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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 16th, 2008, 05:27 AM
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Default How far can you go when it comes to security?

I understand that after the attacks of WTC and Pentagon you (=americans) wants to be extra careful with who you let into your country and I don´t mind to spend some extra time on the airport to be checked since I agree that it´s important but how far can you go?

I recently heared that a Swedish passport that is a little bent can be invalid, =entrance to the US is denied. Isn´t that to go a little too far? I understand that passports with loose pages and/or real damages are invalid but a little bent, come on!!!!

You can have the opinion that if we don´t like what you do, don´t come to america and you are intitled to that opinion but what will happen if the rest of the world get tired on you and that you care about things like bent passports?

What if the European Union decide that we shall be as tough on you like you are on us? Look at your passport, are you sure it´s okej? Are you sure it´s okey when you have travelled with it for some days? Is there any possibilities that it might become a little bent when you have it in your pocket?

Of course you can stop cruising in the mediterranean and the ships can skip places like Cayman Islands, Tortola and Martinique but do we really want that to happen? Wouldn´t it be better if you could treat us like human beings instead of monsters? Remember that most of you descent from Europe!

I guess that both america and Europe for a very long time has treated people from Africa and the Middle East like that so maybe I have no right to complain!
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Old July 16th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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Hi Erik,
I think this particular security person was being overly careful. I agree with you a bend in a passport is not a big deal. Sometimes someone is new on the job or flush with power and goes overboard. I don't think this is the standard for America. Did this happen to you? If so how was it resolved?
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Old July 16th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: How far can you go when it comes to security?

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikhag
I understand that after the attacks of WTC and Pentagon you (=americans) wants to be extra careful with who you let into your country and I don´t mind to spend some extra time on the airport to be checked since I agree that it´s important but how far can you go?

I recently heared that a Swedish passport that is a little bent can be invalid, =entrance to the US is denied. Isn´t that to go a little too far? I understand that passports with loose pages and/or real damages are invalid but a little bent, come on!!!!

You can have the opinion that if we don´t like what you do, don´t come to america and you are intitled to that opinion but what will happen if the rest of the world get tired on you and that you care about things like bent passports?

What if the European Union decide that we shall be as tough on you like you are on us? Look at your passport, are you sure it´s okej? Are you sure it´s okey when you have travelled with it for some days? Is there any possibilities that it might become a little bent when you have it in your pocket?

Of course you can stop cruising in the mediterranean and the ships can skip places like Cayman Islands, Tortola and Martinique but do we really want that to happen? Wouldn´t it be better if you could treat us like human beings instead of monsters? Remember that most of you descent from Europe!

I guess that both america and Europe for a very long time has treated people from Africa and the Middle East like that so maybe I have no right to complain!
Erik:

Granted that there are "incidents" where some immigration official may have been a "jerk". It is also possible that the "bend" may have destroyed the machine readable portion of the passport or the owner of the passport may have also been a "jerk". There is also a real possibility that there is a lot more to the story than we know.

Recently there was a post on the boards where a U.S. citizen was not allowed on a cruise because they didn't have a visa to a place where a visa wasn't required. This was because of an inept immigration official who didn't know the rules.

It is not the practice where a "bend" will deny entry into the U.S. There are so many anecdotal incidents that could be cited by many people. I sat in Gatwick airport for five hours in the early 90's because my appearance had drastically changed from my photo. I had undergone chemo and surgery and no longer had a beard and was 60 lbs. lighter. Some of the British officials were nice and some were basically jerks. I guess I could complain about that but I really can't.

The truth about it is that in any system is that people are involved and people can make errors or they can be overly vigilant or they can be vigilant to the point that they catch things that a machine cannot. Because of this "crap happens". The sad part is when it happens to us or someone we know. The best thing is to handle it calmly and work with the officials as best you can.

Take care,
Mike
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Old July 16th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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We have a cruise booked this fall and it ends in New York (it starts in Dover). This weekend we saw that one of our passports has a little damage on one page and asked the swedish police if we must get a new one for a trip to America and they said yes. They also pointed out that the passport was a little bent and that that also made it invalid when travelling to the US.

I´m not sure if the fact that it was a little bent should have stopped us from entering the US, I guess that depends on the security person that looks at it and that´s the problem. Not very fun to get to the US not knowing if you will let us in!

Of course we will get a new passport, especially with the other damage, so it shall not be a problem but the rule is still silly!
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Old July 16th, 2008, 01:03 PM
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Mike, I agree with you, the best thing is to handle it calmly and work with the officials. But I still think that it´s silly that a bend in a passport MIGHT make it invalid!

I have also had a small issue because my appearance had drastically changed from my photo but it was a long time ago and on a trip within the European Union and all a got was a laugh!
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Old July 16th, 2008, 01:52 PM
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Erik,
Your first post sounded so angry. It was not the decision of those of us on this board to set the rules. I don't think anyone in any country who is your average citizen has much control at all over that kind of thing. And it does not reflect the attitudes or opinions of ALL Americans....or even more than a few in power.
Plus, I am not sure at all about the validity of the opinion given to you to start with. Anyone who travels a lot is not going to be carrying a pristine passport. I know it can be stressful to not know the laws or problems that you may or may not encounter in a foreign country. But, please, don't be mad at us. We didn't choose this. And we certainly did not choose 9/11, which resulted in a tightening of all immigration issues.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 07:43 PM
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well said Marty
Erik, please don't judge all Americans by one incident.
Keep an open mind and heart.
Come enjoy America. Let us welcome you with a smile and a handshake.

thanks
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Old July 17th, 2008, 12:53 AM
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In addition - You said you asked the Swedish Police and THEY advised you
to get a new passport. Perhaps had you gone to the US Embassy - they
would have given you more "official" information. JMO. Get all the facts
and possible solutions before you start bashing the rules.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 11:12 AM
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Folks... the attitudes of our border patrols are commonly a known black eye on America now throughout the world. The treatment at the border is the number one reason why people are NOT visiting the U.S. anymore.

The Travel Industry Assn (TIA) has been lobbying congress to make changes so the process is easier for visitors. Progress has come just lately but it took them two years to even see the problem.

The EU has practically open borders now. Europeans are traveling with ease everywhere, yet when people come to the US they are now subject to having to give 10 fingerprints, have visas and hold onto exit papers to turn in on their return.

Aliens commonly make claims of being held for 5 hours or more just because of silly problems that should be easy to fix.

I have written about this before and got some flack from other posters. I REALLY encourage all Americans to treat foreigners with a special deference. Be kind, friendly and helpful to them. And understand that they may be a little stressed after enduring the process of getting through our border checks.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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Paul, thank you for defending me!

Marty, I have been to the US a few times and I will continue to visit your country even with the tightend security. I don´t say that most americans think that a bend in a passport is a problem but if I stand in the security area on the airport and the person who looks at my passport says that it´s invalid that persons opinion is what counts.

Sherrie, the swedish passpolice don´t care if my passport is bent, they follow the instructions from your authorities. The fact is that the Swedish Police said the the passport might be invalid because that it was bent and thats something your authorities has told them.

You may like me or not but I stil think that it´s silly if a bent passport MIGHT be invalid.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 12:36 PM
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Well, I think most Americans welcome our vistors whether they come from
Europe, Japan or wherever. Perhaps had our borders not been so "open"
and trusting for so long - 9/11 would never have occurred !! Yes, you do
get some border personal that are more zealous or uninformed about the
regulations BUT that is not the norm and when situations like the original
poster experienced - talking to the supervisors is the next and logical
step. Everyone deals with incompetence on a daily basis (regardless of where you may live or do business) - that's what upper managment is for. For many
years, the opposite was true in Europe - border inspection points and
barbed wire and gates - so now that the tables are turned - our Swedish
visitor is complaining??? Maybe the next person in line may have a bomb
straped to their leg - did he consider that?? I now need a passport to
cross into Canada (15 miles from my home) - sure it's a pain in the A--
but that's the way the world is now - DEAL WITH IT - and enjoy your
visit. On a another note: when I travel abroad - it's not SAFE for me to
acknowledge that I am an American - how do you think that makes me
feel??????????
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Old July 17th, 2008, 03:47 PM
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I feel very welcomed in other countries as am American. I don't see any reason to be confrontational.

The woman is right, and it isn't just a few people, it is a well-documented problem many foreign journalists are writing about.

You have to understand our Border Patrol is much harder on foreigners trying to come in than they are to US citizens. I have been attending a regular conference where the US Travel Industry Assn invites hundreds of foreign jounalists to the US every year at great expense, and the biggest topic every year is how the Border Patrol treats them.

I have heard many stories that sound like the old days of Americans trying to get into Russia, "Where are you from, what is your business here, how do you know these people are your friends?" Just plain old harrassment style questioning.

Yes, I am for a strong border patrol, but I say have the tools so you can check people out quickly. Claims of it taking up to five hours to get into the U.S. are common these days.

Go to www.tia.org and tread articles like this:

U.S. Travel Industry Lauds Congress for Action That Improves Security and Sends Welcoming Message to International Visitors
http://www.tia.org/pressmedia/pressrec.asp?Item=851

Or this example:

TRAVEL LEADERS APPLAUD PRESIDENT BUSH FOR SIGNING BILL CALLED ‘MOST SIGNIFICANT TRAVEL REFORM SINCE 9/11. Mar 3, 08

Washington, DC -- Travel leaders today applauded President Bush for signing legislation that contains two provisions that send a more welcoming message to international visitors to the U.S., hailing it as “the most significant travel reform since 9/11.”

The legislation, which addresses recommendations proposed by the 9/11 Commission, contains a provision to strengthen and expand the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This modernization of the VWP will allow more legitimate business and leisure travelers to visit the U.S. visa-free while enhancing security through an air exit tracking system, increased information sharing between nations and other controls.

The legislation also will provide a more efficient and welcoming arrival process at America’s top 20 overseas inbound airports, which welcome 90 percent of all overseas arrivals to the U.S. The program would include enhanced queue management and instructional and welcome videos in the Federal Inspection Services area. In addition, the provision provides for no fewer than 200 additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to help alleviate excessive wait times at these airports. ...

more at TIA web site.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 06:23 PM
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Anyone with a criminal past....even a DUI/DWI, is required to be "deemed rehabilitated" and get approval / VISA from the gov't before being allowed into Canada.

Rehabilitation for Persons Who are Inadmissible to Canada Because of Past Criminal Activity
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/informa...ns/rehabil.asp

The process can take months.

Anyone who is familiar with parts of Canada, Vancouver in particular, knows that they should be the last to preach about secure borders or lax immigration. The Indian/Pakistani population is of particular concern to the locals. One need only to read the local message boards discussing the issue to see how they are despised.

The problem is not limited to the US.

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Old July 17th, 2008, 08:41 PM
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IT is silly, but what burns my butt is my passport is valid for five years and is good until Dec 31, 2008, but because it is not valid for SIX months (it'll be valid for 3.5 months) I have to replace it six months earlier than I should have to. I have a plane ticket that says I am going home Sept 13th. I am sure homeland security knows where I work and that I have a home and financial responsibilities. It peeves me off to know that because my passport expires at the end of this year and not mid March 09 that I could be turned away at customs clearance in Toronto simply because my passport is short 2.5 months of validity.....I have renewed my passport at the cost of $100, but that cost need not have been needed until December of this year as passport renewals are only taking 5-10 business days (mine took five).

If an American can travel with a bent, or in one poster's case, with a hole in it, why can't a bent passport be accepted....The machine readable part is a barcode machine, bent or not, it'll read OK!!!!

One other point to make is that the European UNion has at double or triple times the power, population, and might of the US, the only problem they face is that the EU consists of so many different countries that getting everything coordinated would be a nightmare!!!!!
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Old July 17th, 2008, 09:36 PM
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Yes, I just did an article on why your cruise boarding may be refused and one of them is that your passport expires in less than six months. Seems weird, valid should be valid, like a driver's license, but it isn't. Thats government regulation for you (and not just US govt).
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Old July 17th, 2008, 11:52 PM
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I just renewed my US passport and there are now electronic "chips"
located somewhere within the covers or pages so any type of bending could compromise a person passing through customs or not. I am sure
that electronic chip is NOT exclusive to US passports so perhaps that is
the real reason for the poster from Sweden's problem. I just also want
to say to our visitor from Sweden -" if and when our paths should ever cross
- I would certainly extend my hand in greeting and friendship. My apologies if you were offended. That was not my intent."
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Old July 18th, 2008, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misguidedangel
IT is silly, but what burns my butt is my passport is valid for five years and is good until Dec 31, 2008, but because it is not valid for SIX months (it'll be valid for 3.5 months) I have to replace it six months earlier than I should have to. I have a plane ticket that says I am going home Sept 13th. I am sure homeland security knows where I work and that I have a home and financial responsibilities. It peeves me off to know that because my passport expires at the end of this year and not mid March 09 that I could be turned away at customs clearance in Toronto simply because my passport is short 2.5 months of validity.....I have renewed my passport at the cost of $100, but that cost need not have been needed until December of this year as passport renewals are only taking 5-10 business days (mine took five).

If an American can travel with a bent, or in one poster's case, with a hole in it, why can't a bent passport be accepted....The machine readable part is a barcode machine, bent or not, it'll read OK!!!!

One other point to make is that the European UNion has at double or triple times the power, population, and might of the US, the only problem they face is that the EU consists of so many different countries that getting everything coordinated would be a nightmare!!!!!
Angel:

It isn't just for Canadians and others entering the U.S.. U.S. citizens face the same problem when we travel. We too must renew our passports if they are within six months of expiring, especially if we want to get a visa. Basically, the passport is good for 9.5 years.

Take care,
Mike
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Old July 18th, 2008, 05:45 AM
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The first time I came to the US was 93 and I arrived to New York the day after the bomb in WTC. When I came from Newark in the evening I could see the lights in WTC and it was very strange to see one of the towers with the lights lit all the way to the top and the other had lights on to around the 50th floor (no electricity higher up?), I will never forget that.

It seems like some people took my complain about the bent passport rule very hard and for me it´s not such a big deal but I think the rule is silly anyway. Since nonamericans are allowed to be active on these boards it´s very relevant information that a bent passport MIGHT be invalid for the US because I hadn´t heared about it before and I´m sure that I´m not the only one.

And Sherrie I was offended by what you wrote but I can also apologise if you felt offended by what I wrote. I think that one very imported thing is that none of those involved in 9/11 came from Sweden, in what way is what happened then our fault? I´m sure you are aware about what happened to the woman from Macau when she was denied bording for not having the correct documents when she did had the correct documents! That´s what might happen to me to if I arrive to US with a bent passport and that shouldn´t make me very happy! Sweden has never been as tough to american tourists as you are to us now so the tables are NOT turned.

If our paths should ever cross I would take your hand in greeting and friendship much because you are an American and I just love Americans.

One of the biggest reasons why I feel offended by some of the rules is that they show me that you (=America) don´t love me as much as I love you!
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Old July 18th, 2008, 11:07 AM
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Ah Erik never get confused the goverment makes the rules, not the people. So would I accept your passport with a bent in it of course. Would my government, sounds like the answer to that is "no." So I would recommend a new passport, just to be safe. The same is true of all goverments there is always a rule that makes no sense at all but passes. Also the fear caused by 9/11 makes some people over react at times.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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Erik: Just to clarify - I NEVER stated or implied that you or your fellow countrymen were involved in 9/11- I simply said "what if the next person
standing in line had a bomb strapped to them?? (no nationalities mentioned here) - you know, you can view our rules from another point
of view - they are for YOUR protection as much as mine - so as long as
a person (whether citizen or visitor) has the proper documents and nothing to "hide" - we are all better off. Have a pleasant weekend and
I sincerely hope you have a wonderful visit to the good 'ole USA.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 04:18 PM
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Perhaps if we all close our eyes and click our heels together in unison and say terrorism doesn't exist three times we might get whisked away to somewhere happy, pleasant, peaceful where everyone gets along and no one needs proof of where your from because we're all one big happy family where there is no such thing as religion (other than the power of Me and nature), war and conflicts were settled easily......

Ok, I've left my happy imaginary world. It sucks to travel and they stick it to us any way they can.....
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Old July 18th, 2008, 06:31 PM
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This is what I mean about making outsiders feel welcome. I am sure that if any of us met face to face we would be very friendly, but sometimes online people get defensive, and these days some Americans especially are not good at taking criticism about America from outsiders - online anyway.

I don't personally believe Americans are disliked overseas. I was in Paris a week after 9/11 and people were coming up to us just to say how sorry they were for us. It was really touching.

Maybe Europeans, simply because of their normal way of life of dealing with other nations and languages on a daily basis makes it easier for them to deal with "foreigners" We Americans tend to be less experienced and sometimes a tad defensive about how we think we are being perceived.

I have learned by experience that when abroad, for example, people will be very helpful if you just open yourself up. But being closed down and non-communicative is what leads to misunderstanding.

And while you are right no Swedes bombed the WTC, we do know that the terrorists hid in cells throughout Europe on purpose, and so no nation should be exempt. Some of the 9/11 perps came in through Canada for that matter, and reports have shown Mexico borders should be watched for the same thing.

The other side of the coin, however, is that you have to realistic about the chances of stopping evry or any potential terrorists at the border. Doesn't it seem more likely you are going to find them through surveillance or good police work rather than a border check?

I mean I am for better border checks, but if we can't make our border system work lets not take it out on our visitors. Travel is a HUGE industry, one of the biggest in the world. The fact that we have a terrible economy could certainly be ameliorated by an influx of foreign currency to tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. That's what we have lost out on in the last 7 years.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misguidedangel
Ok, I've left my happy imaginary world. It sucks to travel and they stick it to us any way they can.....
Misguided, why do you this this? It is wonderful to travel. I have traveled all over the world and have almost always been graciously received. Yes, I have paid high fees ($50 to get into Zimbabwe for 3 hours, $150 for Cambodia, and $150 for my new visas to China) but that is each country's right to set the parameters for me visiting their country. No one is sticking a gun to my head and making me pay fees or follow rules; I only do it because I want to see someplace new or revisit a favorite. To live one's whole life without travelling outside your comfort zone is not living.

To say "it sucks to travel" is truly misguided.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter

Maybe Europeans, simply because of their normal way of life of dealing with other nations and languages on a daily basis makes it easier for them to deal with "foreigners" We Americans tend to be less experienced and sometimes a tad defensive about how we think we are being perceived.
It is so strange you would say this when my personal experience is exactly the opposite. What I mean by that is I went to Portugal and all the people were very friendly. However, I found it oddly in Lisbon. Everyone looked the same they were all Portuguese, I kept good for all the other cultures. Where are the asian people, the Hawaiian people, or the Indian people. I didn't see any cultural diversity and that was strange.

I have lived my whole lived in California and within a 5 miles of my house there are Greek, Italy, Mexican, Japanese, Hawaiian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese Restaurants. This is just off the top of my head. California has a lot of cultural diversity. I was a hairstylist for 14 years so yes I did and still do deal with "foreigners" on a daily basis. I'm not sure that can be said for some of the all European nations. However, the same is true of different US states, some states have more diversity then others.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 11:51 PM
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Well, all I can say to this (or rather "quote") is "If America is SO
terrible - then why does eveyone else want in???" spoken by Pres. Ronald Reagan.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 05:58 AM
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It seems like some people still don´t understand my point.

I do understand why you have tighten the security and I don´t mind to wait for a while at the airport for security reasons, I said that in my original post.

What I don´t understand is in what way a bent passport can be a security issue. Can anyone explain that to me?

Of course we will get a new passport and for us this is NOT a big problem but it´s still important that everyone knows that a bent passport can be invalid for entrance to the US.

I can´t understand why some people have to be so angry at me. I love you because you are Americans so I can´t understand why you have to be so angry at me just because I think it´s silly that a bent passport can be a problem.

The main problem is that you can have a passport in perfect condition in your pocket when you take a bus to the airport and for some reason, for example a quick stop, your passport becomes bent! I´m not sure that that situation should make the passport invalid but it MIGHT! MIGHT is the problem! If one person of one million persons is denied entrance to the US because he/she has a bent passport it may not sound like a big problem but if that person is me, or you, it really sucks!

Those of you who think that a bent passport shall be invalid are entitled to that opinion and I respect that you don´t agree with. Those who just say that you do it for your, and mine, safety and I just have to live with it shall read my posts again. I have told you again and again that I have understanding for the things you do to keep America as safe as possibly and I don´t mind the extra time in the security area before I can enter your country. If someone come up with a good explanation in what way a bent passport is a security issue I will apologize to those who feel offended by what I just wrote!
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Old July 19th, 2008, 12:19 PM
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Apparantely you did not read my earlier post about the "electronic chip"
in the passports. A simple bend in the passport could cause the scanning
process to "mis-read" your information and deny your entry into the
country (WHEREVER THAT MAY BE ). I am sure you have been in a store
where the cashier had to scan an item several times before it registered
on the computer or cash register. This is the same concept. Welcome to
the electronic age !!!
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Old July 19th, 2008, 02:42 PM
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Sherrie, I did read your earlier post about the "electronic chip" and I´m sorry, I should have answered that comment from you. I really appreciate that you came up with that possible explanation but we DO NOT have any "electronic chip" in our Swedish passports so that can´t be the reason.

What you wrote about scanning items in a store also make much sence but if an item is impossible to read with the scan after several times, they also have a number they can write in manually and the problem is solved!
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Old July 20th, 2008, 10:03 PM
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On a lighter note Erik, I love your meatballs.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 10:36 PM
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Snoozeman - TOOOOOOOOO Funny !! They are good, aren't they!!
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