We are currently in Niagara Falls and crossed the border on Tuesday. We also spent a good portion of Oct-Jan crossing the Canadian border in-out of Vancouver. It was our first experience of the very thorough questions by both sides, upon entering. It’s our habit to book a hotel and do some touring before we arrive at our sits. We feel that our responses are not lies, as we consider ourselves to be tourists whenever entering another state and/or country. Overseas, we were not once questioned, during our 5 months of touring/sitting, in various countries. While I respect the laws in all areas of the world, I honestly believe we are not participating in anything that would negatively impact the wellbeing of the local residents. We contribute to the local economy during our stay, and foster friendly relationships between individuals of differing nationalities.
It’s best to say that you’re going on holiday and even better to book a hotel for the first night in case they ask
Not entirely sure of your point, other than simply stating what you believe. As a belief, it’s your right to hold it and express it but as applied to UK immigration law (the only area about which I am qualified to comment) it is incorrect.
Appreciate your legal experience and input @Saltrams
My advice to clients is always answer honestly, don’t misrepresent yourself, but don’t answer a question that wasn’t asked.
@Lassie; From the other side of the fence, I really appreciate the veracity and integrity of your advice. There are soooo many charlatans out there (but that’s a discussion for a different forum )
Hi @jencalla - anyone not staying with friends/ family / hotel/ Airbnb etc who also says that they have left their job is likely to get further questioning at US and U.K. borders . As it’s not the “typical” profile of a tourist . The questions asked will be to determine whether you are a genuine tourist or someone with no ties to their home country who is intending to stay to live and work in the country they are trying to enter.
A short stay with proof of return ticket (and in some countries proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay without needing to work ) will usually satisfy a border official that you are a genuine tourist and not intending on living and working in the country.
The immigration rules get more complex for anyone entering a country to do back to back long sits whilst working . Anyone in this situation needs to do a lot of research on what the immigration rules are for the specific country they will be staying in .
I am surprised to hear this, because the UK has been the only country where I’ve been interrogated and scrutinized. Being asked how long I’m staying and why am I wanting to enter etc. has been automatic.
@katie: UK Immigration Officers must ask non-British passport holders the minimum questions of length of stay and reason for visit. (Edit; since I retired, there are e-gates for biometric passports that US citizens inter alia may use to enter the UK without facing an IO). The overwhelming majority of travellers will pass through with no further questions. The two single greatest reasons for further enquiries are the passport you hold and the way you present yourself. You have probably heard apocryphal stories of how police detectives “just had a gut feeling” that someone was the murderer? It’s the same for a good IO.
US citizen/resident here. I did three sets of sits in the UK in 2022. 2@6 weeks and 1@month. I used the automated border gates at LHR so never really talked with anyone about why I was traveling.
1 6 week sit in Australia - said I was a tourist.
2 weeks in Canada as a tourist.
Precovid did a month in the UK as a tourist and a week in S Korea (entry at Jeju airport) as a tourist.
I love the U.K. and have been a number of times, including for a sit. I’ve been asked about the purpose of my visit, but nothing notable or prolonged. Those are standard questions. I’ve also gone through e-gates without a hitch. That was at Heathrow and Gatwick.
Immigration and border officers are looking for anything atypical, so I figure as long as I’m straightforward and relaxed, they can ask what they want and it won’t matter.
The most “rigor” I’ve encountered is at the auto border crossing from Canada to the U.S., when returning from Vancouver. I used to go on many weekends, when we lived in Seattle and someone loaned me their Vancouver vacation home on a standing invite. In those cases, border agents wanted to make sure we weren’t bringing in produce or meats that weren’t allowed.
A few years ago I was returning to the US from a trip that started in Poland and connected at DTW. Customs x-rayed my bag to be sure I wasn’t bringing a Polish ham back to the US. And returning on a flight Seoul-Las Vegas (a special flight for the Electronics Show in Las Vegas). I had done a cooking class where we made our own gochujang and packed a small bottle. I was pretty sure I’d have to give it up and declared it - didn’t want to loose my Global Entry. I was directed to the agriculture screening at LAS and the agent just wanted to see the small bottle - no label or anything - asked what was in it and then let me keep it.
And agriculture isn’t just an issue crossing international borders. Flying from Melbourne to Hobart in Oz, they are really strict about produce. Getting off the plane there are agriculture agents with big bags collecting all fruits and vegetables and the ag dog actually walks on the baggage belt sniffing each and every bag!
@tomi that’s because Tasmania is such a pristine island state producing some of the cleanest least contaminated food in the world! We want to protect that jewel!
@Crookie I completely understand. Just thought it was great that the dog could walk on the baggage belt. Here in the US the beagles (mostly) just walk through the bag claim area sniffing bags (and your pockets too).
Everyone and every bag arriving on an international flight gets sniff tested in Auckland, too, although it happens after you pick up your bags and are exiting immigration.
First time doing a sit in the US, border guard pulled me into secondary screening, and he almost didn’t let me through. Kept saying it’s a “grey area”. They made me sit and wait about 30 minutes before actually speaking with me… oh the anxiety.
Whilst we are on this topic, have any British passport holders had experiences with entering Japan, particularly for longer than average stays of about 30+ days? US/Oz/NZ/Canada/EU experiences also welcome!
I flew from the US to Spain recently and was prepared to talk about my planned time as a tourist rather than the sitting part. They didn’t say a word though, no questions, just stamped my passport and waved me through. Going in to Canada I almost always get grilled.
We always get grilled coming to the USA, I dread it every time Hey ho. The other place that likes a grilling when I return….Turkey my home - double to that. And we stay away from opening the house sitting chat as we’re nearly always on international sits. So far no issues at all, it’s we’re staying with friends and/or tourists. The Aussie lady that was turned away from the US that someone mentioned earlier on this thread, sent us a very strange warning email out of the blue. But that’s a story for another place
Yes, there are border checks among some U.S. states as well. I’ve road tripped a lot over decades, so the stops are blurry in memory, but the notable ones included stops at the California border, from say Nevada. They were likewise interested at the time in protecting agriculture. Like they’d ask whether we were carrying fresh citrus fruit.
Agriculture is a major concern in many parts of the world. I remember such checks when we visited Australia and New Zealand, for instance.