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Thumbs down to US Customs and Immigration ....

I've just heard a horror story from a friend of mine from Sudan who had to apply for a Visa to visit a University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Because he is Sudanese, he had to apply a month in advance for his Visa, but a month was not enough, it took them about six weeks to process it. Regrettably the Embassy neglected to advise him with the issue of the Visa that he can only exit through a designated airport as he has to register before he departs from the United States. He then had to pay 400US$ extra in departing via JFK, BUT he had to make plenty of enquiries first before he could figure out where all the designated airports are. Also fortunate that he was flying American Airlines. As they have their own terminal at JFK.

OK, get to JFK. First he had to go through passport control once but then learned that he needed to go to a different Terminal to register his departure. They only do registrations at Terminal 4. So he, together with many other irrate travellers had to scramble over to Terminal 4 in a train, register, and find their way back. There was no easy information posted anywhere. They had to learn this mostly through trial and error and making various enquiries.

When my friend arrived in Raleigh, on top of having to apply for a Visa, which involved all his personal details, including a letter of his employer, the nth degree, present himself in person at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi for an interview, then get the Visa, he had to be interviewed all over again, as from scratch, by Customs in Raleigh first before he was allowed in. This was obviously fortunate in a way, since he was now informed he would have to change his exit travel plans. It took him about two hours to pass through customs. On top of it all, this friend of mine and the University he visited lost one day in trying to finesse what he needed to do to EXIT the country, as well as to change all of his bookings.

Amazing that people are making such a big huff about discrimination against Mexicans, and fail to mention discrimination against non-Americans. Thumbs down for the American Customs and Immigration service, and particularly their lack of ability to communicate essential information, such as exit travel requirements that can only occur from designated airports. The only good part was the treatment by the Customs officials at Raleigh Airport, they stuck him with reams of paper on the customs regulations. A bit late in the day but nonetheless they were helpful.

I thought this applied to only Sudanese, but it would appear it applies to quite a number of other countries. One can only exit the US through a "designated" airport of US Immigration's choice, and one probably should beef up on knowledge of exactly where the terminal is situated with the US Customs EXIT registration desk. This document about the travel regulations is an eye-opener:

Just one glance at the "archive" Web page, should give a clear idea of how complicated the process has to be:

Hopefully this is worth it and the US is much safer as a result? Except maybe for Arizona?
The document is 8 years old, so presumably nothing has changed from the post 9/11 changes in 2002?
Bikerman wrote:
The document is 8 years old, so presumably nothing has changed from the post 9/11 changes in 2002?
Not sure what you mean by this? I was fully aware that it was old, and some of that is still in force, i.e. reporting periodically at police stations. You will find that it is very difficult to travel to the United States if you are from the "wrong" country TODAY, and especially if you are planning to stay longer than 30 days. Almost impossible. I ranted a little, but I can't imagine they would be doing the same in the UK, would they? Do people from Pakistan, Sudan, Middle East etc. have to register at a separate desk at a designated airport, and designated terminal when they arrive, and register at a separate desk at a designated airport and designated terminal when the leave? Then when they are in the country, are asked to report at police stations at regular intervals? If they change addresses in their itinerary they have to report at a police station to give the change of address, or they will be arrested?
I was merely seeking to ascertain whether this is the same as it has been for the last 7 years, or whether something has changed more recently...that's all...
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