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  #16  
Old 3 Aug 2010
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Imagine if you were in your own country and you had heavily armed foreigners telling you what you can and can't do. It's no way to carry on.
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  #17  
Old 3 Aug 2010
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I've been on this forum a few years now and the two BIG countries that you want to ride through and are hard to avoid on a RTW are the Peoples Republic of China and the USA. The former still is difficult for political reasons and the USA is catching up fast...


It took a change of government in the UK to beat back Labour's BIG BROTHER state and it's still work in progress.
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  #18  
Old 3 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
...
For future reference, is there no way to be granted a visa for transit BEFORE you head up to the border ?? Especially if you're coming from outside continental North America.
....
There are 36 countries part of the visa waiver program (vwp), the UK is part of it, as is Germany. You can always apply for a business visa ahead of time, which is valid for 10 years (IIRC).

Also, now the new ESTA is in effect:
"quote"
...
ESTA is Required: Effective January 20, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security is transitioning to enforced compliance of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) requirement for VWP travelers. Therefore, VWP travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States.
...
"unquote"

The border crossing from the US into Canada has always been more "detailed" in my 25 years of business travel going back and forth. Coming back to the US (US border guards) was always more pleasant and relaxed in terms of border guard attitudes.

I have crossed the US/Canadian boarder by air, car, motorcycle and on foot countless times. I've done so with a German passport (visitor), US permanent resident card and finally as US Citizen and never have had any issues.

They always "fan" through my passport (usually the pages fill up before passport expires) and comment on my travel frequency. But, nothing negative.

But, that is just my experience...
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Last edited by T.REX63; 4 Aug 2010 at 19:08.
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  #19  
Old 3 Aug 2010
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Visa Waiver Programme....

.... it confuses the hell out of me. Is this mandatory? will it help smooth things over? Is it only for buisness travel? I dont want what happened to the OP (bad luck mate) to happen to me, so I want to be as prepared as possible.

I've looked (several times) at the US embassy website for an explanation, but it just makes my brain hurt. And now the ESTA thing too...? Oh man...

I've just finished jumping through the EPA importation letter hoops and now this!!


(I love Taz ;-)

Can anyone shed some light on this subject or even post a good link to a straight forward website please?
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  #20  
Old 3 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garmei View Post
...

Can anyone shed some light on this subject or even post a good link to a straight forward website please?

Does this help ?
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  #21  
Old 3 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by T.REX63 View Post
Does this help ?
Yes it does! Thank you very much.

It seems to be tailored for travellers arriving by air or sea ports... not sure if this is intended or just an oversight that overland borders are omitted. Hmmm..

I think I'll do it regardless - it is free and could potentially help with convincing an awkward border guard that I'm not a menace to the state!

One of the questions asks for 'address whilst in the USA' (can be hotel address) so I'll have to book a place first then get it submitted. Or maybe find a USA HUBB community to provide an address. Turnaround time is quoted as 72 hours, so this can wait - I'm 6 months away from entering the USA. Hell, I'm 2 months away from beginning my trip!!!

Many thanks
G
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  #22  
Old 3 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garmei View Post
Yes it does! Thank you very much.

It seems to be tailored for travellers arriving by air or sea ports... not sure if this is intended or just an oversight that overland borders are omitted. Hmmm..

I think I'll do it regardless - it is free and could potentially help with convincing an awkward border guard that I'm not a menace to the state!

One of the questions asks for 'address whilst in the USA' (can be hotel address) so I'll have to book a place first then get it submitted. Or maybe find a USA HUBB community to provide an address. Turnaround time is quoted as 72 hours, so this can wait - I'm 6 months away from entering the USA. Hell, I'm 2 months away from beginning my trip!!!

Many thanks
G
I was told it's $545 us, and it takes 4 to 6 months after you apply. Plus you still need to get fingerprinted by your local government and that also costs money and takes some time. Then if everything goes well and you get your waiver, the guards at the border can still refuse to let you in.
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  #23  
Old 3 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by planethopper View Post
I was told it's $545 us, and it takes 4 to 6 months after you apply. Plus you still need to get fingerprinted by your local government and that also costs money and takes some time. Then if everything goes well and you get your waiver, the guards at the border can still refuse to let you in.
Canada is not on the list of countries eligible to apply for a waiver. I assume you are canadian from your location? (check the link provided by TREX63 for a list of eligible countries).

Here is what it says in the 'help'section of the ESTA website regarding fees-

"I have seen other Web sites that are charging money and assisting travelers in applying for their ESTA application. Is there a benefit to using one of these other sites?

Visa Waiver Program travelers should be aware that unauthorized third-parties have established Web sites that charge a fee to provide information about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization and to submit applications on behalf of the Visa Waiver Program traveler. These businesses and Web sites are not endorsed by, associated with, or affiliated in any way with the Department of Homeland Security or the United States Government. The United States Government does not charge a fee to obtain information about, apply for, or obtain travel authorization through the official Web site. Use of a private service to apply for travel authorization will not expedite the granting of approval."

Yup, I understand that the border guard has ultimate say over your entry, but this could just be another tool in your arsenal in case of a difficult border guard - I dont intend on being turned away without a fight at least. So I'm not leaving anything to chance - I'm taking proof of employment back home, a quote from James Cargo for a return freight for my bike, credit cards, proof of money in my account, lucky boxer shorts and some incriminating photos of the border guard. Okay, maybe not the last one!

After all that they better put up a fight, I'll feel a bit cheated if they just wave me through!
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  #24  
Old 3 Aug 2010
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I just got a 5 year B2 visa which means I can stay for up to 6 months each calendar year but it is up to the boarder guards to decide if they want to honour it, it cost me just around $200AUD for it

here's to hoping I can get a 6 month visa in 2 and a half weeks when I arrive in San Fran and head south slowly
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  #25  
Old 4 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olyflyer View Post
I just got a 5 year B2 visa which means I can stay for up to 6 months each calendar year but it is up to the border guards to decide if they want to honour it, it cost me just around $200AUD for it.

Here's to hoping I can get a 6 month visa in 2 and a half weeks when I arrive in San Fran and head south slowly
Have a great time on your travels Oly.

I just wanted to provide a bit of clarificationfor everyone. I worked for Immigration in Australia for 3 years so I have a fairly good understanding of how things operate.

1. A VISA has a validity period (in the above case 5 years) during which you can enter as many times as it states (in this case a multiple entry visa allows unlimited entries. It also states how the maximum period you can stay in the country during each entry.

2. When you arrive in the country you are given an ENTRY PERMIT STAMP. This stamp determines how long you can stay. Technically when you leave the country the entry permit stamp should be cancelled and you should receive a new one when you return to the country, however, the US does not always enforce this for people crossing from the US into Mexico or Canada. You can receive an ENTRY PERMIT STAMP which extends beyond the data of your VISA expiry (e.g. you arrive on the 1st of June and are given a 6 month ENTRY PERMIT STAMP allowing you to stay till the 1st of December even though your VISA expires on the 1st of August).

3. As pointed out above, regardless of the fact that you have a VISA the ultimate discretion is in the hands of the border immigration officer (not the customs officer - they are usually two separate officials). You can still be refused entry even though you have a valid VISA in your passport and the immigration officer can also elect to give you an ENTRY PERMIT STAMP for a much shorter period than your visa states.

The only countries I have visited that I can recall are radically different to the above are Russia and the ex-soviet satellite states. In those countries your visa is linked to the entry permit and you must leave the country on or before the day your visa expires. This is a real pain because in Russia they generally only give a short visa (say valid for 3 months from date of issue) which means that any time spent travelling in other countries, prior to arriving in Russia, cuts into the maximum time you can spend in Russia.
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  #26  
Old 4 Aug 2010
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The USA did get rid of it old political government old GW the Republican and got a new one Obama the Democrat. Almost all of the US government is now controlled by the Democrat party the kinder gentler left of center liberal party. Did not seem to do any good. Under GW I have seen little problems people coming and going in to and out of the USA. Under Obama not so much new EPA regs more people being turned back at the border. All this and we still in 2 land wars over land we do not want oil we did not import for some thing the governments of the lands did not do. I hate being me sometimes. $2 trillion on the rich and who knows how much spent on the wars of my money but I brake an arm and am out of luck. I hate them both.

But back to the OP you can fly over the USA right to Cuba gust to rub it in, you may be able to ship your bike overland to Mexico. I still see no reason that you gave why you can not enter the USA. You may want to call the US state department and ask them or go to the US embassy in Canada The Embassy of the United States of America - Ambassade des �tats Unis . You may want to go west a bit and try to cross there most of the people that have posted they did get to go in to the USA have been on the East coast. Sorry for your problems at the border I wish there was something that can be done but I gust do not know.
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  #27  
Old 4 Aug 2010
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Last year another hubber intending to transit the USA en route to Central Amercia was also refused entry:

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...y-to-usa-45606

Is it an idea to "name and shame" the border crossings where these events are happening?

I can't contibute here myself. In 2000 on my RTW jolly I crossed from Vancouver island by ferry to Port Angeles WA and had no problems. Since then, apart from once, my arrivals in the USA have been at airports which haven't been difficult either.

I did arrive at the Tijuana border from Baja California in early January 2009 on a Nevada registered dirtbike and the border matey-boy only asked for my passport after I inadvertently mentioned I was English and flying from LAX back to GB. Other than that, I probably wouldn't have needed to show any paperwork whatsoever.

I did however have a little run in with the dept of Homeland Security's O FCUK (er I mean.... OFAC). The story is at the bottom on this webpage: Baja California TBSdotCom
Then again it was possibly a ruse used by the fcukers at Halifax Bank of Scotland...

To the OP: Good luck in trying to enter the US. Once you're in, there's lots of great biking and wonderful people.

Chris
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  #28  
Old 4 Aug 2010
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I ve been finger printed and turn back just because I forgot my birth certificate. I get the works including finger printing. The guard goes afterword now you can never do any crime in the usa . ( Unless you re going to steal 2 million or more why bother? ) Yep my record is as shiny as a bald guys head. Got back into my car to find they had open a gallon of oil container and not put the cap back on right. spilled all over. My only sin was was being honest. Are you working no. My advice is lie. Yes I m working. Have a fake letter saying you ve paid the rent on house to show you ve got an address. When asked where you are going say something like Reno for 2 weeks . Have a bank book that's up to date that shows you ve got 5 grand or more .
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  #29  
Old 4 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trying59 View Post
...
My only sin was was being honest. .... My advice is lie.
...
I caution to lie to a CBP Officer. In the days of electronic data and cross-referencing, any CBP Officer has access to a lot of info at their fingertips. Plus, you are NOT dealing with guys & gals who worked last week at a McDonald's either. They are well trained and do nothing but spot people who's stories don't add up. Edit: (...or people who think they are hot shit ) .

You get caught lying and it will be on your record hard & sticky. It will be very tough to get any negative information removed.

If they pull your passport through any of their computer scanners, they know exactly where and when you have entered the US and any comments if you have caused reason for suspicions.

My advise: Be honest and back your story with proper paperwork that's verifiable. If you have nothing to hide, you should be generally OK and they'll let you in. But, as stated before, visa or not, it is ALWAYS up to the CBP Officer to allow or deny entry.

Of course, there are always exceptions, where certain actions by a CBP Officers are not just. But, that's just like anything else in life, when you deal with people in position with power.
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Last edited by T.REX63; 4 Aug 2010 at 18:19.
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  #30  
Old 4 Aug 2010
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Heh heh heh. Me, I always lie--at all borders throughout the world. In particular, I say I've got a job whether I do or not--this is SOP for any traveler. But I never lie about stuff which can be checked, like when I entered or left a country previously. And I always bring the appropriate paperwork, although this doesn't include bank statements or rent receipts.

Usually it's attitude which carries you through borders. Sometimes it's the whims of the particular border agent you happen to encounter....and contrary to the statement above, they are not necessarily highly trained, alert, intelligent and/or interested in doing their assigned job. Sometimes they are ignorant, badly-trained, sleepy and merely moonlighting from their actual careers, which are quite varied (I'm speaking of US border agents here, but this applies elsewhere almost equally). Sometimes, moreover, they are motivated almost purely by the desire to show you who's boss, and in such cases you've got to suck it up and let them do so.

Anyone who thinks that our American visa and visa waiver programs are applied and enforced fairly or efficiently is living in a parallel universe to which I've got no access. The system sucks, and not only does it make us look foolish and inept, but it fails to achieve even its most basic goals while doing so.

I can hear the rant ramping up in my tone, so I think I'll save it and sign off.

Safe journeys!

Mark

(back on American soil for the first time in many months)
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