them though. One guy got stopped by a 16 year old with a machine gun in Israel. Apparently, the box of RSA tokens (which were flat credit card sized things with an led screen with changing numbers on them back then) made him suspicious. Can't imagine why. The funniest one (which happened pre-9/11 and on a domestic trip) was when one of my co-workers got curious and when asked the usual set of questions (Anyone ask you to carry anything? Luggage been out of your sight? etc) he made the mistake of asking what would happen if he said yes. Hahaha.

Edited, Nov 15th 2012 5:59pm by gbaji
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