For Your Safety: Tips for entering, exiting a country — foreign or domestic
After a pleasant flight to a much anticipated holiday (or business) destination, you exit the aircraft hoping for a rapid trip through the airport and a quick nap at your hotel to shake off the jet lag factor! If, by any chance, you have become a person of interest to a fellow “traveler” or the flight crew who may be working for additional “employers,” your surveillance may well not be over.
If you are carrying business documents that a foreign entity would like to have, your possession of said documents may have been telegraphed to factions on the ground at your destination. Your next hurdle may well be Customs!
Especially as a business person, you may be detained at Customs where they temporarily relieve you of your bags, passport, computer and cell phone. Why? That could give other “interested parties” complete access to most all of your important information of a business, and personal, nature.
Depending on the country and situation you may have no choice but to surrender those items to the officials. Do NOT give them the USB drive even though you have relinquished your computer!
Insist that you be allowed to remain with your items, in person, not letting them out of your sight. You should be firm, but polite, with Customs or immigration officials. Don’t forget that they have the power to ruin your trip and/or your life if they so desire.
Upon returning from a trip to Germany years ago, I thought that I might never get back into the United States. I was stopped at Customs and detained for quite awhile while they checked a computer site to determine if my name was on the wanted list. I truly have no idea why they suspected me but I quickly decided to become very friendly if I wanted to get home!
If you feel that you are being unjustly harassed in a foreign land ask the officials who you are dealing with to summon their supervisor or threaten to contact the U.S. Embassy, which frequently does little good.
Keep in mind that you are in their country, under their laws. I remember a man who told a Canadian money changer that he wanted “real good American money, not that crumby Canadian money.” My wife and I subsequently apologized for our rude countryman. Stay safe!
K.H. Kraft has over 40 years of affiliations with intelligence and police organizations. Sources for these articles are decades of personal experience and numerous official manuals.