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Worst Customs and Immigration

Travelgall

MIA
Kit Reviewer
#1
On another post discussing the US we got onto the subject of customs and the worst most jumped up ********* you can find manning their nations borders. Any suggestions for the worst Customs and Immigration procedures and people?
 
A

armadillo

Guest
#2
On another post discussing the US we got onto the subject of customs and the worst most jumped up ********* you can find manning their nations borders. Any suggestions for the worst Customs and Immigration procedures and people?
Brize Norton
 

Travelgall

MIA
Kit Reviewer
#3
Very good. :)

My personal bete noir are the New York airports. La Guardia is fine but JFK and Newark are terrible - JFK the worst. The staff think its a privelege to let you in, not thanking you for spending money in their country. Rude, arrogant and dumber than a bunch of rocks. At JFK they open up 20 desks for the Americans, and once they're processed they don't help out the 4 guys grilling the Non-US visitors. Going through DFW wasn't great either, they assumed since I was flying from Panama I had 200g of Pablo's finest jammed up my arse and it took a while to convince them otherwise. Its strange as Denver and GB Houston (Texas) were fantastic and the Customs guys manning their posts were politeness itself. MSP they weren't bad either.

Bolivia customs also sucked. South Africa isn't great, Canada I got in trouble by saying "Smile love, its the second best thing you can do with your mouth" - god she was a miserable cow.

The best Customs I had was in Fiji, Samoa and St Vincent & Grenadines (although that was probably because I fancied the very nice Customs officer - she could strip search me any day). Chile was pretty good too.
 

Travelgall

MIA
Kit Reviewer
#5
Ooohhh. Never been to India. Useful stuff. Is that because of the Customs and immigration procedures? Or because the Indians couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery?
 
#6
UK immigration for Dover is now done in Calais - if you want rude, pedantic and unpleasant C&I, go through the P&O Ferry Terminal. They must go through the same school as the American C & I.
 
#7
JFK is amongst the worst in the developed world. I never have an issue with any of the Homeland Security guys; being checked takes a few seconds and I'm through. The issue is the queuing to get to an agent. In fairness to them they have improved over the last couple of years (it used to take 2 hours of queuing to get 1 minute with an agent), but it still appears that most people arriving from flip-flop countries are too stupid to arrive with the correct documentation. When I go the US I now try and land at Chicago or San Jose as these are reasonably quick to get out of. If I must go to New York then the only flight I will use is the BA flight from London City airport: it is a 100% business class flight and lands in Ireland (for fuel) where you clear US customs and border controls, and as a result when landing at JFK you can walk straight out.

On the Hungarian - Serb border there used to be a collection of utter scumbags masquerading as Hungarian border guards. The Serbs were fine (if slow) and loved it if you could speak a few words of the local lingo. The Hungarians were miserable cúnts and very rude idiots who got angry if you couldn't speak Hungarian. Many a fun hour was spent waiting for no reason.

If you are planning on driving into or out of Morocco then be prepared for 4 - 5 hours of fun. They are polite, but again it is simply the queuing that takes so long, with no rhyme or reason to the checks. Flying in and out of Morocco is very simple and quick, and their agents have always been very polite and helpful.

Tel Aviv is easy to get into, though the queuing for the 3 or 4 kiosks is chaotic at best and can take over 90 minutes if a plane of 3rd worlders has landed in front of you. Getting out can take 3 hours for a single man without a certificate issued by a major Israeli company (which states that they know you, have a business relationship with you and are reasonably certain that you are not about to blow yourself up). Everyone is very polite though and after being checked they walked me to my gate (where the plane was waiting).

Most polite border controls? Zambia: they know you are coming into their country to spend your money, and they want you to have a fun time doing so in order for you to repeat the process (as I do every year!). I've had no problems in China, Korea, Japan, Brazil, Australia, South Africa or indeed anywhere else (and I hope this continues).

On another thread someone lambasted Heathrow. This is fair criticism. They are a bunch of lying tosspots who will say anything to get you out of their face and to become someone else's problem. However this isn't restricted to Customs officials at Heathrow: all the employees of that airport are similarly afflicted by an absence of integrity, possibly as a result of being paid peanuts while being drowned in management bullshit.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
SBA C and I The local lads are OK and can even be quite helpful but unfortunately they sometimes take their lead from the total cocks that are on secondment from HM C and I.
 
#9
Dread - thanks for the top tips about Morocco.

Seems it's not just me that manages to find an extra gear when disembarking and seeing a 'flip-flop' 747 pull up alongside !

Never found JFK too miserable, in fact on one occasion when leaving they were actually ok with us when my other half had left a large, metallic hair clip in her hand luggage on departure. Las Vegas, on the other hand, found them to be very stern, and when a Brit pulled out a pack of cigarettes to look for a smoking room it all got a bit shouty.
 
#10
Try C&I in BFG for size. You cannot visit them without an appointment, too bad they never answer the phone, so it's a Catch 22 situaion. When they do emerge from their hole they are absolute jobsworths.
 

Travelgall

MIA
Kit Reviewer
#11
SBA C and I The local lads are OK and can even be quite helpful but unfortunately they sometimes take their lead from the total cocks that are on secondment from HM C and I.
I drove through the Sovereign Bases all the time. Didn't see one customs official.
In defence of US Customs & immigration in New York. I believe even the US government know they were dreadful and have apparently made them pull their socks up.
 
#12
Any Indian airport. Take a seat, sandwiches and a big book.
So long as the book isn't 'Old Soldier Sahib' by Frank Richards !

Still banned in India (unless things have changed in the last couple of years) since it was published
about 70/80 years ago, and on their customs watch list.
 
#13
Travelgall. The 'I'm here for the rest of the day, so you can be as well' attitude prvails.
Tawahi-50 I doubt that I will go back to India, but if I do I'll try to rememer to be reading a copy of the book when in the queue. I make friends easily.
 
#14
Dread - thanks for the top tips about Morocco.

Seems it's not just me that manages to find an extra gear when disembarking and seeing a 'flip-flop' 747 pull up alongside !

Never found JFK too miserable, in fact on one occasion when leaving they were actually ok with us when my other half had left a large, metallic hair clip in her hand luggage on departure. Las Vegas, on the other hand, found them to be very stern, and when a Brit pulled out a pack of cigarettes to look for a smoking room it all got a bit shouty.
McCarran has always been a bit schizophrenic. They are always stern there but usually professional. I did see some poor cow getting off a flight from Manchester make the mistake of turning her phone on in the immigration queue. Her and her entire party get dragged out the queue, dressed down publicly andsent to the back. While this is happening two chaps turn up in full tactical gear with M4's and stand round scanning everyone in the queue. Even the guys manning the cubicles looked perplexed.
 
#15
Leaving Taiwan can be a bit of fun especially if you have bought any "mickey mouse" watches ie genuine Rolex etc.
They will try and nick them back off you at the Airport so that they can then sell them back to the little slitty eyed f*ck who sold them to you in the first place
We were told "You no take. Make Taiwan look bad"
My pal's parting remark to the Customs and other assorted no goods was "The sooner China takes you lot over, the better" We made the plane - just :)
 
#17
Agree Newark can be a pain with the rude and arrogant guys on the desk.

Worst experience has to be Nigeria. On returning to Lagos for my return flight to the UK, I was greeted by an Idi Amin type figure in full ceremonial uniform complete with medals.
He asked me for money to allow me to pass through customs. On being told politely to "ram it", he asked very quietly and menacingly if it would upset me if the sleeves were cut off my shirts with what looked to be a bayonet as they checked my luggage for drugs.
The local fixer who was helping me with my luggage suggested $50 would grease the wheels and allow me to go through without further delay.
The money was paid and the guy saluted me through with his bayonet.
Also happended at an 'official' checkpoint in Abuja.
Had fun trying to explain all these bribes on my expenses form.
 
#18
Last week I got back from a trip to Tel Aviv. I asked about the Letter of Security, but the bank I was working for out there refused to give me one, as I was a 3rd party contractor. 3.5 hours it took to get through security with my tools (various multimeters/scopes/hand tools). Due to the security, the flight back to Schipol was delayed (if the plane left on time, it would have been empty), meaning I missed my connecting flight to Newcastle and resulted in a 5 hour wait for a new flight. edit: Professional and polite security, though.

I watched the KLM Air Crew go through the gate security at Schipol - The black, effeminate Steward who took his jacket off, and then minced through wearing a large metal watch, setting the alarm off was allowed to carry on without being searched, as were the rest of the aircrew who all set the alarm off. I didnt complain, as I didnt want to spend any more time at the airport. WOFTAM.

I reserve my hatred for T5 transit which is staffed by utter jobsworth ***** who appear to take great pleasure in performing Security Theatre. I hate the ******* place with a passion.
 
#19
Unsurprisingly: Israel. I have been to every country that hates, denies the existence of and yes, even the one that wants to wipe Israel of the map, multiple times. When asked by the 18year old zit-faced boy soldier with the M4 what my business was with Iran, Lebanon and Syria, I responded "Tourism" (the truth). I was subsequently grilled by what I assume was the Mossad and deemed fit to enter the country from Jordan (Allenby / King Hussain bridge, the only border crossing you can use without getting a stamp on either side) after all. This was between two intefadas and before the recent war with fractions of Lebanon. I did feel as if I was being watched on that trip though... Oh yes: Some REALLY fit female soldiers in the IDF...
 
#20
JFK is amongst the worst in the developed world.
Flew into JFK from Frankfurt on a Singapore Airlines flight that was chocker with Chinese (Come to celebrate Chinese New Year). Little old guy didn't have any English stood at the front of the line. A "greeter" shouted at him then grabbed him roughly by the shoulder and literally shoved him in the direction of the passport control desk. Poor little sod nearly fell over, the "greeter" ignored him.

Tel Aviv is easy to get into, though the queuing for the 3 or 4 kiosks is chaotic at best and can take over 90 minutes if a plane of 3rd worlders has landed in front of you.
Flew from FFM to Tel Aviv. Aside from the stringent security actually getting into departures at FFM (interview first, THEN passport) I found TLV itself actually very cool. The people are very professional and friendly. Leaving TLV was much the same. (But I got to Austria and going from 1 gate to another was like getting into a Stalag by comparison and that was an internal (Schengen) flight!
 

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