For anyone who has traveled internationally, going through customs is one of the most painful experiences of the trip. Here are three real stories our readers have submitted for your enjoyment!
1. Amazing Hair.
I have a passport that was issued eight years ago to my much younger self with a very eccentric hairstyle. I normally use a different travel document as this old passport photo looks rather ridiculous, but a few months ago I was in a good mood and decided to hand teenage me’s passport to the border police at MUC with a casual comment about how the picture is not very recent.
Immigration Officer: “Do you mind if I show this to my colleague?”
2. Canada Eh?
I arrived in Canada during winter, not wearing a big coat. It was probably -20C, having arrived from San Diego +80F.
Immigration Officer: Any drugs?
Immigration Officer: Any weapons?
Immigration Officer: Do you have a better coat?
Me: “Uhhh, no… Stupid of me, but just… Ummm… “
Immigration Officer: Sorry, I cannot let you in. Entrance Refused. You’ll need to return to where you came from
Me: “Whhuuat… at? But… I… What?!”
Immigration Officer: Only fucking with you. You can come into the country. But you must buy a coat – I do not want your death on my conscience for letting you in.
3. WTF is Market Research?
Me: I’m here on business. (which I remember I ticked the box in the arrival form that says Business)
Immigration Officer: What kind of business are you in?
Me: Oh I’m in market research.
Immigration Officer: What exactly is it that you do?
Me: Well, you know, we do surveys, questionnaires, that kind of research.
Immigration Officer: So you interview people?… (she looked puzzled, but continued asking me) Are you here to look for work?
Me: No, I’m not here to work, I’m here for meetings, business meetings.
Immigration Officer: But you said you interview people, how is that not work.
Me: Yes, market research is about collecting feedback and answers from people, we do that all around the world including in the UK, but I don’t work in the UK.
Immigration Officer: If you do not have intention of working here, what is the purpose of your trip?
Me (getting a little worked up): I have told you right at the beginning that I’m here for business meetings
Immigration Officer: So you are going to conduct business in the UK? It doesn’t make sense, you said you are not going to work here but you are here for business meetings and your job is market research and conduct interviews around the world, so you are here to work?
Me: No, you are getting this wrong. Let me explain in little more details. Yes, market research is about conducting interviews, but those conducting interviews are called interviewers, when we do that in other countries, we subcontract to the local people to do that.
And I don’t do interviews myself, (I took out my name card and handed to her) this is my company, I own it, and I’m here on a business trip to discuss things with my UK partners, so that’s what I meant when I said business meetings.
Immigration Officer: If you are the owner of the company, why are you here? (at this point, I saw her colleague at the next counter kept looking at us, and obviously overheard our conversation and he was trying very hard not to laugh)
Me (I was almost speechless at this point, and I was struggling to find a way to bring this lady to her senses, and suddenly I saw a poster featuring some Microsoft stuffs hanging in the distance): Yes, I’m the owner of this company, just like Bill Gates, you know Bill Gates? The guy that owns Microsoft, I’m sure he travels to UK for business meetings.
Even Bill Gates needs to travel around the world for meetings, for a small business like mine, I of course needs to go for meetings elsewhere. It’s the same logic, Bill Gates isn’t here to look for employment, he’s here for business, so am I.
The lady officer looked a little shocked by my analogy, but her colleague at the next counter started bursting into laughing upon overhearing our conversation. She finally stamped my passport and let me through without saying another word.
All stories were taken from Quora.