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Every trip to the US starts at immigration, and on my now nine visits to the US, none of the encounters have been pleasant, but this last one is the worst I’ve tried so far.

I complained about it on our Facebook page, but let me tell you what happened:

The line was long and seemed to not be moving. It did, of course, but slowly. We ended up waiting in line for a little more than one and a half hours. Ugh! So annoying after a long flight.

When we finally had to talk to an officer, we were almost done, when he asked us to step into one of the small investigation rooms that everybody fears. Jonas had already been cleared, but he was struggling with my two passports: my current passport and my old one containing my US visa.

My heart nearly stopped. Thankfully, Jonas was allowed to come with me. I was investigated by two officers: a man and a woman, aka. Good Cop and Bad Cop.

They asked me if I had ever used my visa before. I told them that I had, last year in San Francisco. I had applied for the visa because I wanted to stay for longer than the 90 days that you get through the ESTA program.

They asked me lots of questions and suddenly the woman (Bad Cop) asked me:

So please tell us why you overstayed on your last visit?

I must have looked very surprised. I had no idea what she was talking about. I asked her what she meant by that and after lots of questions back and forth, I finally found out what was going on.

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Basically, what happened was that the lady in San Francisco had granted me the only 90 days entrance by mistake last year. I’m sure it was a mistake because nobody told me that my B2 visa – and thus my desired 111 days long stay – hadn’t been accepted at immigration.

But because of that mistake it now looked like I had overstayed on my last visit – not something they appreciate at US Immigration. Damn. I tried to explain myself, since I know I did nothing wrong.

I showed my return ticket at immigration in San Francisco – she knew how long I was going to stay. And she accepted and I was let in.

I don’t think you’re telling us the truth

Bad Cop continued to say. Annoyingly, she was eating pistacchio nuts, making lots of annoying sounds and not even looking at me while telling me that she thought I was lying.

I felt so helpless.

In the end, Bad Cop had to leave. Obviously, going home was more important than making me feel like shit. I really think she was just messing with me and enjoying herself while doing so. Some people just can’t handle having too much power.

Good Cop tried standing up for me many times – he was a superstar.

When Bad Cop finally left, he granted me entrance with my B2 visa right away – and with a smile. All was good and I was very thankful to finally breath the fresh, hot air outside.

Now I just hope that my future visits to the US will begin a bit smoother than this one. My B2 visa expires in 2022, so I have maaany years of fun with it to come.

Has this ever happened to you? Tell your crazy stories below!

6 Comments on How I Was Almost Not Allowed Entrance To The United States

  1. Jim Cheney
    December 21, 2013 at 1:27 am (4 years ago)

    American immigration can be a bitch even for citizens. Glad you got through. Hopefully they’ll eventually stop being jerks.

    Reply
    • Celia Schow
      December 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm (4 years ago)

      Really?! That makes no sense to me that they would treat their own citizens like that!? Well, as I wrote in the post, some people just can’t handle having that much power – they love to see people sweat! I really hope so too. Sure, they need to protect their country, but they could ask the same questions in a nice tone of voice and respect the people entering. That would be so much better!

      Reply
  2. Katherine Belarmino
    December 21, 2013 at 6:28 am (4 years ago)

    What a pain! I’m pretty sure I would have cried. For some reason, being pulled aside by authority figures freaks me out even though I know I’ve done nothing wrong. Sorry it was so difficult for you to enter my country!

    Reply
    • Celia Schow
      December 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm (4 years ago)

      It was such a pain! I was too shocked and surprised to even start crying. But I was SO relieved when it was over! I know how you’re feeling! I’m the same way. When authorities pull me aside I get super anxious. But mostly because of the way they treat me. Getting that B2 visa was a pain as well! Total crazy investigation at the US Embassy. I felt like a criminal. And they made all sorts of crazy assumptions about what I was going to do in the US. Eeek! I’m just a normal person, give me a break… :O
      Haha – it’s ok! I must really love it to keep going through that to enter. ;) Where in the States are you from? :)

      Reply
  3. Laura // Afterglobe
    December 21, 2013 at 10:52 am (4 years ago)

    Åh, det lyder næsten som vores oplevelse! De to gange vi har været i USA, har vi begge gange haft problemer. Første gang var dog den værste, og der blev vi også slæbt ind i et af de der baglokaler, der ligner noget fra en film – fjernsyn på væggen under loftet, stole på rækker, diske med frygtindgydende politibetjente. De kunne ikke forstå hvordan vi havde råd til at være to måneder i USA, når vi var studerende: hvor kom pengene fra? Hvad skulle vi når vi kom hjem? (vi skulle starte på studie i september, men vi fik jo ikke svar før 30. juli, så vi viste reelt ikke hvilket studie vi var kommet ind på) Tjente vi nogle penge nu? Havde vi planer om at blive i USA? Det var virkelig ubehageligt… Men vi kom ind i sidste ende!

    Reply
    • Celia Schow
      December 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm (4 years ago)

      Ja! Lige netop – det ligner noget fra film, haha. Så ubehageligt. Og hvor må det have været frygteligt at skulle igennem det allerførste gang!? Godt nok ubehageligt for jer, søde Laura! :(
      Ahh, ja! Det går de helt latterligt meget op i – det med pengene. Og jeg tænker bare: kan de ikke i princippet være ligeglade? Altså, hvis I f.eks. havde valgt at tage et lån i banken, kørt kæmpe overtræk på dankortene eller noget lignende, så var det jo stadig jeres problem? De burde da være glade for, at I kommer og bruger penge i deres land! ÅH.
      Hvor er det godt, at I trods alt kom ind! Jeg aner faktisk ikke, om de kan finde på at sende en hjem igen, hvis de ikke tror på, at man har penge nok!? Overvej lige, hvor ubehageligt, det ville være… :S

      Reply

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