jeudi 13 novembre 2008

His cock-up? My arse!

How much of a ballache is this?

When you enter the US as a foreigner (or 'alien' as they like to call us in that friendly kind of way) and if you don't need a visa, you have to fill in an I94 form.

The entry part is taken off you by the lovely man at the fingerprinting desk, aka passport control. The exit part (officially now I94W) is stapled in your passport.

Upon leaving the US, the I94W is taken from your passport by the airline or the immigrations folks at the gate of your departing flight. This is your proof of leaving the country.

So guess what happened?

I ran for the Paris flight at Detroit, handed over boarding pass and passport to the gate official. He gave me them back and I ran on board. I didn't check that he'd taken the I94W.

He hadn't. He'd screwed up his - relatively easy - job and had left me with my exit form still in my passport. Fool.

So now the US Immigration think that I am still in the US.

To overcome this, I have to write to some government department in Kentucky (run by the Colonel?) sending my I94W and proof that I am now out of the country. God help me. I'm sending them everything, including a photo of me holding today's Figaro in front of the Eiffel Tower. Well, maybe not.

And if they don't process this, or if it just sits on a shelf somewhere, or if it gets lost in the post? Or if I simply didn't know that I needed to do this and just left the slip in my passport, or even worse, threw it away? That's easy, I would be denied entry next time I try to go to the States, and sent back on the plane that I arrived on - at my expense.

So, the American government have screwed up and it has become my problem to solve.

Don't you just love that?

36 commentaires:

CawfeeGuy a dit…

dear...that's what it's like being an ACTUAL american.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

CG, it's ridiculous. You have my sympathies.

softinthehead a dit…

You know what TBNIL I was going to make a snarky comment about the US and changed my mind!! That's how scary they are!! Sorry Americans out there but it's true - who knew it would come to this?

conortje a dit…

is that the silly green form where you have to tick either yes or no to all these stupid questions like are you a terrorist or have you ever been involved in genecide? like anyone would ever admit it on the form.

Anthony a dit…

I've left with the firm in my passport before and nothing ill has come of it. Well, at least they have not reefused me entry until now ......

cb a dit…

Um, yeah. That sounds about right.

That'll teach you aliens to stay out of our country!!!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Softy, really - what has it come to. Not just in the US, but sometimes I think a lot of the joy has been sucked out of travelling. A shame really.

Lucky we have our Lewis and Anthony/LaTanya flying the friendly skies to keep us entertained....

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Big C, maybe it's because I ticked the box that asked if I was plotting to bring down the government....?

LaTanya, you think I'll be ok? Am I worrying unnecessarily? The chickie at the embassy made it into a really big deal.....

travelling, but not in love a dit…

CB - cheers for that...see you in Canada?

aims a dit…

I'm kinda with SITH on this. Better to keep your mouth shut sometimes around here. Those guys in the dark glasses can be real meanies.

However! TBNIL - a picture of you in front of the eiffel holding your johnson - ya - send it to Bush to show him you're back home once more! He'll get right on it I'm sure.

Lane a dit…

Sounds convoluted and a complete inconvenience. Sometimes I'm quite relieved I don't travel much as I'd never remember all this stuff.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Aims, now there's a picture for my home page! I may just do it...need to find someone to take it though....

Lane, really, a pain in the ass. Sometimes staying home is easier.

Valleys Mam a dit…

Honey - just stay out of America. Plenty of lovely places to go that are civilised.
Their economy is on the slide and prices are shit, find a new cultural compatible place to go , where they dont treat you like an alien and where the officials dont have knuckles to the floor, :>)

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Harsh, VM, harsh! But hey, their economy is on the slide - alas so is that of most of europe....

I'm struggling to think of a next trip now...lord knows where. I fancy Uzbekistan.

Daryl a dit…

What cawdeeguy said

Followed by my own

Oh fuck

:-Daryl

travelling, but not in love a dit…

D, it truly does suck.

I'm so not impressed.

Anthony a dit…

Go to Uzbekistan! I've been on holiday there a couple of times and loved it.

12ontheinside a dit…

Just go to Australia. All the cool people live there, you know.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Anthony...I really want to see Samarkand. And Bukhara. So it's worth going?

12oti - I lived in Sydney for a year...and have been back something like five times now. I'm kind of over Australia for a while - but it is true, some very cool people do live there...!

eguinan a dit…

Been there. Exactly the same thing happened to me a couple of years back.

A nice lady in the US embassy in Dublin told me to just gather lots of evidence that I made it back (letters from employers, utility bills etc) so I did all that. Went to NYC and had my speech prepared: :The last time I left the US, I did not validate my exit...here I have documentary evidence that I did indeed leave the country and...' The rather impatient lady interrupted: 'Sir, I'm not interested in all that, just fill out this'.

A short form saying when I left and my signature. No. Big. Deal.

Off I went, letters unread.

Anthony a dit…

Yes, they are both worth going to. Samarkand was the best. As for Australia, I wouldn't bother either :p

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Enda, and here I am having some kind of 'my ass is on the way to Gitmo for waterboarding next time I try to hit the Big Apple for a spot of American Boy' crisis....

travelling, but not in love a dit…

LaTanya, Samarkand just looks amazing. I'm jealous of your travelling now.

If you get a chance, mail me and tell me about it and about Mexico City too - well, if you feel like doing so, that is. It's also high on my list though I don't know why, other than I wanted to go there years ago and my Dad said I'd get killed. I actually like a bit of danger...gives me something to write about.

tbnil@hotmail.com

Will a dit…

Now you're one of us--the American president and administration screwed up cosmically and now we're all left having to deal with it__and PAY for it.

You're luckier than we because you don't have to live here.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Will, I'm not suggesting Obama is the answer to everyone's prayers, but the fact that the damn fool Bush is leaving office and the democrats have a majority is a damn good start.

But yeah, he screwed it up for all of us.

Swearing Mother a dit…

I bet you got some really weird visitors from search engines with a title like that, give or take a bit of punctuation here and there.


:o)

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Sweary, that's not what I was aiming for! Honest!

Ben a dit…

Is that the little green slip of paper thingy? I was handed mine - not stapled to my passport and certainly not told you had to retain it.

Well, actually, I was told - several hours afterwards by a very unfriendly member of US customs on the US/Canadian border.

He had a very big gun, and a very unfriendly looking dog. Seriously, I've never seen a German Shepherd look so unfriendly. And neither of them had much patience with the hapless British man desperately searching his pockets.

That'll teach you to travel, I guess.

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) a dit…

Oh, I have the I94W issue every time I cross into the US from here. It's valid for multiple entries for 30 days. Thinking of a quick trip back?

If you don't hand it back before 90 days then they take note, but you are one of many who don't hand them back for some reason or other. Just mail it back to them with a credit card slip as proof of date and place.

Just note that it might take up 40 days to register on the system.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Hi Ben...I guess in the greater scheme of things, it's the least that could go wrong. I think they got sick of people losing them so they staple them into passports these days.....

Rob, sounds like you've got the t-shirt too. It's all sent off now anyway, let's see what happens.

wontletlifedefineme a dit…

Sounds very much like America... like the time my brother and his wife went to Costa Rica with a stop-over in the US, and they were treated not as transferring people, but as people entering the USA. Which they weren't. But the whole process at customs took so long they missed their connecting flight to Costa Rica, where they had people waiting to pick them up at the airport, they had to stay at a hotel at their own costs, and had to buy a phone card so they could call the people in Costa Rica telling them they wouldn't be on the plane. It's so ridiculous. Somehow the US government thinks if you ever go to America it must be because you permanently want to stay there.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Marjolein, who wouldn't want to live the American dream!?! he he.

When I flew to New Zealand via LAX I had to clear custom's there too, even though I was leaving the country within the hour. Odd.

aims a dit…

Travelling? How about Alberta - wink wink.....I know lots of swinging guys out here who have a fun! time!

tornwordo a dit…

Little known fact: You have no constitutionally protected rights in border zones, and this includes airports. They can pretty much do what they wish with you there.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Aims, swinging guys who know how to have a fun time? bring 'em on!

Torny, it certainly felt that way too....

Anonyme a dit…

You're safe. They informed me before that if you've left by air to Europe the airline provides them with a passenger list that they use to check names. It's 99.999% likely that you were checked off anyway and they've become even better about it recently, I was told. Hope that soothes the soul :)