Tag: BordersView All Tags
Scams / Bribes / Security / Borders / → All Tags
Most travelers accept that low-level graft, bribery, and off-the-books transactions are an unavoidable part of visiting certain foreign countries. Sure, the security guard in Zambia might suggest you give him a few kwacha to "buy a beer" if you want to gain access to a government ministry, or the border agent in Latvia may hint that a ten-euro note folded into your passport might help you make your ferry in Tallinn on time, but rarely does this chicanery rise to the level encountered by a number of tourists in Thailand recently. As the AP points out, the governments of several European countries have put out warnings to their nationals to be wary of a scam in Thailand's Suvarnabhumi Airport in which tourists browsing in the duty-free shop are falsely accused of shoplifting, and then shaken down by seedy intermediaries for sums of up to $10,000 or more to win their freedom.
This sounds somewhat familiar: three adventurous American hikers are being held by Iranian officials for straying off course during a recent trek in Iraqi Kurdistan and crossing into Iranian territory. USA Today reports that the hikers were in a mountainous area near the town of Ahmed Awaa on Friday when they mistakenly crossed the border, where Iranian troops surrounded them and took them into custody.
TSA Watch / TSA / Airport Security / Swine Flu / Borders / → All Tags
In deference to this week's thing that will kill us all, the TSA added a nifty little box to its Website about H1N1, aka swine flu, to let travelers know what they should do to stay safe. (Short summary: Wash your hands, stay away from sick people.)
One would think this would be the perfect place for the TSA blog to step in and reassure readers how careful workers will be and how the utmost precautions are being taken -- but there is no mention of the flu anywhere. In effect, the "Evolution of Security" exists in a pre-Monday world in which the swine flu does not kill us all. Ah, those were the days!
Every savvy traveler knows the universal rule of globetrotting: If we must hold onto one single thing when traveling, we hold onto our passport. Only Official Dudes get to touch the almighty passport, and then they give it back, scanned and stamped, right?
Well, what happens when we can't tell for sure the Official Dude is an Official Dude? What happens when we hand it over and we've got to cross the border to a developing nation and collect our passport on the other side? How do we explain this act of moronic behavior later in a worst case scenario, when we were just following directions and going with the flow?
And what will our parents say after years of preaching how sacred the U.S. Passport is, and how they'd prefer not to have to take out a loan to pay off a hostage situation?
Immigration / Borders / Visas / UK Travel / → All Tags
The guy probably had it all planned out before they searched his bags. A Mexican national, he declared his intent to visit a few friends in the U.K. before returning back home via Los Angeles. But his suitcase told a different story, and after customs found a note from a friend wishing him a "new life," he was forced to confess that he was planning to stay and work illegally -- and subsequently deported.
He's not alone: After years of relative open-door policies, the three leading British political parties are all calling for greater regulation of who gets into Britain, which could mean trouble for long-haul travelers without visas. And, spurred by a report from the Office of National Statistics which showed that some 214,000 foreign nationals had gained jobs in the U.K. while 278,000 Brits had lost theirs, most of the country is behind them.
The new policies include fingerprinting all visa applicants and tacking fees onto the entry visas for various countries, but it may also mean turning up the heat on legitimate vacationers. Perhaps packing a datebook showing you have something to get back to wouldn't be a bad idea.
· Hasta la vista, baby [Reuters]
· UK slump poses challenge to support for an open economy [The Australian]
· New visa regulations may harm UK tourism [ASAP.co.uk]
· 2008: UK Stepping Up Its Immigration Game [Jaunted]
If you just took the inaugural flight from Los Angeles to Sydney on V Australia, and now want to swing over to New Zealand since you’re in the neighborhood—we have some good news. Officials in both down under nations are looking to make it easier to travel between the two countries. Prime Ministers Key and Rudd are looking to create a partnership that would create “domestic” flights.
Despite what you've seen on Flight of the Conchords--Aussies and Kiwis can get along.