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Funny experience with slow border control computers


Funny experience with slow border control computers

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Yankee
Yankee
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At an eastern European airport last week (in the EU) where I have travelled for work before, the border guard scanned my passport as usual then looked at her screen and spent ages reading the screen.  This is typical when the officer hasn't seen a SIS alert before - they are reading what to do for a 'discreet' check. I was then given my passport back and let through the electronic door into baggage hall. About 60 seconds later the officer suddenly comes running out of the back of her booth and asks me to return - I had to go back through the door and to the front of the queue, where he colleague then asked me the 2 mandatory questions 'where are you going to' and 'are you travelling alone'. Luckily I was on my own and no one in the queue that I recognised.

I put this down to the officer not reading her instructions properly.

On the return flight, guess what ... exactly the same thing.  Wait, wait, read, read, given the all clear, move through and as heading towards gates young officer comes running to call me back.

As I'm let back through the second time, I rolled my eyes and quietly laugh as I walk to the gates.  A big english guy has seen all of this in the queue, follows me through and sees me with a smile on my face. He jokingly asks me in a big booming voice that everyone else nearby hears ' Wow, mate,  you had them in a real panic... did they find your really big criminal record ha ha ..'

If I had been travelling with a work colleague could have been a really difficult situation.  As it was, a quick one line response killed the conversation 'I guess I should get around to changing my name from Osama'

Moral of the story - be prepared for anything!
Square
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Yankee - 21 Jun 18 4:29 PM
At an eastern European airport last week (in the EU) where I have travelled for work before, the border guard scanned my passport as usual then looked at her screen and spent ages reading the screen.  This is typical when the officer hasn't seen a SIS alert before - they are reading what to do for a 'discreet' check. I was then given my passport back and let through the electronic door into baggage hall. About 60 seconds later the officer suddenly comes running out of the back of her booth and asks me to return - I had to go back through the door and to the front of the queue, where he colleague then asked me the 2 mandatory questions 'where are you going to' and 'are you travelling alone'. Luckily I was on my own and no one in the queue that I recognised.

I put this down to the officer not reading her instructions properly.

On the return flight, guess what ... exactly the same thing.  Wait, wait, read, read, given the all clear, move through and as heading towards gates young officer comes running to call me back.

As I'm let back through the second time, I rolled my eyes and quietly laugh as I walk to the gates.  A big english guy has seen all of this in the queue, follows me through and sees me with a smile on my face. He jokingly asks me in a big booming voice that everyone else nearby hears ' Wow, mate,  you had them in a real panic... did they find your really big criminal record ha ha ..'

If I had been travelling with a work colleague could have been a really difficult situation.  As it was, a quick one line response killed the conversation 'I guess I should get around to changing my name from Osama'

Moral of the story - be prepared for anything!

I am guessing this is because they have to enter a response to the questions that they didn't ask.

I do think that it is important to remember that things like this happen to all sorts of people for all different reasons. I suppose the interesting question is 'what happens to this information?' I know it gets fed back to the issuing country, however, as SIS is a data that is fed to member countries, and the system they use is maintained by them - do they retain a copy permanently? 
Jobe1287
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Hi

So, if my passport is properly scanned which is now the norm, but no questions are asked can I infer that there is no flag appearing on my screen?

I arrived in krakow 2 days ago for a city break, all persons on the plane had proper scans made of their passports, no question was asked to me but the scan took a good 20 seconds as did my wifes.

Last year I went to Italy and it was just a quick flick by the officer , no scan, but as BenS had stated there has been a tightening of protocol ensuring all passports are properly scanned.

Can I assume as no questions were asked that there is no flag on my passport?
Yankee
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Jobe1287 - 23 Jun 18 8:58 AM
HiSo, if my passport is properly scanned which is now the norm, but no questions are asked can I infer that there is no flag appearing on my screen? I arrived in krakow 2 days ago for a city break, all persons on the plane had proper scans made of their passports, no question was asked to me but the scan took a good 20 seconds as did my wifes.Last year I went to Italy and it was just a quick flick by the officer , no scan, but as BenS had stated there has been a tightening of protocol ensuring all passports are properly scanned.Can I assume as no questions were asked that there is no flag on my passport?

Highly likely but not definitive proof..

In my case, something usually flags on their system and they figure out what to do, ask a couple of questions then on my way ..  About 1 in 3 times, they scan, read something quickly on the screen, hand passport back with no questions. I simply put this down to whether the border official has seen an alert before.  If they have, they know it is meant to be discreet.

Ironically, every time I've been through a french airport they see its a UK passport and just wave you through - never scanned! (Eurostar always scans)
Yankee
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Square - 22 Jun 18 8:59 PM
Yankee - 21 Jun 18 4:29 PM
At an eastern European airport last week (in the EU) where I have travelled for work before, the border guard scanned my passport as usual then looked at her screen and spent ages reading the screen.  This is typical when the officer hasn't seen a SIS alert before - they are reading what to do for a 'discreet' check. I was then given my passport back and let through the electronic door into baggage hall. About 60 seconds later the officer suddenly comes running out of the back of her booth and asks me to return - I had to go back through the door and to the front of the queue, where he colleague then asked me the 2 mandatory questions 'where are you going to' and 'are you travelling alone'. Luckily I was on my own and no one in the queue that I recognised.

I put this down to the officer not reading her instructions properly.

On the return flight, guess what ... exactly the same thing.  Wait, wait, read, read, given the all clear, move through and as heading towards gates young officer comes running to call me back.

As I'm let back through the second time, I rolled my eyes and quietly laugh as I walk to the gates.  A big english guy has seen all of this in the queue, follows me through and sees me with a smile on my face. He jokingly asks me in a big booming voice that everyone else nearby hears ' Wow, mate,  you had them in a real panic... did they find your really big criminal record ha ha ..'

If I had been travelling with a work colleague could have been a really difficult situation.  As it was, a quick one line response killed the conversation 'I guess I should get around to changing my name from Osama'

Moral of the story - be prepared for anything!

I am guessing this is because they have to enter a response to the questions that they didn't ask.

I do think that it is important to remember that things like this happen to all sorts of people for all different reasons. I suppose the interesting question is 'what happens to this information?' I know it gets fed back to the issuing country, however, as SIS is a data that is fed to member countries, and the system they use is maintained by them - do they retain a copy permanently? 

two different questions.

firstly, any information they record does find its way back to your PPU - I discovered that when my PPU had lost a notification and called me much later after I had travelled asking why I hadn't told them I had gone to Spain.

secondly, how long does SIS keep a copy?  I don't know the answer to that one and suspect it depends on what form the data takes. If they enter it as an attribute of the alert, it probably disappears off the live system once the alert itself is removed.  If the data is stored against your name, then I don't know what the implications are. All I have read is that data should be archived once an alert no longer active and kept for at least 5 years. Who has access to the archive, when it is searched and by whom ... no clue.
BenS
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As to whether you get asked questions, I find - on the UK side - it depends if you’re travelling alone or with a family member. When returning from a solo foreign trip, I always get the discreet couple of questions. It seems that all the UK passport officers are aware of the procedure - unsurprising, as the UK has done full passport scans for all travellers for years, unlike Schengen countries, which have only introduced mandatory passport scans for EU citizens in the last year or so.

However, when I’m travelling with my wife, when we go together to UK passport control, they almost never ask me questions and simply wave us both through.

Most other EU countries I’ve visited seem to have a strict “one person at a time” rule at passport control - it is strictly forbidden to go up as an adult couple or family group. This also makes it easier for them to do a discreet (or sometimes very indiscreet) check. The UK’s system of “family groups go up together to the passport desk” seems unusual.
Yankee
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BenS - 29 Jun 18 8:34 AM
As to whether you get asked questions, I find - on the UK side - it depends if you’re travelling alone or with a family member. When returning from a solo foreign trip, I always get the discreet couple of questions. It seems that all the UK passport officers are aware of the procedure - unsurprising, as the UK has done full passport scans for all travellers for years, unlike Schengen countries, which have only introduced mandatory passport scans for EU citizens in the last year or so.

However, when I’m travelling with my wife, when we go together to UK passport control, they almost never ask me questions and simply wave us both through.

Most other EU countries I’ve visited seem to have a strict “one person at a time” rule at passport control - it is strictly forbidden to go up as an adult couple or family group. This also makes it easier for them to do a discreet (or sometimes very indiscreet) check. The UK’s system of “family groups go up together to the passport desk” seems unusual.

I agree.

At the foreign desks its usually indiscreet - reading instructions, asking colleagues, flipping through passport pages, asking questions out loud...  

Not always the case but more often than not.


GO


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