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The Traveller's Magazine
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Travellers who want to touch every corner of the globe know what it’s like to spend hours waiting at embassies, visa offices and immigration control. It can be a breeze… it can also be a nightmare. Without a doubt applying for visas and passing through immigration makes for good travel stories.

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At the border…

Passport stamps
Even though you have nothing to hide, your palms still sweat when you approach the counter at any immigration border. Do you have any goods to declare? Have you “forgotten” about the Hungarian sausages you snuck into your backpack a few minutes before departing for the airport? Sometimes it’s as easy as, “How long are you planning to stay?” and a stamp in the passport. Other times, you may be asked a whole range of other questions. Here are, without a doubt, the funniest from this week’s #TTOT session!

Q3 via @himalfootsteps: What’s the funniest question you ever got applying for a visa or at immigration?

@roniweiss: When I was a kid, the question at the Canadian border: “Why are you here?” ‘Hockey.” “OK, you can go.”

@chuckgspins: I gave a funny answer: “Anything to declare?” I said, “I declare I’m tired & ready for bed!” The guy laughed.

@EverywhereTrip: In the Solomon Islands, the immigration guy asked how long I was staying in a very stern way, and then say “Hey, stay longer!”

@MalloryOnTravel: Would you like to donate one of those bottles of whiskey that you aren’t going to drink yourself to the guards?

@bpmojo: US back in the game! Who can beat the “have you been in touch with the Nazi regime” question?

@raghavmodi: What is the first thing you will do when you reach Amsterdam. My Answer to that was… Pee! 🙂

@AnisIbrahim: US visa app- I said I was visiting my boyfriend and the lady asked ‘have u actually met him, sweetie?’

@michaelapiehl: On arrival at JFK i was once asked… how big are the rats in London?!

@shipsandtrips: “You aren’t hiding any Cuban Cigars from me, are you?” Oh, Miami Immigration officials, you’re so cute.

@Tom_Travels: After 2 months camping in Africa the Australian immigration officer asked “Have you put your bag down on soil at any point?”

Visa-free travel?

Traveller's backpack

Travellers from Europe have long had the advantage of travelling to different countries wihtout showing so much as an ID card. Open borders make travelling a breeze! Unfortunately it’s not that easy for travellers from other parts of the world, or even for Britons and Europeans to travel to other countries. Some countries are totally off-limits. Similarly, some country’s citizens are also very limited to where they can travel. It’s not always as easy as booking a cheap flight and taking off. Is it fair?

Q5 via @crashpadder: Do you think it’s fair that the world is not open to travel by everyone?

@packurpassport: I think in an ideal world this would be amazing. Unfortunately we live in a world where some can’t be trusted/don’t have respect.

@SparkReviews: I’m a big proponent of not going where I’m not wanted. It would be nice to be wanted everywhere, though.

@hjortur: Because of the unequal life standards around the world, I guess it’s a necessary bad.

@luxtrvlwrks: Travel opens minds about the world in ways that no other experience can. I wish entire process was easier for all.

@Roopunzel: I think its crazy that the majority of people in this world still CHOOSE not to get a passport!

@25travels: Visas are okay if issuing it are based on a fair review rather than a preconceived stereotypes.

@MagellanPR: A passport is a privilege given to people who have good intentions – it should be taken away from any nasties, so yes.

@AnthonyOFlynn: 100%- so many places you’d love to visit, but can’t!!

@GQtrippin: A borderless world would mean less headaches not having to deal with so many Visas on a RTW trip.

@tripku: It would be awesome to have open borders as long as we could continue collecting stamps, just for the heck of it. 🙂

How about you? Any funny immigration stories to share? Do you think the world should be visa-free with open borders?

Travel Talk on Twitter takes place weekly on Tuesdays at 9:30 GMT and 21:30 GMT. Follow the hashtag #TTOT and join in the conversation! Next week’s topic: Group travel

Imgs: normanbleventhalmapcenter, hjl, Bekathwia / Flickr cc.

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2 responses to “#TTOT Round-up: visas and immigration

  1. Yes,t he immigration officers’ Qs are pretty funny,but it seems to be the answers that make them funnier in many cases… Dag, I wish I could think of one I’d been asked in my long travels… of course I’d be too late to post it at this point! I truly hope I can start fitting #TTOT into my Tuesday schedule! Every week on about Wed or Th I’m reminded that I’ve missed it again. dag. ok, next week… cheers, Lash

    1. Hey Lash! Haha, ever well-seasoned traveller has a few of these funny immigration stories to tell! And yes, you have to set yourself a little alarm to remind you that #TTOT is on Tuesdays, I look forward to it every week to connect with other travellers on Twitter, so much fun! So don’t forget: tomorrow at 9:30 GMT!!

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