US visa-waiver program

Monday, May 29th, 2006

Joi ito has had a few stern looks from the US INS regarding visa waiver forms.

I can relate.

I have a UK passport by virtue of the fact that my father was born in the UK (mostly by accident – another fun story). So I also know about the visa waiver program – it used to cover me too. Until one day I flew into the US briefly, on my own plane, to visit friends in DC as part of a long trip. When we arrived at Dulles, the immigration officer said there was a small problem. The operator of my plane had never signed the visa-waiver treaty, and so despite the fact that I had entered the US 27 times previously on that same passport, without a visa, they would now have to decline me entry.

But before doing that they would:

  • take me in for questioning
  • search me (I objected to the strip search, they relented)
  • fingerprint me and send those fingerprints off around the world (no, Mossad is not looking for me, yet)
  • examine for obvious tattoos and other distinguishing features
  • ask me to sign a statement of wrongdoing (I declined)
  • terminate my visa waiver access – from then on I need a visa

A complication was that, because they did not have records of all the times I left the USA, they believed I had previously stayed for longer than the 90 days. Fortunately I was able to get copies of all my inbound and outbound tickets faxed to them, so I think they eventually came to believe that I had not actually overstayed the visa program ever.
Then they let me back on the plane, we flew to Ottawa, the US embassy kindly gave me a visa, and we returned to the USA.

Now, flying into the USA I am ALWAYS sent off for extra questions and paperwork. And on applying for a new visa, I have to fill out the form for “people with a criminal record” (cross out the criminal record part, write in “visa waiver declined”, I kid you not). It’s a joyless process.

Hello, land of the free, knock knock.

I fell in love with the USA once. It was built on beautiful principles. Alas, it appears to have forsaken those in the name of security and expediency. As a result, I think the world is looking for a new source of inspiration – a new country where the most interesting people of the world can arrive, feel welcome, and feel free. Joi, best you be sure to hand that little green form back, every time.

197 comments:

  1. philipacamaniac says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 12:08 am

    Mark,

    I sincerely apologize on behalf of my fellow Americans and our government’s supposed “anti-terrorism” measures. If it is any consolation, there are many Americans who would love to move anywhere but here (but certainly wouldn’t give up their US citizenship – it still holds too much power).

    I myself am thinking about moving to^F^F^F^F^F^F^F^F^F^F^F (transmission terminated)

  2. Somewhere out there! » Politics for Sale says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 12:17 am

    [...] Politics for Sale in the Land of the Free: In Senate testimony, and then in numerous presentations, Dr. Michaels claimed that the actual pace of global warming was falling far short of Dr. Hansen’s predictions. As evidence, he presented a chart supposedly taken from a 1988 paper written by Dr. Hansen and others, which showed a curve of rising temperatures considerably steeper than the trend that has actually taken place.In fact, the chart Dr. Michaels showed was a fraud – that is, it wasn’t what Dr. Hansen actually predicted. The original paper showed a range of possibilities, and the actual rise in temperature has fallen squarely in the middle of that range. So how did Dr. Michaels make it seem as if Dr. Hansen’s prediction was wildly off? Why, he erased all the lower curves, leaving only the curve that the original paper described as being “on the high side of reality.” [...]

  3. Dinda says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 12:17 am

    :( Bureacracy is the arch-enemy of freedom, creativity, innovation, individualism. . . most good things. About every 500 hundred years or so, the people, good people, take back their leadership and create something new and innocent and wonderous. Perhaps by the next revolution it will not be a new country but a planet awaiting those good people.

    p.s. How can you have time to blog at a time like this? With the impending DD release in just days? Heck I’m nervous just thinking about all the things that might still need to get done before the CDs ship! Best of luck with it all.

  4. Nathan M. Willard says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 1:24 am

    I understand, I am from america but my wife is from Thailand, she happened to overstay her welcome in japan and you would nto believe how long and how much paperwork I had to do to get her a immigration Visa for the United states, they keep changing the rules and adding more stuff to the list of requirements as we were processing the paperwork. Infact I remember going to the embacy for the interview and they sent us home because the night before they added another requirement.

    Ofcourse we endured and now we are finally in the United states, but it is just sad how far down the spiral this country has gone, we no longer are what we endorse.

  5. quixote says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 2:32 am

    Found your site while noodling around on DesktopLinux, learning about and downloading Ubuntu. Um, look, I don’t know how to say this exactly, but, THANKS.

    Of course, it’s really snark that motivated me to comment. You’re wrong about the US stopping people, whether in their own planes or in cattle class, for the sake of security. Security has nothing to do with it. If it did, they might, oh, I don’t know, check a few of the millions of containers coming into the ports. It’s not even expediency, in the normal sense of the word. It’s that odious relation, political expedience.

    I was a young child when my family immigrated to the US. I still remember our first Thansgiving when we were invited over for the traditional feast by a family of perfect strangers. That was the sort of thing people did back then. Now they build fences. The mighty really are fallen, and you’re right that the torch is passing elsewhere.

  6. Brad Johnson says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 2:46 am

    The bigger problem is, in the US, the people who would condemn the process which you had to endure are the very same people who will be first in line to condemn the leader who chose not to put such a process in place if another disaster happens.

    There is no question, the system is broken but I wonder if any system which attempted to keep closer tabs on those entering and leaving the country would remain trouble-free for all? I highly doubt it.

  7. Brandon says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 4:23 am

    I’m Canadian by birth but also carry a UK passport due to my father being born in the UK. Like Mark it was a bit of an accident: his parents were Canadian but were both there for the second world war. As a result he was born in Guildford and I get the red passport. Joy!

    Now get this: I was grilled on entry into Canada when presenting a Canadian passport. It sounds nowhere near as horrible as what you went through, but I was shocked when they asked me to provide proof that I had a flight booked to leave the country. I’m not sure why a Canadian citizen (resident or not) would be required to show something like that. Am I not entitled to be there? The mindlessness of beauracracy astounds.

  8. Jonathan Carter says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 7:09 am

    Sorry to say this, but it kind of makes me feel better to see that the airlines and authorities mess with rich people too :) (and it makes me even happy to see someone of your caliber speaking so boldly against the ‘system’)

    “I think the world is looking for a new source of inspiration – a new country where the most interesting people of the world can arrive, feel welcome, and feel free.”

    I feel like that way everytime I come back to Cape Town, it might just be because it’s where I call home, but I love it here (it’s just the Internet connectivity that really sucks here).

  9. Going Gentle says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 10:30 am

    The degree of bureaucracy preventing people from crossing borders is just shocking. The biometrics are bad enough, but when you factor in that you’re not allowed to enter the country if you’re HIV+, as I am, so you have to lie and risk deportation if you’re found out – it’s enough of a disincentive to keep me away from America, despite the many good things there. It’s sad that America now feels so tarnished.

  10. Richard Kleeman says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 11:06 am

    I can relate to this- was on the waiver program applying for a greencard and had to get special permission to leave the US (ten pages of paper work). Once on reentry at Denver they were going to keep the paperwork. When I insisted on them returning it they freaked out and told me that it was only on their say so that I would get into the country (code: shut up dumb foreigner). After this followed a thorough grilling and finger printing. I now have a green card and the contrast on entry is immense. Its just like a credit card swipe.

    Mind you I had an absolutely horrendous experience getting into France last week at CDG. There was a HUGE queue at 6am and the French decided to put 5 EU citizen gates and 1 Non EU citizen gate in place. The line at the latter was about 0.5 mile in length. Needless to say my family and 100s of other non EU citizens missed their connecting flights. Coming back I also missed my connection. Avoid CDG at all costs!

  11. amd-linux says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 11:21 am

    Another proof that the 9/11 terrorists have reached their goal. They will win if we give up freedom and justice because of fear. Just think about the Guantanamo camp.

    The US are on their knees – and not everybody there seems to have realized that.

  12. francois says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 11:51 am

    Please don’t tell them you also know a terrorist called Linux …

    http://shelleytherepublican.com/2006/04/20/linux-a-european-threat-to-our-computers-by-tristan.aspx

  13. Thomas Hood says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    One of the inspiring countries that springs to mind, of course, is South Africa. :)

  14. derek says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 9:04 pm

    I think that the silver lining here is that stuff like this always keeps us humble, weather its a stuborn cashier at the bank or the U.S. customs we all know the frustration that you are talking about some what! And any one who doesn’t isn’t human!

  15. craig says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2006 at 9:14 pm

    A few years ago I was arrested when returning to South Africa because I had used my SA passport to leave the country and my UK passport for the rest of my travels. The customs official couldn’t understand why my SA passport had a departure stamp but no arrival stamp. As soon as I produced my UK passport to prove that I hadn’t been in the air for 2 weeks I was taken away. Dealing with the bureacracy and stupidity was one thing, what boiled my blood was being accused of betraying my country and being unpatriotic because I had refused to give up my UK passport. The SA government is also considering legislating that dual-passport citizens become SA passport only or risk losing their SA citizenship.

  16. Dean Shankle says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2006 at 12:13 am

    Fear is a terrible thing… I once heard someone say that “fear is sand in the machinery of life” (there is probably some high tech equivalent but I’ll leave that to someone else :)).

    Historically, we Americans have had fairly short memories, so I have hope that things will, little by little, get back to normal.

    In my opinion, it is extremely important that we continue to use such things as blogs and worldwide online communities to keep the channels of communications open. Understanding helps elimate fear.

  17. Hans-Juergen says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2006 at 11:21 am

    Folks,

    I encountered similar problem when i travelled to the US with my 4 month old twins. Even for small kids you have to fill out this form that they did not receive training for nuclear weapons. In addition to that US bastards let us wait at -10 celsius in front of US embassy in Amsterdam (WITH BABIES !!!!).

    Since that time i HATE US people more than anything else on the planet. I never was against the US but meanwhile I think we should provide them some insane asylums to treat their mentally handicapped regime.

  18. misto’s blog » Blog Archive » Auch Multimillionäre habens nicht leicht, says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    [...] wenn sie nicht Amerikaner sind und trotzdem ins Land möchten. Mark Shuttleworth beschreibt in seinem Blog wie man ihn bei der Einreise (mit dem eigenen Flugzeug!) behandelt hat. Echt krass. Ich möchte ja nicht wissen wie es dann “normalen” Leuten ergehen kann… besonders wenn man dann noch Linux-Fan ist. Oder habt ihr nicht gewusst, dass Linux eine “europäische Bedrohung der amerikanischen Computer” ist? (Sorry, dass ich das nochmals ausgrabe, aber ist einfach zu witzig ) fun mitmenschen nervig security [...]

  19. somecanuckchick says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2006 at 3:29 pm

    I suggest hiring a lawyer…

    I also suggest going to various new agencies, members of parliament, etc. to call attention to this story… and likely others like it.

    /2¢

  20. somecanuckchick says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    I suggest hiring a lawyer…

    I also suggest going to various news agencies, members of parliament, etc. to call attention to this story… and likely others like it.

    /2¢

  21. HUb says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    Manual trackback: http://www.figuiere.net/hub/blog/?2006/05/30/412-visa-waiver

    Mark, next time you go through Ottawa, gimme a call :-)

  22. sandis says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    You might find some of the last 2600′s shows interesting. Some time ago they went to Cuba, which is supposedly illegal if you happen to be American. Link – http://www.2600.com/news/view/article/2644

  23. Harry says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2006 at 10:14 pm

    “As a result, I think the world is looking for a new source of inspiration – a new country where the most interesting people of the world can arrive, feel welcome, and feel free”

    How complex (in real life) are security procedures for EU citizens – short time visitors arriving to SA?
    I have 10-year visa for US, but so called “security procedures” are getting more and more annoying, being totally stupid from the very beginning. Thanks God I have never (yet) experienced something this awful as Mark… but anyway. If there would be good IT conferences like Interop in SA, I would probably better go there, not to US. Yes, I know there are two Interops outside US – in Tokyo and Moscow – but these two places look not very attractive to me.

  24. Harry says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    In addition… Quick search on website of our Ministry of Foreign affairs revealed that I can go without visa to more than 70 countries, but unfortunately South Africa is not among them. (I do not need visa to visit New Zealand up to 3 months…) Sorry, Mark… world cannot arrive, only some small subset maybe… Seems that I will have to attend Interop again in US anyway.

    Harry in Riga, Latvia, European Union

  25. Zee says: (permalink)
    June 1st, 2006 at 4:59 am

    Sounds a lot like my experience of a few years ago, minus the private plane part ;)

    I was entering the US from Australia on a Visa Waiver, for the second time after having only left US soil a few weeks prior. Unsurprisingly, it raised an eyebrow of the immigration officer who ordered me over to “2nd inspection”, fair enough I suppose. I was detained and grilled at 2nd inspection for some 3 or so hours continually being threatened to be “sent home”. I wasn’t fingerprinted, but I was searched (not strip), had all my luggage searched, and was eventually relocated to a holding area where everything I was carrying was taken from me. I had to remove all jewelry, watches, shoelaces etc. and was told to sit and wait for my plane home.

    Shortly after, I was hand-cuffed, relocated to yet another area at LAX, and was told to sit and wait once more. After numerous phone calls, I was eventually granted the waiver, but was told before leaving “you’re done with the visa waiver, next time have your papers with you”.

    I haven’t since returned to the U.S., but am somewhat concerned as to how my next experience will be. I’m not even sure if I’m allowed to enter the U.S. under the waiver program anymore. From your account, Mark, it sounds like it will be both interesting, frustrating and time consuming.

  26. Fabian Mandelbaum says: (permalink)
    June 2nd, 2006 at 12:41 am

    One more thing for many people NOT to go to the USA. This “you are all terrorists until proof denying it” goes against the very same principles justice all over the world holds: a priori, one is innocent.

    I don’t believe the USA hasn’t the means to find out all the terrorists they _really_ want/need to find (haven’t you think for 1 minute about the possibilities of a real-time Google-map like system? don’t you think a – very powerful – country hasn’t the means to develop/use such a system? FYI: my paranoia is near zero), so I don’t think it’s fair for the rest of the people wanting to visit (read: tourists leave money on the country they go to, which contributes, if indirectly, to the country’s richness and well being) the USA to be treated like a terrorist.

    I wonder what would happen if the rest of the governments of the world start treating the USA citizens the same way the USA treats us non-USA citizens, which would be *fair* by all means – or are you going to tell me that you (USA citizen) are a different kind of human being than me?, but would certainly be a PITA for USA citizens, thus making them realize how wrong their government is, and maybe protesting against this kind of policies.

    On one hand “we all share the same small planet”, on the other… we (non-USA citizens) are all terrorists… or at least treated like if we were… on my book this behaviour of the USA government is plain nonsense and non-justice.

  27. Christian Herzog says: (permalink)
    June 2nd, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    One day it will be easier to travel to the ISS then to the USA….
    :-)

  28. someone says: (permalink)
    June 10th, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    This is getting worse…
    at least you weren’t tortured. See this story:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/arar/arar_statement.html

  29. AdrianTM says: (permalink)
    June 10th, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    The idiots renewed Mohamed Atta’s visa 6 months after 9/11.. what can you expect from them?

  30. mayorjimmy says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 12:40 am

    You know, i see a lot of complaining here and no suggestions on how to make things better. Isn’t that just typical.

    Crying over too much security? I remember back when asking if you packed your own bags was a big headache for airline travelers. Suddenly, one terrorist attack later and everyone cried “why didn’t the government do anything to stop this?”

    A new country to feel free? Ok sure, go ahead and give me some suggestions. come on, it shouldn’t be that hard. there has to be TONS of countries that people are waiting years to get into. France has been on a high horse, i’m sure they have people willing to walk thru a hot desert to work crap jobs just to be there. No?? Hmmm…. well how about Canada? People are giving themselves into indentured servitude to be packed into a shipping container aboard a boat just to get into Canada right? No? I’ll be damned….. How about the UK? Or Germany? People are swimming shark infested waters or sailing boats made from crates and cardboard to get to THOSE countries aren’t they? WHAT??? You mean these all these countries don’t have the same issues that America does? How could that be? I thought the world was looking for a new source of inspiration.

    When you find this new magical land where everyone can come and go as they please and NOBODY ever does anything wrong and security isn’t needed you let me know.

  31. Looks Like You Messed UP says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 12:44 am

    Yea,

    Hate America because you felt you could just stop in your “personal jet”.

    You should be mad at the operator of “your” plane because they never signed the visa-waiver treaty.

    If you don’t like the rules, hey don’t come back.. we won’t miss you.

  32. rss says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 12:44 am

    Haha, welcome to the big-bad-world of visas. I have, by virtue of birth, a Kenyan passport. I own and run an extremely well respected and famous (top 3) network hardware business in the US. Coupled with the fact that I’m of Indian heritage and never bothered to get a green card, I STILL get stopped and taken aside “randomly”. (Not so random when it happens every time). This is in-spite of having a US business/entre. visa.

    On more than one occasion the IO has doubted my credentials and its meant getting a faxed statement by the secretary to the board of directors to prove I actually am who I say I am. the US immigration system sucks. It surprises me how much power seemingly (some) neanderthall IO have.

    In contrast, I need a visa to enter the UK. I have a 5 year working visa at the moment and I’m often through in

  33. Mal says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 12:46 am

    The problem is they are too paranoid. Travellers are automatically assumed to be criminals, so you have to hand over all sorts of personal information and even be finger printed just to enter under normal conditions. If you do *anything* wrong that results in your record in their database being flagged (even something really small) and they will make your life hell on each visit. I am personally avoiding the place unless I really need to go there, I don’t want my biometric details in their database.

  34. John says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 12:54 am

    ” The operator of my plane had never signed the visa-waiver treaty…” Guess making sure that the paperwork is done correctly is not something that you need to worry about? In my limited travels I make sure that I have the right paperwork. I suggest that you take care of the details next time.

  35. USAKid says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:01 am

    Screw Bush, all of this airport stuff is just for show and to make people in the US feel safer, and everyone knows it.

    3 more years of the worst president ever.

  36. Bob Knight says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:05 am

    Come to the US across the Rio Grande, there’s a spot, where you will not even get you back side wet.

  37. somebody says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:08 am

    Stop whining…you rich prick! You get to fly to our space station and you are still whining…geez, the rich never stop. You think you deserve everything…give me a break.

  38. JP says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:21 am

    In reading this, I have to make a few assumptions. First, the “rules” are always interpreted differently. Second, I can’t imagine this is the “whole” story since I would imagine that you made an enemy somewhere and they have power over you. Third, these things can always be “repaired” by simply working with DHS officials.
    You live and you learn…always get your passport stamped when LEAVING a country. Always. And never take anything for granted. You’ll be sorry when it’s gone.

    For what it’s worth…I have the same problem going to Canada.

  39. What A CoinKiDink says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:22 am

    I’m sorry to hear about your story. I’ve had the same, not-too-friendly treatment at the border this morning. Turned away because of “unclear intent”. I guess that having a more complicated story then what can fit in a form is above the competency of these frustrated grunts. Another fellow that evening was turned away because his waiver and his ID had an “S” difference.

    I will forever remember the humiliation of fingerprinting and having my picture taken, messing up my plans and that of many others.

    I can’t imagine that treating foreigners this way will endevor the world to the USA. Now that I see it’s a common occurence, it is obvious which nation is the loser of trade, commerce and education.

  40. Jim D says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:24 am

    Boo farking-hoo, you got hassled a little an an airport. So much for sacrificing for your country. Freedom isn’t free brother. While our soldiers are making the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan, you whine about a little inconvenience after an international flight. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

    Man, Americans have turned into selfish little bastards. Well Mark, you’ve made your huge sacrifice, a la the Greatest Generation. You may go back to your oblivious, all-about-you, whiny, blame-America first existence now.

    As for you whiny Euros, yeah, well when your countries come anywhere close to our 1st and 4th Amendment protections, then talk smack. Until then, STFU. Travelling to another country is a privilege, not a right.

  41. Ward Larson says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:28 am

    Haha, good ol’ power-tripping psuedo-democracy… gets ya every time.

  42. macewan says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:29 am

    please remember folks that American feel horrible about what this administration has done with America *except those that watch Fox*

    we want just as badly as the rest of the world for Bush to hurry and leave office

  43. Jeff Elkins says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:30 am

    As a US citizen, military veteran and happy Kubuntu user, I apologize.

    Best regards,

    Jeff Elkins

  44. Doug @ Straw Dogs says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:33 am

    And the US is suprised the world hates them.

  45. Christian Williamson says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:42 am

    Sorry dude.

    Thanks for all you do i appreciate it. I’m going to email my representatives in the house and senate a link to your blog. Of all people the work you do helps a lot of people here in the USA. I sincerely apologize on behalf of the state agencies my taxes pay for that caused you such a hassle dude.

  46. Jed says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:43 am

    I too offer my appoligies on behalf of the USA.
    Unfortunatly the ‘powers to be’ in the country no longer reflect the mind-state of it’s people. A very sad day indeed. Unless this administration get’s a reality check or a new one steps up, I believe you are right, the Torch is and will continue to pass to another country.

    Once again, I am very sorry.

  47. Prisoner of the state says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:43 am

    The war on terrorism is a huge farce to coverup giving the executive branch of the government absolute control over everything. Basically dictatorship wrapped in a flag of freedom.

    They’ve spent enough money on their wars to build 144 world trade centers and killed 40 times the people that died on 9/11. This is only the beginning. Violence will only create more violence. Bush and his gang know it and those that supply the war are laughing all the way to the bank.

    I really wonder what would have happened if the terrorists on 9/11 were Chinese….would we be invading China?

  48. Kevin says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:44 am

    The INS requires that all foreigners mail in an I90 (I think) form upon exit of the country. That way they know that you did in fact leave the country when you were supposed to. So if customs never received this form from you after granting you passage into the US, you’ve broken the law. As stupid as it sounds, thats the way it works. This rule wasn’t put in place to make sure UK citizens leave when they are supposed to, which is why you weren’t given a difficult time about it before. It was put in place to control the massive influx of immigrants from areas like S America who apply for tourist visa’s but never intend to leave the country.

    Now, as a side note, every country has a visa program where things like this are monitored and controlled. The UK and EU included. If you overstay your visa, you’ve broken the law. Please don’t piss all over America just because you think you’re above the rules flying around in your private aircraft.

  49. Matthias says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:48 am

    Mark, I empathise with you on this one. Each time I travel (so far within the US, Canada, EU, even Hong Kong), they scan my passport and immediately an armed guard takes me to an interrogation room. Then they proceed to bombard me with questions (often strange and always irrelevant) for between one and four hours and then let me go. This has happened over a dozen times, and has included them requesting I phone my office, university, relatives, and friends while they listen in, and even ask questions themselves. Once I have satisfied their curiosity (and I have always cooperated in full) they have let me go, and even made up for lost connections by putting me in first class.
    Not once has anyone diverged why my passport has flagged up. I am both an Irish and Norther Ireland (UK) passport holder and am 21 years old (look more like 17) and for some reason there must be a note when they scan my passport. I guess this will be my fate when I enter airports forever after.

  50. Rationalist says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:53 am

    Depressing enough to watch us from the outside, choking on our own vomit.

    Imagine what it is like to live in this country and watch it eat its own soul.

    This is the second time it’s happened to me, for whatever that’s worth. Though American-born, I grew up in Israel and watched it decay from a beacon of democracy and hope, humanely reluctant in circumstantial occupation, into an apartheid monstrosity, an empty muscle-bound husk, going through the obscene motions of nationhood on the burdened backs of Palestinian babies.

    Now, I watch this America I escaped back to to try and raise decent children in a decent world, watch America as it slides inexorably from the city on a hill it never was but always imagined it could be, to a shadow afraid of its own self, grinding hope and compassion and community into monetized ash, sifted and sanctified by Theocratic hacks before being spewed through smokestack estates so that it can be mainlined into the lungs and minds of dutiful Red-State salarymen who speed still-obese on their corporate treadmills to premature fatal strokes while orgasming on Murdoch’s smart-bomb unreality TV.

    Imagine what it is like to live in your own country and watch it eat its own soul.

  51. Bob Smith says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 2:17 am

    Fabian you’re right, it is nonsense. While I’d hate to see any more hateful acts leaving many dead, I’d prefer to see our government shape up and quit being the young bully that it is and perhaps prevent 10 times as many violent acts.

    Even as a US citizen travelling within the country, the security people treat you like shit. They’re given positions of power/security and they act like assholes. Wow. And they earn relatively small wages compared with those of us that can afford to fly, yet we’re treated like the yahoos. You can try all you want to be friendly with them, but it’s never any use. Again, even if your english is perfectly perfect and you look like an American, they’d rather catch a terrorist.

    I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in the mess of travelling from country to country to country like that. I’ve travelled across borders one way and back, but I’ve never hopped around. AGH, I’m cringing.

    I’m also sorry on America’s behalf. Hopefully this either changes or badly blows up in the faces of the agencies and that of the government as well.

  52. Matthew Walster says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 2:22 am

    I sympathise with you, Mark. On entering the US to do some flying training (which requires an M2 visa…) I was treated like a criminal – and the complaints I heard from passengers on visa-waiver were enlightening too – The Florida customs officers were rude, sneered at us, and I hated every minute of that process.

    Flying to California though… What a change! At KLAX, they were not just kind, they were helpful, and went out of their way to smile and talk to you – even the man with the sniffer dog looked happy instead of thinking we were all terrorists.

    At the end of the day – Americans are generally great people, the country is beautiful, but the legal system and the “security” they impose is ridiculous – we actually have tighter controls in the UK, yet I don’t feel as watched as when in the US. And yes, I know, the UK has more cameras than anywhere else, but I always get the feeling that if I park facing the wrong way around I’ll be sent to Gitmo…

    Mark – if you ever visit Finland, make sure to fly into Malmi or Vantaa – if you’re an EU citizen, and flying a private aeroplane, you’re given VIP treatment, it’s excellent ;)

    Oh – and blogland, watch me on Assemblytv (.net) 3rd-6th August, I’ll be doing a segment on Ubuntu on the nationwide TV segment at some point!

  53. Hans Jahr says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 2:25 am

    Welcome to Canada (Ottawa). Come as often as you want. Stay as long as you like. We havn’t jumped on the bandwagon yet! Keep up the good work on (K)Ubuntu… the world is watching.

  54. Jim says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 2:47 am

    Freedom for security indeed.

    This form of “freedom at gunpoint” is being extended deeply into technology as well. For this reason I look forward to eventually permanently migrating to Linux. However, I can already see Linux too will soon be infiltrated with TPM, device drivers, bios, hardwared trojans and DRM. I believe RMS is correct with his reasoning for GPL3– and I hope Linus revisits his decision soon or else my young love affair will be short.

    Mark, I thank you for your wonderful work with Ubuntu (my first crack at Linux) and for remembering you are one of us. You are truly an inspiration.

  55. Tony says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:02 am

    RE: first post… I cannot believe people are apologizing for heightened security. Who Mark is should not make any difference.

  56. Matt says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:04 am

    Oh come on, don’t be such a wuss. Everyone has had a hassle at the airport before, no need to make a huge deal about it.

  57. jameson says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:11 am

    Oh poor rich boy, inconvenienced in his private jet! The indignity of it all! Why, I’m moving to North Korea to escape this fascist regime that inconveniences rich people in private planes!

  58. Josh’s Blog » Blog Archive » Digg: Mark Shuttleworth almost strip searched by US customs says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:17 am

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  59. DJFelix says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:26 am

    I can see where you feel “inconvenienced” by our tightened rules, but as an American, I’m glad you’re being hassled. You see … there was this small group of muslims, with overlooked visa problems, that decided to kill a few thousand of my fellow Americans one day after. Ever since then, we have become a lot more cautious about sorting out visa problems. You may think it’s a hassle, and you may think you don’t deserve it, but that’s just tough shit. If you don’t like it, don’t come here. The people in Mexico are literally dying trying to come over here, but if filling out some extra paperwork, and answering some questions it just too much for you, leave your whiny European/UK ass at home. Cheers mate!

  60. Ryan says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:29 am

    Maybe they think Ubuntu is a weapon of mass destruction.

  61. james says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:30 am

    hmm i can relate, i am from australia, which incidentaly our prime minister is george w’s biggest lapdog… but anyways i have married an american woman… apparently this makes me a threat to american safety, i cannot imagine how people of middle easter decent get treated because i am blonde haired blue eyed, but anyways my wife and i were married in california and went to mexico for our honeymoon, when we flew back into the country i experienced the same thing as mark… imagine how my wife was feeling watching me being hauled away and detained eventually i was let go after FIVE hours… it was humiliating and i too refused to admit anything or sign anything, the immigration officials had no problem trumping up charges and accusations based on nothing at all other than i entered the usa, left for 10 days and came back.

    i have been told that i no longer can fly on the visa waiver program and get pulled aside for several hours every time i enter, although my wife is pretty much hating her country these days with the treatment that i recieve every time we try to visit her family she is transfering her citizenship to australian as soon as possible as she knows that american citizenship is a door closer in many countries these days…

    hmm bruce springstein has a great song called “devils and dust” which describes america’s climate so well right now

  62. Mark Shuttleworth almost strip searched by US customs - The Digg Effect - Search for Diggs or get Dugg says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:42 am

    [...] When Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth recently traveled to the US, he was declined entry and almost strip searched! (He refused, and they relented). Furthermore, he now has to fill out a visa application form for “people with a criminal record” every time he wishes to travel to the US.read more | digg story [...]

  63. Scott Dier says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:45 am

    Note to those feeling like it’d be fun to complain at CDG or other foreign airpot about the ‘service’. It’s probally a great way to be denied entry and sent home — remember, they do this so that a few American ‘idiots’ get cranked out about their policy and are sent on their way. Just take it in stride (and plan ahead) and its not a huge deal. Vote better next time (or at least spend some time this election and next doing get out the vote efforts, minimally — find your local candidates and they’d probally be happy to have you for a day or two! really!)

  64. Shai says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:47 am

    I agree, the young generation in the US has become a generation of cowards that think Fox news is trust worthy and the principals on which the goverment was founded are worth bending for security. They don’t deserve being the only super power and they are losing this position simply by being cowards. I used to look up to the ideals of the US thinking that they value freedom and privacy and would not easily give these things up because of a small risk to their person, but turns out that the only reason that they spoke so high and mighty was because their enemies were in another continent.

  65. IgMan says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:47 am

    I smell a conspiracy. I think it was a Microsoft guy impersonating a Customs officer or Microsoft tipped off the US Customs….it has something to do with Linux. You are dipping into Bill Gates profits and domination…. Just kidding.

    It is sad that in the name of Security some people seem to abuse their power. Unfortunately common sense, human dignity seems to have vanished from the ‘guardians’ into this country. I am running into a lot more self-centered and ruthless people more and more. Fortunaley there a lot more good people in this country that keeps me going. I am sorry you had to endure one of the ugly ones. Trust me I have run into them myself because some of us look ‘foreign’ regardless of citizenship. Don’t give up hope.

    Good luck on your next trip here to the US.

  66. Chris says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:49 am

    You’re complaining just because you were almost strip searched? Just because you market Ubuntu doesn’t mean you get immunity!

  67. Kelley Chambers says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 4:34 am

    Hi Mark,

    As a dual citizen of the US and Canada, I can both emphathize and sympathize with what you’ve gone through. It’s such a shame that one simple piece of colored paper can completely taint the view of an entire country, forever. What I don’t understand is why the US is so damned lienent on those who are scurry across our borders completely illegally yet so unthoughtful and down right rude to thosem such as yourself, who play by the rules and always have!!!???!!

    I’m very sorry, Mark. I think you’re completely right. This world is seeking a refreshing, lively, welcoming country to breathe life back into our souls. America hasn’t for a long time been the light at the end of the tunnel and we continue to extinguish our own flame everyday. Sad, isn’t it?

  68. Rick says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 4:39 am

    I, for one, feel incredibly safe knowing that the powers that be have their big eye on you to prevent any shenanigans.

    Now please excuse me. I’m waiting for my pistol whipping.

  69. ripi$money says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 4:40 am

    Well, I do suppose the US authorities want to make it look like they are good at making entry to the country difficult. Here’s a suggestion: Next time, just come in through the US-Mexico Border…

  70. X_UK says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 5:09 am

    I’m just glad i don’t have to live in the craphole that is known as the USA. I can’t believe the kinds of things the Government is getting away with over there and a lot of the nutcases (majority being republicans/conservatives) support the Government.

    I feel sorry for the sane Americans who are stuck in the middle of all this and have to live in that country.

  71. noobdy says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 5:14 am

    I feel for you. My green card was stolen, so every time (1x a month a least) I cross the us border I go thru with this. To make matters worse Canada is now cracking down on people who have been to ASIA so now every time I go between Canada & the United States I can expect to spend about 12-36 hours of interogation for my 2 hour flight. :| Remember all those people who go on about freedoms? Where are they now?

  72. Clinton Goveas says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 5:37 am

    There are many countries currently offering more freedom & opportunities than the USA. One just needs to lift one’s head out of the “Land of the Free” bucket, and look around.

  73. Dance Like a White Guy! at JimmyGoon’s Ramblings says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 5:48 am

    [...] How to Dance like a “White Guy” [...]

  74. Anonymous says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 5:51 am

    I (EU national) have friends in the States I’d like to visit again, and have been wanting to do so for years now. The first time I went to the States customs and airport was normal. The country was, more or less, trudging along and it was a joyful experience.

    Right now not only I am very annoyed at the kafkian airport plays, but I dare not express publicly my opinion on the current government and situation due to fear of dreadful “consequences” when plant my foot on US soil.

    Here’s a hint, BTW. In my country if (or when…) the damn metal detector goes off and its obviously because of your shoes, do not tell the guy it must be them. Tell them you aren’t carrying anything else. If he’s nice he’ll use the wand. If you do tell him it must be the shoes he will have to tell you to take them off and xray them.

  75. MARTIN SULISTIO says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 6:27 am

    Hi, I see that those idiots at the airport get to you too. I’m a student from Indonesia and yes, I have to go to the 2ndary inspection area in LA, having to wait for 3 hours while those morons are doing god knows what. The time varies now and then, from 20 minutes to again, 3 hours because they cant logon to the computer (ITS TRUE, ONE OF THOSE IDIOT DONT KNOW HOW TO LOGON) or the system is down etc. etc.

  76. Wendy O. Williams says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 6:34 am

    Welcome to the United States Socialist Republic.
    Please bend over while Pat Robertson and George Bush ream out your anal cavity.

  77. James Armstrong says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 7:34 am

    As a result, I think the world is looking for a new source of inspiration – a new country where the _most interesting people of the world_ can arrive, feel welcome, and feel free.

    Gee Mark, did you try yelling “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? MARK SHUTTLEWORTH! ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!”
    Don’t next time.

  78. Fred McDonald says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 7:50 am

    “a new country where the most interesting people of the world can arrive, feel welcome, and feel free. ”
    Dubai anyone? Open minded, progressive and lots of flat space for runways.

  79. Thom Ackley says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 7:51 am

    Hey Mark, sorry to hear you’ve experienced how backward, outdated, and paranoid our immigration system is. I myself, a US citizen, born and raised here, have gotten detained several times coming back into the US. Perhaps thats why so many Americans don’t like to leave ;) Its my damned country, and they’re doing the same thing to me. So don’t feel TOO bad ;)

  80. VEGA says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 8:24 am

    America … still a great place to raise sheep.

  81. TerroristBush says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 8:28 am

    I myself live in the USA and everything I read online as well as a few experiences I have had are making me quite mad with my country. I do think there is a high level of corruption taking place, more than ever has taken place prior. I think many of the US citizens are great people, just some of the government agencies are evil. I don’t blame many countries for getting angry at the US, and as far as terrorism goes, I wish the terrorists wouldn’t hurt the US people, but rather carry out the acts on the government agencies that are causing unnceccessary troubles. 9/11… some say that may have been not Iraq, but rather within the country for reasons to start wars along with spending ridiculous amounts of tax payers money. If there are other countries angry at the US, I say attack the white house or the ones who are deserving to be attacked. Lets see some assassins, not mass killings of innocent people. I think change needs to happen, technology has changed so much, why not the government. Reason why is because the corrupt individuals have found loopholes in the system and are exploiting it like a computer hacker exploiting a MS windows PC.

  82. berni says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 10:19 am

    I travelled to the US last year shooting a documentary for TV.

    At LAX I lost my line producer to immigration (sent home for some misdemeaner performed at university in 1985) and half my equipment.

    From mexico to NY mexicana airlines lost the rest of my equipment and underpants (except for the last camera and a battery which I carry on board in case of just such an emergency).

    Furthermore my host and I were left standing at 3am on Bleeker street (with itchy groin by now) because the comissionair of the building we were booked into wouldn’t put any effort into finding the reservation.

    At daylight we walked down central ave when bang! some dude shoots his girlfrend in a nail salon!

    Then outside ground zero on 9-11 (2 days later) the firies with their still running high grief, truly frightened us with their hooning down the street and chanting into their megaphones!!!

    Stuff happens, sometimes just inches away from you!

    Consequently I think the US is an exciting and vibrant place… can’t wait to get back for my next installment.

    Millions of people enter these ports daily, customs must sometimes be a shitty job!

    So my advice is, always see if you can get the officer that looks like he runs the comic shop in the Simpsons ’cause he always goes “hey dude welcome to America.”

    There is a Tee shirt from NY “fuck you you fucking fuck!”… I was only there for 5days and found myself screaming that to the hotelier at midnight… the audience in the lobby gave me a standing ovation as I stormed out….. fantastic place you guys have got!

    God bless America!

  83. Tim Fuchs says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Wow. I really hope my sister won’t have so much trouble, she plans to visit the USA and go to school there for a few months.

    Right now, we aren’t sure whether this will work out. Apart from the usual bureaucracy (a 15 year old girl has to confirm she isn’t part of a terrorist organization, right) most people in the US don’t seem to know how many problems for foreigners exist. We need a special form to confirm that she got accepted in a US school, the school however has no idea about this form and usks us to obtain it.

    I don’t know whether I’m supposed to laugh or cry,

  84. John Williams says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 10:43 am

    What on earth are you doing going to the USA in the first place?

    Since the illegal invasion of Iraq, (and the inception of USVISIT, where people are treated like criminals simply to go on vacation) the usa has been the subject of a silent boycott.

    Many academics, orchestras and people with a concience are refusing to enter the us until they remove USVIST and leave Iraq. Many brits are going to other countries for their hollidays. There is simply no reason for anyone to submit to humiliation as dished out by the us authorities, and americans must be made to understand that their government is simply unnaceptable to civilized society.

    By continuing to travel there as if there is nothing wrong sends them the wrong signal – that no matter what they do or how they mistreat people everyone will act as if they are the salt of the earth, which they clearly are not.

    During the Apartheid era, no one with morals travelled to South Africa, and that was for what the Apartheid government was doing to its own people. America is kidnapping people from the streets of the world and shipping them off to secret toruture prisons, holding hundreds of people wihtout trial in Guantanamo Bay, committing mass violation of visitors to the us with the USVISIT program on a scale not seen since world war two…if any country deserved to be the subject of a travel boycott it is the usa, and yet, people who should know better, like you, still continue to go there on the most flimsy of excuses.

    What happened to you has happened to many british travellers. Businessmen who have been going to the us regularly for years have been thrown into jail upon arriving at JFK, Holiday makers have been turned back because they had the wrong names; the list goes on and on.

    You need to join the growing ranks of professionals, holiday makers and artists who are saying that they will not travel to the usa until they stop the mass violations and warmongering. What is most astonishing is that you are willing to put up with being treated llike a criminal forever more. You are doing the usa a favour by travelling there. They should appreciate your going there, and treat you like a guest, not a criminal.

    If you refuse to stand up for your personal dignity, not only will you lose it, but you give encouragement to the us authorities, making them think (wrongly) that, “they need us more than we need them”, which opens the door to more abuse on the personal and international levels.

    There are no two ways arount this. Everyone needs to take a stand against bad behavour. Going to the usa for any reason is out of the question. Its long past the time where everyone stood up and said “no more”.

  85. Sherman says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 11:15 am

    Mark, its a Microsoft conspiracy… it has to be!

    BTW, Ubuntu 6.06 LTS is absolutely amazing! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

  86. Jay says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 11:24 am

    You broke the law and that is that. Too bad you have had a difficutly entering the USA but its not your god given right to enter the USA. You broke the law (and yes I agree we have lots of stupid laws) and you are now paying the consequences. Im pretty sure the United Kingdom is not very nice to a lot of people entering the UK. Go fix your immigration issues in the UK before lecturing those of us in the good old USofA!

  87. cryinginthewilderness says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    Gee Whiz:
    Those damn Americans. Commercial airliners crash into a few buildings in NYC and they get all bent out of shape about security. That damn BushHitler taking away all our freedoms–what’s next, invading other countries?? Myself, I’m moving to Saudi Arabia, where I intend to build a Catholic church.

  88. speel says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    Hey why didn’t you just hop on a spaceship?

  89. T.Alex says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    I’m sorry you and the others have been put through this hell.

    It is frightening how this administration is moving to seal up this country. And yet, while clamping down on the intelligent, well-educated, law-abiding and wealthy visitors to the States, the administration is falling over itself to try to get a guest worker program for the underpaid farm workers coming up from Latin America. The peopel we would most like to attract are the people this administration is doing the most to alienate.

    Perhaps you should explore lawn-maintenance or strawberry picking as a career! That way you would be able to get and stay in the country without a problem.

  90. Voting Better says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    I want to add my apologies on behalf of sensibel Americans (Murricans?) as well.
    Many of us would like to find a use for our Executive, Judiciary, and Congress/Senate branches by lining them up, examining their decisions, and then running them through a blood draw and health screening process, then inducing brain death, harvesting their organs, and burning the bodies like refuse as we install an entirely new government and try again.

    A hallmark of fascism is when the government’s convenience is set as a higher priority than people’s civil rights.

  91. Keith says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    I am disgusted with the situation that you were in. Bureacracy has been one of the major issues that made me choose UK over USA in several decision making. All these security and privacy issues have really been a pain in the neck.

  92. Adam says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    I find it funny that Georgey Porgey finds it fine the millions of illegal immigrants flowing into the country fine, yet makes it so hard for someone with a purpose to enter.

  93. TJ says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    Gosh, I’d cry for you mo-fo, but *i* gotta *live* here.

  94. rak says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    [...] but I was shocked when they asked me to provide proof that I had a flight booked to leave the country. I’m not sure why a Canadian citizen (resident or not) would be required to show something like that.

    If you’re not a resident, they might let you get away with not paying duties. Was that the case?

  95. Dan Takashi says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    Funny, how all of you were not allowed in the US when the MEXICANS are welcomed with open arms. Twisted and dare we say racist.
    South American browns yes, but Asian and Caucasian no?
    Disturbing to say the least.
    Mexican Invasion of the US has begun.

  96. Yannick Dutertre says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 8:15 pm

    I’m lucky enough to have a dual French-American citizenship (although I reside in France) so that I leave and get in France using my French passport, and enter and leave the US using my American passport. I’ve never had problems, so far.
    Yet last summer I was travelling with a half-Maroccan half-French guy and he was stopped for 3 hours at the immigration (upon entering the US). They did search his luggage and tried to have him strip, and then I was actually called in to talk for him (is that actually legal?? it was almost as if I were accepting to be held responsible if he did anything wrong while he was in the US – I didn’t have to sign anything but still…)… they let him go after I did that… Welcome to the US!
    The same guy, one year earlier had been accepted for study as an exchange student at MIT for one semester. The guy is brilliant, he’s in France’s top Engineering School (Les Mines de Paris), yet strangely enough his visa application was denied… No further comment needed, I suppose.

    If I compare with Hong Kong (I just spent one year there, and he spent one semester with me), this territory, albeit officially part of China, had no problem with either of us. They actually accepted to extend my visa for 6 more months because I wanted to spend more time studying and researching there. Immigration and officials there were infinitely more welcoming than at the US border (even though at the US border, I appear to them as a normal American citizen)
    So China is more welcoming than the US! (well I’m cheating there, I’m sure it’s much tougher for Mainland China. But still…)

  97. Michael Shigorin says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    > a new country where the most interesting people
    > of the world can arrive, feel welcome, and feel free.
    Welcome to Russia. :-)

    While US is stupidly reminding SU as I’ve happen remember the latter (and hear for the former from those friends I can trust — those emigrated), SU wasn’t Russian spirit. And for each strict law here there is enough gap between theory and practice. Knowing a bit about how laws tend to be written (and by whom), it’s rather comforting me than disturbing…

  98. Peter says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    Kom huistoe boet!

  99. John says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You cry about freedom yet moderate a comment left on your site in a free commment area. Please. How about e-mailing me and talking to me about it unless you are jet setting somewhere and are too busy.

  100. Bryce says: (permalink)
    June 11th, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    I can’t blame you for not liking the US. I live here, and I’m terribly paranoid about not being able to get a visa and/or citizenship in another country simply because of all the animosity for people from the United States, because more clearly now than ever, we have lost all sense of logic and principle in favor of big buisness, and our “getting into bed” with large corporations.

    “Land of The Free”*

    *Some restrictions apply. Void where prohibited.

    It’s a shame really we started off so well.

  101. Barlowe says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 1:08 am

    You don’t have a right to simply fly around private planes wherever you want. We’re not going to have open borders because it’s easier and more convenient for YOU. You don’t like it? Get out, stay out, and don’t come back.

  102. hacker not cracker says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 1:30 am

    some authorities can be sooo stupid sometimes!

  103. jesme says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 2:16 am

    Sheesh! I absolutely sympathize with the runaround received by Mr. Shuttleworth. But it seems to me to have less to do with the decline of freedom in America than with the rise of incompetent bureaucracy. These guys weren’t acting under orders from the evil Bush Administration; they just don’t know what they’re doing. From what I’ve read, horror stories like this one are all too common. But the real reason is that the immigration and customs system is a bloody shambles. Combine badly drafted rules and a badly run system with a mandate to tighten security, and this is what you get.

    We need real immigration reform in this country, so law-abiding folk who want to come here can do so. We also need to be exceedingly careful who we let in. If the system were better designed, we could do both. But as the recent controversies over immigration have shown, any effort to reform the laws becomes a snakepit of politics.

  104. kbglob - tecnologia para geeks, no para tu mamá » Mark Shuttleworth con problemas para entrar a EEUU says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 3:02 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth nos cuenta en su blog cómo la estupidez de la política actual de los EEUU hace que alguien con mucho dinero, conocido mundialmente, partícipe de muchos proyectos que aportan a la humanidad sea considerado, literalmente, un criminal. Tienen toda la historia en su blog, pero básicamente voló a los EEUU con su propio avión, el operador del avión no había firmado un tratado de visas, y a pesar que ya entró 27 veces con el mismo pasaporte, le negaron la entrada. Por este tema le quedó el antecedente de entrar ilegalmente, y tiene un historial criminal, y lo debe especificar cada vez que entra. La estupidez de ese país llega cada vez a niveles más altos. Felicitaciones. [...]

  105. Smeshhead says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 3:35 am

    I think you are seeing the results of the Microsoft lobbying efforts. I expect Linus to be deported any day now…

  106. Tony says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 4:50 am

    I apologize on behalf of the country that I was born into. My wife advised me not to comment on your plight because Homeland security has probably tapped your email and your record is sampled in a monitored database. Any words of sympathy would be considered ‘collaboration’.
    The fight against terrorism is a pretense to terrorize.

    You must understand.
    These are desparate times. Enemies are among us. They look different. Have different views. Diversity cannot be tolerated. We must be of one mind, one nation, one people fundamental to god fearing principles on which our great nation is founded. Fundamentalism is the rule and our leaders are given free reign over individual liberties in these extreme extraordinary times. Those who are not with us are against us.

    “Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”
    –George W. Bush 43rd President of the United States (2001 to present)

    “THERE are some truths which are so obvious that for this very reason they are not seen or at least not recognized by ordinary people. They sometimes pass by such truisms as though blind and are most astonished when someone suddenly discovers what everyone really ought to know.”
    –Mein Kamp by Adolf Hitler

    Two great leaders, two terrific viewpoints

    God bless America

  107. Amos Batto says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 5:34 am

    As an American, I grow more and more ashamed of my own country every day. I hate what my country has become, and I don’t say that lightly. I have seen a very ugly side to the American character since 9/11. Jingoism, xenophobia, and fear in general has gripped my country in ways that I find astounding. We no longer express respect for basic tenets like the due process under the law, international law, the Geneva Conventions, and the ban on torture. I’ve read too much of William Blum and Noam Chomsky to delude myself about what my country has always done to foreigners, but America has acquired a new “fortress” mentality which can only harm us. My only consolation is that many Americans are starting to question the current “war on terror” and the Bush policies. I can only hope that we chose a different path in the future, but I don’t see much will to challenge the status quo in the Democratic Party, and Republican independents like John McCain are even worse in my opinion.

  108. Dagon says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 6:24 am

    Conclusion: AVOID THE USA

    Either this society is irrational, or it has some kind of semi-secret elite that compels the government and people to do things that would be regarded as impossible elswhere. Well… there is such an elite: the top 2% of all people in the US is so insanely, unhistorically rich, those people will do anything to hold on what they got, including create the infrastructure of a fascist police state.

    In my words: siege mentality.

    But don’t worry. Housing bubble, sliding dollar, an infrastructure based on overexploitation of oil, no remaining oil resources, an undereducated population, a national obesity epidemic, a national immigration crisis, Katrina, G.W. Bush, a completely screwed up resource grab war, Iran, an apocalyptic Trade defecit, 911, being hatred all over the world, xenophobia… it all will cause the collapse of the US within a few years. They’ll be a third world nation after that.

    Good riddance.

  109. Todd Post says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 6:55 am

    As an ex-U.S.A. resident and U.S. citizen, it was embarrassing but not surprising to read Mr. Shuttleworth’s story. It is consoling however to also know that free spirits and thoughtful people abound in this world. South Africa is now my inspiration and home. South African Home Affairs, for all it’s challenges, has allowed me ‘permanent residency’ and I am fortunate to be surrounded by positive people with spirits that are very, very alive.

  110. Clint Gilliam, says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 7:06 am

    Being an American living overseas, I can understand what happened to you. (similar difficulties are faced by Americans in a number of places around the world) However, 90+% of Americans would never understand what happened to you. Since most Americans never travel outside of the US, they are oblivious to the issues of immigration and international travel and as such, will likely never call for reform.

    As I tell most people who are now dealing with the frustrations of travel and immigration, the swing towards unreasonable security measures and anti-terrorism procedures will relax as the courts and politicians deal with the reality of the world and some of the “knee-jerk reaction” laws and procedures. Give it time, America is a great country and as times change, I believe it will correct some of difficulties that now exist.

  111. Bogdan Dinu » Cum mai privim intrarea in America says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 9:03 am

    [...] Pornind de pe digg am citit in dimineata asta acest articol. Pe scurt, Mark Shuttleworth, fondatorul Ubuntu, a avut o experienta neplacuta la intrarea un SUA. Detaliile le gasiti in articol. 2 chestii mi-au atras aici atentia: [...]

  112. Brad Schaefer says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 10:55 am

    Your story is all too familiar to me — something similar happened to my exgirlfriend travelling to the US from Canada. The manner and attitude with which they treated us was absolutely disgusting, not to mention humiliating — being treated as a criminal because there is a border agent with a power trip is messed up. What a way to welcome visitors to the country…

  113. CBZ says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    Try India! :-)

    But make sure you know that as good as having no rules to enter – there are no rules insde too. ;-)

  114. Bichufo Sbarro says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    Watch the news. Illegals get to stay; can’t be questioned; plan to legalize 12 million of them. And you get this crap?!? Perhaps you’d be better off sneaking in from Mexico or Canada? Americans are full of it; got their priorities and their senses totally out of whack. People they would “love” to have, they kick out and the illegal masses get to stay and no waiting in line! Incredible!

  115. Capetonian says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 1:20 pm

    Well, judging from developments in South Africa after the ’94 elections and particularly in recent years, this country isn’t far behind the US when it comes to snooping, absurd laws, and a general disrespect that both the government and business show towards the populace. It’s all “me, myself and I”, and the greed and enrichment that is permeating the commercial and political sector finds a nice counterbalance in an increasingly violent and disrespectful society.

    Both govt and biz are failing the very people who voted them into power by making a cross or buying a product.

    This country could be paradise (or ‘moksha’ if you prefer), but the morons who rule it either don’t have a friggin’ clue or are so absorbed in their self-enrichment and aggrandization that they don’t realise how they are turning this into yet another prison and hellhole for the majority of the population.

    It may just be it’s anglosaxon heritage, because the same is happening over in Australia too.

    Welcome to the Prison Planet!

  116. e.p. says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    mmmk, so your pilot didn’t have his papers in order and you are complaining about the consequences? Should have made sure you had everything lined up ahead of time, I think.

  117. John says: (permalink)
    June 12th, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    try bringing a laptop into Israel. My friend had his confiscated and gone through for 6 days – the length of their staty there.

  118. Paul Eggleton says: (permalink)
    June 13th, 2006 at 1:10 am

    This is why I now avoid going via the US when I fly to the UK. Most flights from New Zealand to the UK go through LAX but there are alternatives, and even though the flight might be longer or more expensive, I prefer not to be treated like a terrorist. I believe some experts have even acknowledged that these measures do very little to ensure that another terrorist attack won’t happen, and yet they become even more draconian as time goes on.

    US citizens – please tell your representatives in government that this is hurting your country.

  119. MHM says: (permalink)
    June 14th, 2006 at 5:26 am

    “As a result, I think the world is looking for a new source of inspiration – a new country where the most interesting people of the world can arrive, feel welcome, and feel free”

    Like which country? France/Germany, which were in bed with Saddam when it came to the corrupt oil for food program, other European countries that are passing tough laws regarding what flavor of Islam one can follow. Or were you referring to the completely corrupt eastern european countries where there is ethnic cleansing?

    Or were you referring to some Latin American country where the Hugo Chavez’s rule? Maybe you were referring to China where even Yahoo does not control its own entity there?

    Perhaps war torn Africa where openness and free minds thrive all the time.

    Maybe the middle-east where they want to behead all foreigners that are not Islamic?

    Which “new” country were you referring to that allows openness and right to free speech to the extent that America does even today. Which “new” country were you referring to that allows poor hardworking Mexicans to come with no money to their name who eventually own a house and put their kids through college? Which “new” country has GDP more than that of the state of California alone?

    Why don’t you just face the truth? The carrier you flew in did not sign the visa-waiver program. Blame your carrier for its incompetence. Also, it is your reponsibility to make sure you have the right paperwork when you enter this great nation of ours. Not that of US immigration. It is a privilege to come to America, you are not doing us any favors by coming here. Blame yourself for not having your paperwork in order. Maybe you are just the type that does not believe in being responsible for your own actions?

    Spit on America if you will, but do not forget your spit does not fall far from your country which of course is so much better than ours for the reasons I mentioned above?

  120. barry says: (permalink)
    June 14th, 2006 at 7:28 am

    Fool!! How dare you associate yourself with free software! Commie pinko. :)

  121. Chris Davis says: (permalink)
    June 14th, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    “The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price,
    peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of
    soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”

    - Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
    26th U.S. President (1901-09)

  122. Andrew says: (permalink)
    June 16th, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    Is Norman still on the plane? ;)

  123. jackie woolard says: (permalink)
    June 19th, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    Hi,
    I have just read your posting, I am British and because of a blip in my life 10 years ago be it very small I now have to apply for a visa to go to Amercia, I,ve been told that I have to have an appointment with someone at the AMERCIAN Embassy, fill in two downloaded forms which must be filled in correctly or this can result in my application being declined and having to strat again, plus a $100 FEE, PLUS a Subject Access Statement from the police £10, AND i,M GOING FOR ONLY 5 DAYS.

    I KNOW WITH ALL WHATS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD BUT PERHAPS IT COULD BE EASY TO CLAIM POLITICAL ASYLUM WHEN I GET THERE, any suggestion on this greatly appreciated, oh and plus the application for the above can take up to 16 weeks, I,m going the end of November.

  124. Mike says: (permalink)
    June 20th, 2006 at 5:24 am

    Is this what Linux is about? .. petty bickering amongst users of the product painted in terms of Democrat or Republican? If that’s the case, my consideration to donating funds or time to Linux projects has came to an end. I want an operating system, not a political agenda.

  125. wolfmeiister says: (permalink)
    June 20th, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    How feasible would it be to enter the US under the visa waiver program, leave the US for canada a few days before the 90 days expires, spend a week in Canada and return to the US and be issued with another 90 days waiver??

    Any foreseeable problems here?

  126. qu1j0t3 says: (permalink)
    June 22nd, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    I guess everyone has a story like this nowadays. Mine happened two days ago. After making many trips over the past 18 months under the visa waiver programme, which applies to my nationality, all of a sudden (without adequate explanation) it was not good enough any more, I was denied entry and told I had to obtain a consular visa. I don’t like being treated like a criminal. It was bad enough being fingerprinted and photographed on every entry. Seriously questioning my interest in visiting again, it’s not any kind of earthly paradise after all.

  127. Josh says: (permalink)
    June 22nd, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    I can think of several other countries i would rather live in rather than be stuck in the USA (as i am now). Switzerland for one, but they wouldn’t even nationalize me they would probably just laugh in my face. The good ol USA has always been a group of bastards. The “revolutionaries” who claimed independence from Britain were nothing better than common criminals who didn’t want to pay taxes. Our whole country is founded on being the schoolyard bully (Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, and many many others). I feel bad for the civilized and upstanding people of the rest of the world that have to put up with seeing our soldiers kill innocent men women and children on the streets of Iraq when we have absolutely no business being there. I feel awful seeing countries like Ruwanda (who really need our help but they don’t have oil so we do nothing) that are in real trouble and the people cry out for help from someone. The world is run by bureaucrats and people who don’t give a damn about the common man, the middle class, or the poor, hungry, homeless, or diseased people all around the world. But it’s ok everybody we all know George Bush and his whole administration are going straight to hell when they die. And if they (US government/dictatorship) want to further hinder my freedom of speech go ahead, because being an “American” anymore is just embarassing.

  128. Viracocha says: (permalink)
    June 23rd, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    Don’t worry, it will only get worse. Everywhere.

  129. jackie woolard says: (permalink)
    July 3rd, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    hi,
    as i left a note about my problem about getting a visa to visit the us for a 5 day, can anyone tell me what will happen at my interview? I have everything in place paid fee filled in doc,s proof ect, what will they ask me, any help would be gratefully accepted, also will it takealeast 60 days for my visa if i,m luck to be issued because of my small crimminal past?

    As i,ve looked at all you thoughts about probs with entering Amercia, my brian starts to get abit worried and I might not be able to get my visa in time/or even refused entry when I get there.

    Many Thanks

  130. Nano says: (permalink)
    July 5th, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Mark, next time come to Argentina, we have one of the the best beef in the world and I’m an excellent cook! :D

    PS: Do you mind asking Noam Chomsky if he’d like to visit too? I want to meet both of you at least once in this life! ;-)

    PS2: Sincerely, thank you for making Linux a bit more human every day.

  131. Scots lass says: (permalink)
    July 9th, 2006 at 12:41 am

    I am British. I spent 9 days in the USA in February and then 9 weeks in the USA over May and June, on the visa waiver programme. Can I go again this year (October for 4 weeks) or will I be turned away and asked to get a visa. Ie. are there restrictions on how often I can use the waiver programme? Any advice would put me at ease. Also should I call the emabssy for their advice?
    Many thanks.

  132. Ev says: (permalink)
    July 14th, 2006 at 10:26 am

    A GOOD, INEXPENSIVE, WELL CONNECTED PLACE for interseting people to gather – The World’s First All-Wireless-Internet Country:

    Macedonia

    http://adventures.yahoo.com/

  133. Nicholas Wheeler says: (permalink)
    July 18th, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    I didn’t know it sucked that badly at Dulles :-/, I go through there every once in a while without any complications … but I don’t own my own plane, either.

  134. Wynand Meyering says: (permalink)
    July 19th, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    You wrote:

    “I fell in love with the USA once. It was built on beautiful principles.”

    I personally am an admirer of the founding fathers Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others… especially Paine’s Rights of Man, Common Sense and Age of Reason.

    How has the principles of the USA influenced your view of the world?
    Upon what principles was Thawte founded – what inspired you to start Thawte?

  135. STEPHEN FROM THE UK says: (permalink)
    August 14th, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Hi, i need some “QUICK” advice….i am travelling the orlando in two weeks from the UK with my wife & 3 children. we are going on the waiver visa’s which i have been told we can fill out on the aircraft. i was told AFTER paying for my holiday that if i have ever been arrested i will NOT be allowed to enter the US. i was arrested over 10 years ago for not paying a parking ticket !!! althought i never recieved a criminal record i was only arrested and let out once i pad the fine off in full, of which i did a few hours later after numerous phone calls.
    my QUESTION is………………1) do i try and enter and not say anything or 2) tell them and see what they say…..but, by then i may have been deported and my wife & kids stranded in the US, and as my wife does not drive she would be a bit stuck !!!
    HELP HELP HELP
    renn556@aol.com

  136. need to get back home says: (permalink)
    August 18th, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    hi can anyone please help me , i went to america in aug 2004 to marrie my wife, i was on a visitors visa , after getting married we we phoned the INS to see if i could stay, they said yes if i filled out all the right paper work, fine , we did just that payed all the fees and waited, after a year we had a baby and bought a house, my mother wanted to come over and see us from england so she flu to detroit but on the way to the airport we got lost. we ended up at the canada border we asked them where the airport was and they told us but asked to see my passport …i gave it to them and then they told me i was an over stay …i ended up in a prison for 4 months then sent back to england ….now i am trying to get back and applying for a visa to go back and live with my wife and child ..right now i am waiting for the paper work to go to the american embassy in london for my interview but i have a criminal record for growing weed i have went to prison for it but got a fine and had to do some communtee service..will they hold my criminal record against me even if my wife and child are american …i also have a record for getting to drunk and silly things like that …please help if you can ……ilovemybeautifulwife@fsmail.net

  137. need to get back home says: (permalink)
    August 18th, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    sorry about my spelling i said i never went to prison for growing weed !!

  138. WAF says: (permalink)
    September 1st, 2006 at 3:38 am

    My Japanese girlfriend was detained on monday at the ATL airport,
    strip searched, handcuffed and put in jail overnight with criminals
    and put back on a flight to NRT the next day. She is 50 years old,
    weighs barely 90 pounds and is 4’9″. Her crime? Having visited the
    U.S. twice before on the visa waiver program. She stayed within
    the 90 day limit and had a valid return ticket ( in business class ).
    No threat to the country in any way. Nobody spoke Japanese, she
    speaks little English. What a wonderful country we live in. They let
    in the terrorists and the illegals but watch for little japanese women.
    Worst off we have no way to fight the system. It’s becoming more
    and more totalitarism, scary if you think of it.

  139. Linux Unix » Mark Shuttleworth almost strip searched by US customs says: (permalink)
    September 1st, 2006 at 12:21 pm

    [...] When Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth recently traveled to the US, he was declined entry and almost strip searched! (He refused, and they relented). Furthermore, he now has to fill out a visa application form for “people with a criminal record” every time he wishes to travel to the US.read more | digg story [...]

  140. jackie woolard says: (permalink)
    September 19th, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Steven, just read you problem, I might be to late for this, but I haeve a problem like yours, I have arranged to go to the us for xmas shopping I have a crimminal records, like yours from years ago, nouthing big, I had a interview at the US Embassy in London on the 8TH August, I spent the best part of six hours waiting , to be told that I would be granted a visa from the department of home land security, but I could only vist once, if I wanted to return to the states for another holiday, I would have to reapply. I asked the lady behind the security screen what would happen if I went to the states without declaring this small misdeamour!!!! as I have a sneaky notion that with all this new passport control that the us and the uk exchange personnal info on these passports!!!!. Anyway the lady told me that if it was found that I had a criminmal records and not got a visa I would be declared an Illeagal alien as be deported and that my passport would be marked accordingly and you would not be able to enter the states for 10 years.

    I now have to wait upto 12 weeks for my visa to arrive, I hope this helps but belive me after all the money, booking an appointment £63.00 getting a police record check which takes 40 days AND £10.00, congestion charge £8 as my husband took me in the car. waiting at the embassy from 9.00 am to 3.30pm mindless . Its still no guarantee that you will be given clearence to enter the us.

    good luck, lets us know how you got on

  141. Naeem Nader says: (permalink)
    October 7th, 2006 at 9:52 am

    Rev.Dear Sir
    I am John 14 male christian Pakistani.you Help me I goen to Canada but i am Middle stended porson.I am not available visa and ticket do you help me uk or
    Canadian visa and ticket please help me Jesus help you. I shall be thankful to you.ok May God bless you
    yours in christ
    Naeem Nader Saleem John

    My Email Address. christian_john2006@yahoo.com
    Please reply mail

  142. JessO says: (permalink)
    October 20th, 2006 at 8:42 pm

    I actually have a criminal record so traveling to the U.S. is difficult but i have been lucky enough to get through a few times when I took a flight over to California so i thought my record wasn’t a bad thing, but suddenly one time i attempted to drive to New York, i was denied entrance across the border because the guards said that my record came up with an arrest. Even though i was not convicted of any crimes they still wouldn’t let me in! I was lucky enough just to be sent away but i can’t believe all the things that i’m hearing from people getting arrested! Anyway, I was at a site called http://www.USborderblog and it directed me to a company called Canadian Pardons Services who helped me get a waiver for admittance into the state despite my criminal record. The waiver I got is good for 5 years so i won’t be worrying about getting arrested at the border anymore. i can drive or fly!

  143. jackie woolard says: (permalink)
    October 30th, 2006 at 11:13 am

    Hello JessO,
    I have actually got my visa, at long last, so hopefully I will be given entrance, glad to hear you got yours sorted.
    just hope that it was worth a 5 day visit.

  144. Ron Sweet says: (permalink)
    November 6th, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    Hello JessO

    I was also denied entry when driving back in mid Sept., and had flown on numerous occassions with no problems, so I’m going thru this US entry waiver application thing now with an agency out of Montreal, called The National Pardon Centre, and it seems to be taking a very long time just to get anything completed let alone filed with the US Homeland Security Dept.

    How long did it take for your application and to get your waiver.

    Thanks

  145. grd says: (permalink)
    November 19th, 2006 at 2:11 am

    i am a us citizen dating a uk girl that i have known since 1972 while at us base in uk,i have no trouble visiting her as i am a dual national(born in uk to uk mum,usa dad)we prefer usa and not at marrying point yet,but for the life of me i cannot find any rules on vwp for multiple visits,last time she came over(her 2nd visit in a year) she was drilled for a hour with threats of sending her back and that we should get married if we want to continue,she is now apprehensive about coming again.are we at the mercy of theof the individual tsa agents(or whatever they call themselves now)to make the rules depending on how they feel that day.we play by the rules but damn it what are they!!!!

  146. Krazy says: (permalink)
    December 4th, 2006 at 5:47 pm

    My fiance was approved and was told welcome to the US…until low and behold another officer comes and tells him they’re going to conduct another interview. She told him that there was, on his record, saying that he had been here working n the US when he was only on a Tourist visa. He had to apply for a pardon. He was given another date to go back. My question is, will they approve or deny the pardon that day?

  147. ALEXANDRA says: (permalink)
    December 8th, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    Hey guys !!
    talking about “Wonderland” (USA) Great here is my story !!!!!!!!!
    My dad a respectable gentelman of 59 years of age , ex military and Diplomat .. settle in the US few years back thinking is was great to be there !!!
    got married to a Respectable BLOODSUCKER Cuban Lady …she decide one day to call the police acussing my dad when he was sleep after working 12 hours a day …of battery touch /strike ..Great !!! the police went to his home wake up my dad and told him he was Arrested !!!!!!!! the poor guy didn’t know what was happend !!! and the police telling him why he try to batter his wife …!!!
    My dad in all years in the USA never have any charge of anything he was rich cause he work for it and a really happy man !!!
    AND THERE WE GO …
    MY DAD BEEN PUT ON CHARGES OF BATTERY ASSULT …AND HELD IN CUSTODY IN A MAXIMUM SECURITY JAIL!!!!!!!!!!!
    WHERE WE COULDEN’T TALK TO HIM AT ALL OR KNOW ANY CASE , WE LIVE IN THE UK MY SISTER AND ME I HAVE JUST GIVE BIRTH TO THE POINT I COULDEN’T TRAVEL TO THE RESCUE OF MY DAD !!! so i had to send my little sister in the first fly there …to the point that travelling so far she coulden,t VISIT MY DAD UNTIL NEXT WEEK !!! the people n the MAXIMUM SECURITY JAIL TOLD MY SISTER THAT SHE HAD TO CONTACT MY DAD AND TELL HIM TO WRITE HER IN HIS VISITATION LIST !!!!!!!!!! BUT HOW DO WE TALK TO HIM HE IS IN JAIL NOT A HOTEL THERE ARE NOT PHONE CALL FOR THE PRISIONERS !!!!
    so we decide to write to daddy after 3 days that we paid overnight delivery 24 US dollars !!!!! for a letter only a couple of blocks down the post office !!!
    finally arribe to him !!! so we thought we could hug daddy BUT NO THERE T WAS MY DAD DRESS LIKE AN ORANGE ACUSSE FOR SOMETHING HE NEVER EVEN THOUGTH TO DO …AND WE COULD NOT HUG DAD CAUSE THEY WILL ONLY PERMIT TO SEE MY DAD IN A VIDEO !!!!!!!!!! GREAT AT LEAST WE HAVE SOME CONTACT !!! WE SEND SOME MONEY TO MY DAD TO JAIL ONLY 40 DOLLARS FOR WEEK AND WE REALIZE HE ONLY RECIBE 10 DOLLARS SO MY QUESTION IS HOW HAS TO BE IN JAIL ??? THEY SAID IT WAS FOR A BAND HE WEAR IN HIS HAND BUT I DON’T THINK SO A PEACE OR SHIT PLASTIC COST SO MUCH !!!!
    MY DAD STAY THE FOR 6 WEEKS …PROVE NOT GUILTY BUT DISCOVER THAT HIS LOVING CUBAN – AMERICAN WIFE wanted all his money , cars , houses etc…
    GREAT !!! SHE CAN HAVE THEM ALL …THE TIME WE TRY TO TAKE DADDY FROM JAIL THEY SAID MY DAD HAD AND INS HOLD ON HIM !!!!GREAT NOT JUST INOCENT ALSO ACUSSED OF VIOLENT AND KNOW IMIGRATION QUESTION HIM WHERE HE WAS ILLIGAL OR NOT OR A THEAT TO THE COUNTY FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE !!!!!!!!
    TO MY EXPIRIENCE ONCE I BELIVE IN AMERICAN LAW AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE !!! KNOW I CAN SAID FUC…….K AMERICAN LAW , HIS PRESIDENT AND ALL THE PEOPLE WITH HIM !!! (NOT AMERICAN PEOPLE !!! )ONLY THE GOV. PEOPLE !!! MR . BUSH AND CO !!!

    ANYWAYS TODAY WE HAVE A WEBSITE TO HELP PEOPLE ILLIGAL OR NOT IN JAIL OR NOT OR WITH EVERY DAY PROBLEMS IS TOTALLY FREE !!!!
    CAUSE I THINK YOU CAN’ThttpTRUST AMERICAN LAW ANYMORE !!! http://ayudaaunimigrante.googlepages.com/
    TAKE CARE ALL ,
    i AM VERY SORRY FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BUT PLEASE UNDERSTAND MY SITUATION AND THE WAY YOUR SISTEM WORKS !!!
    GOD SAVE AMERICA AND HIS PEOPLE !!!

  148. JENNIFER says: (permalink)
    December 15th, 2006 at 12:58 am

    HI IM JENNIFER IM A CANADIAN CITIZAN AND LIVE IN THE UK.IM HAVING TROUBLE TRYING TO STAY HERE EVEN THOUGH MY PARTNER IS A BRITISH CITIZAN AND I HAVE 2 CHILDREN WHO ARE BRITISH AND ANOTHER ON THE WAY.THE CITIZANS ADVICE BUREAU TOLD ME IN SO MANY WORDS THAT MY SKIN IS THE WRONG COLOR AND I WOULD HAVE BETTER LUCK IF I COULD CLAIM ASSYLUM.IM NOT A RACIST BY ANY MEANS BUT I FEEL THAT ITS UNFAIR TO ME AND MY FAMILY THAT IM COMMONWEALTH AND AM TREATED LIKE DIRT.JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO THEY SET FREE OVER 400 ASSYLUM SEEKERS FROM A HOLDING CENTRE IN ENGLAND BECAUSE THEY STARTED A RIOT.I THOUGHT THE REASON FOR THESE THINGS WERE BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT ALLOWED IN THE COUNTRY…I WAS WRONG APPARENTLY!!!!SO NOW WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?HOW AM I ABLE TO STAY HERE LEAGALLY WITHOUT JUST STAYING?ITS A CRAZY WORLD WE LIVE IN
    JENNIFER

  149. Koriproducer says: (permalink)
    December 18th, 2006 at 6:53 am

    Oh great, an america bashing fest. My favorite!

    Hey lets all hate america!!! yeah, lets all whine because we all know life is fair. Hey, America is so crappy, why would anyone want to live there.. i mean, its a free country with laws and an immigration problem. But lets just forget all that, because we all know, america is perfect and never has problems. Hmmm WAIT, doesnt every country have problems and issues?

    Lets face it, there are tons of ingorant whining liberals in here with their heads in the clouds playing a game of “im so righteous”. All this america bashing, fox news bashing… seriously its kind of funny the mental retardation of some of these posters. Some liberalistic agenda spreads propaganda via media, and you get brainwashed and accuse fox news, the president, the country of all this bull shit that is all in your head. People want to feel special so they jump on some bandwagon and spew out what image they want to be seen as. Hate america? hate fox news? God, if people really knew teh truth i wonder if they would wipe the shit from their eyes and accept it, or if they are too hard headed and set on their view even if it is wrong.

    I guess everyone forgets, WESTERN CIVILIZATION is at WAR agaist an ideology that believes that all infidels (westerners) must die. YOU REALIZE there is an ideology that wants genocide??? Its real, its there, many die every day over it. To be different from the ideology is death. Why is security so hard? TAKE A FARKING GUESS!!! Some of you people are so selfish and ignorant it amazes me. You believe only what one faction via media tells you to believe, surrounding yourself in false truths to support the image you want to be seen as.

    You want to get into america? Then be patient, the world isnt a safe place right now. America also has an immegration problem, thats right, people come in with tourist visas or what not and then run away to hide in the states, mexicans by the thousands are crossing the border to fill the streets of the USA, many die in the process others fill into bad neighborhoods and because of the influx of undocumented people, public resources are out of wack, crimes are being commited, children are being born… its chaos! Any one of these people could be a terrorist, all it takes is one person to kill many. All it takes is one person with a virus that can wipe out cities. I hate to say this, but its a hard fact that this is a possibility. So untill the world is a safer place, we are going to have to DEAL WITH IT. Is it fair? NO. Do we live in a world of Fairness? Hell no. People die everyday for no reason. ITs not fair. LIFE IS HARD.

    All this complaining and whining. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED. At least you are alive, at least you have food to eat everyday, at least your life isnt worse. Seriously, grow up. The world is a harsh place, its no dream boat. The more time goes on, the more our societies and ideologies warp. More freedom leaves room for more sick human nature. Many many many sides and group arise, many beliefs become moving forces, each with its own agenda. Freedom has a price, too much freedom brings chaos. Its hard. Life is hard. Pray for a better place, but lets be real about it.

  150. RF says: (permalink)
    December 21st, 2006 at 9:04 am

    Well, I have to say my very first post on this forum has to be a sad, dissapointing one.

    Sad, in the terms of the rights we have lossed. ALL FOR NON-EXISTENT WEAPONS OF “SO-CALLED” MASS DESTRUCTION!!!! Yeah, right. It wasn’t for revenge George. It wasn’t to get back at Saddam’s middle finger at your Father’s ineptitude in the first Iraq war. It wasn’t to get back at Daddy’s inability to get the job done in Iraq the first time. It wasn’t to get back at Saddam’s plan on taking a contract “hit” out on your Daddy. It wasn’t for the oil, oil, oil, oil……ouch, my finger seems stuck on that point. The war wasn’t all planned in the “President-Elect” stage of fighting in the Supreme Court to win Florida’s Electoral votes to take the Presidency from Al Gore (who would’ve done a better job).

    I’m a U.S. Citizen working/living in Canada. I like U.S. Television. So, I subscribed to DirecTv. Problem with getting my receivers (with TiVo) to work. So I wanted to get them fixed in the U.S. So, at the U.S. border, I declared them, and was subsequently pulled over. They were very patronizing, very agressive (the testosterone was flowing like the Niagra Falls), and accusatory.
    They said the 3 receivers would most likely be seized and I have to pay a fine. WHY? Well, “we don’t know the country of origin”. Well, I have the duty from Canada Customs that showed that I declared and paid duty from these U.S. items from the U.S.A. And that I have the receipts from the store, and the DirecTv subscription form….so they are from the U.S. “Well……we think your hacking them and sending them into the U.S.” DirecTv isn’t hacked….DUMBASS!!! (okay, I didn’t insert the Dumbass remark). I can’t get these to work. “Well…..sit out in the waiting room”. So, back and forth in the waiting room and office. Being accused of something I didn’t do. Having the officer say “LOOK, WE’RE GOING TO GIVE YOU ONE LAST CHANCE!!! WE KNOW WHAT YOUR UP TO!!!” Hmmm, trying to get my DirecTv subscription up and running so I don’t have to watch Inuit’s burn whale blubber oil and watch Cottage Life over and over on Canadian Cable.
    Come on!!! For more than an hour, I get the treatment that a true smuggler or terrorist should get. GEEZ! AND I DECLARED THEM! HAD ALL THE PAPERS FOR THEM!!!
    At the end of an hour and a half, they said they would give me a choice. They couldn’t refuse entry because I was a U.S. Citizen (holding a valid U.S. Passport), so I could go back to Canada with the receivers or have the receivers seized and go into the U.S. (which defeats the purpose of returning them to the store to get them fixed/replaced. So I choose to go back to Canada. The burly, over-bearing officer placed the paper on the windshield,”return to Canada-3 satellite receivers with no proof of origin”. Canada Customs laughed. They couldn’t believe it, especially since I had all the paperwork. Paperwork that the Customs Officers scratched their heads over. It seems that U.S. Customs doesn’t train their people on Canada’s duty and importation/exportation paperwork. BRILLIANT!!!

    Well, that was last week, this week I went to a concert in the U.S. AND GUESS WHAT???? I was pulled over immediately. It seems as soon as my plate was entered, the officer was filling out the paper to have me inspected. The officer inside asked with a sly grin if I know why. And I said why? He said, “you don’t have any receiver’s do you?” No, I’m going to a concert. I had all the proper papers for the previous encounter. He said that didn’t matter.

    SO HOW MUCH LONGER DOES THIS GARBAGE GO ON???? FOR LIFE? Do I need to change my license plate? Would that help in not getting pulled over?
    All this stupidity…..and the global war on terror is……what???? Still on the back burner while people like myself are more important than Bin Laden???

    By the way…..we still haven’t caught him….but that doesn’t matter…does it? (INSERT MAJOR SARCASM HERE)

    Trebor.
    P.S. Only 2 more years until the idiot is out of Washington…thank God….but the next President will have to spend his whole first term in office fixing Bush’s freaking mess!

  151. Tam Perth says: (permalink)
    January 1st, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Interesting read.

    UK passport holder looking to bring family to US (Las Vegas, Arizona, California holiday). I was arrested once in UK many years ago and released within 60 minutes – never prosecuted or convicted. I believe I therefore have to get a visa (day trip to London $300, visa $100, police record request $60). I need that hassle just to come and spend my $20,000-$25,000 in the US.

    I have booked three weeks in South Africa instead.

    Has anyone in the US worked out how much tourist money the US is losing through their current actions?

  152. tiarja says: (permalink)
    January 17th, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Hi Everyone..

    I’m a student (UK Citizen) Visiting the US for Gap Year purposes.

    i recently booked a single ticket to the NYC with the intention of booking my return when i arrive.. mainly because i’m still undecided of my depature date so i didnt want to book the return as of yet. i do not intend to stay over the 90day visa waiver. although my problem is..
    will i still get through the US Immigration?

  153. Paul Bergbusch says: (permalink)
    January 28th, 2007 at 11:40 am

    I would definitely recommend having that return ticket with you. I believe it’s one of the basic requirements for obtaining entry as a visitor. Immigration will often ask you if you have a return ticket, and will sometimes ask you to produce proof. If you buy a standard return ticket, usually you can change the return date later for a small fee (sometimes they’ve even forgotten to charge me the fee, but that was a while ago). The cheaper tickets sometimes don’t allow you to change dates, so I think the extra cost is worth it in this case.

    I speak from experience, not from entry into the US but from entry into the UK. I am Canadian, working in the UK on a 5-year ancestry visa. My girlfriend has dual Mexican/Canadian citizenship. She has come to visit me in London a few times in the past, for up to a couple of months at a time, and each time she’s come, immigration has gotten increasingly stingy.

    Over the holidays we went to Sweden, and on our arrival back in the UK at Stansted airport, she was detained, questioned, fingerprinted, and generally harrassed for TWELVE hours, because (1) she admitted she did not have a return ticket to Canada; (2) she admitted that she did not work anymore in Canada. I called them many times during this TWELVE hours trying to figure out what was going on, and eventually they decided to question me also. They questioned her and I separately about the nature of our relationship.

    So they naturally assumed that she was in the UK to stay, because she had no return ticket, no job to go back to, and a boyfriend in the UK. Which is in fact incorrect — she had every intention of returning. But I suppose the immigration people can only go by what they see… I suppose we could have lied, but I’m a crappy liar.

    They were going to send her back to Sweden, but I talked them into granting her a temporary stay, and she flew to Mexico about a week later.

    We’ll be getting married in Mexico in the near future, and at that time she’ll apply for a marriage visa to the UK (with a lawyer’s help). But I worry that her name is on a list somewhere, and she’ll be hassled again when she tries to enter the UK (and other countries), with valid visa or not…

  154. abdulsalamsheikh says: (permalink)
    February 8th, 2007 at 11:05 am

    RESUME

    Ø NAME ABDUL SALAM SHEIKH

    Ø FATHER NAME ABDUL KADER SHEIKH

    Ø MOTHER NAME KANIZ FATMA SHAIKH

    Ø ADDRESS VED VYAS COLONY RATAM (M.P.)

    Ø CITY RATLAM (M.P.)

    Ø OCCUPATION JOB AS COM.OPERATOR IN BSNL

    Ø EDUCATION B.COM With (COM)

    Ø AGE 24 YEAR

    Ø SEX MAIL

    Ø MOBILE/PHONE NO. 9926080381/9107412264350

    Ø EMAIL ID. ABDULSALAM_RAT@REDIFFMAIL.COM

    Ø FAX 07412-264390

    Ø EXP. 4 YEAR EXP. IN COMPUTER FIELD

    Ø UNIVERSITY VIKRAM UNIVERSITY(UJJAIN)

    Ø QUALIFICATION B.COM.(WITH COM.) C, C++,SQL,ADOBE

    PHOTOSHOPE,PAGE MAKER, DRAW11,

    & OTHER OFFICE PAKAGES.

    Ø HOBBY CRICKET, MUSIC, CHAT ON INTERNET

  155. rajesh says: (permalink)
    February 23rd, 2007 at 7:03 am

    Come to India…. Everyone is always welcomed here. Yeah not a rich country like USA but more beautiful than you can imagine. The crowd, the traffic, the zeal, the variety, the food, the unity in diversity, the music and i can go on and the list wont end. You better come to India and see it for yourself.

  156. Not easy to enter US soil says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2007 at 9:40 am

    [...] US visa-waiver program [...]

  157. bob the chef says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    sandis: that’s completely irrelevant and such common knowledge and old news (as in, like 50 years old). you can’t enter cuba on an american passport for different reasons than what is being described here. while some of 2600′s stuff can be interesting/amusing (rarely), it is mostly a pile of worthless rubbish. you enter cuba as a national of another country (that is, someone like shuttleworth who has dual citizenship – i don’t know what mentioning your other citizenship would do at customs). i actually don’t know what relations the uk has with cuba, but i’m guessing there is none of that embargo/entry crap going on since canadians can enter cuba, no problem.

  158. bob the chef says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    sandis: that’s completely irrelevant and such common knowledge and old news (as in, like 50 years old). you can’t enter cuba on an american passport for different reasons than what is being described here. while some of 2600′s stuff can be interesting/amusing (rarely), it is mostly a pile of worthless rubbish. you enter cuba as a national of another country (that is, someone like shuttleworth who has dual citizenship – i don’t know what mentioning your other citizenship would do at customs). i actually don’t know what relations the uk has with cuba, but i’m guessing there is none of that embargo/entry crap going on since canadians can enter cuba, no problem.

    i am not a US hater by any means (there are pluses and minuses to each country), but we are living in many respects in a society similar to soviet russia when it comes to privacy and imperialist mentality (russia is still in that mindset, mind you. that is why a b&w ‘anything against the US is right’ view is so stupid…well, it’s not even worth mentioning because i would do better for my sanity). the part that is worse about the US gov’t is that it is far more successful as fooling its citizens into thinking they have their best interests in mind, and keeping a lid on their activities targeted at freedom. While its true that a good many people in Russia are still as blinded as they were under the Communists (who are we kidding, the same guys are in power), believing that Russia was somehow the savior of mankind (just listen to what some have to say about the Red Army, their praise of Putin and related sadness ), the US is far less conscious of its gov’t's manipulation. People are also too bogged down in the rat race to notice these things (somehow, I don’t believe that to be purely coincidental, but that’s for another day).

  159. digital guerrilla / papers, please says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    [...] Ah, America. Where you’re free and even encouraged to travel as you please without restriction. Well, unless you’re Belgian or South African. And, in a few years, unless you’re an American: The REAL ID Act requires that a REAL ID driver’s license be used for “official purposes,” as defined by DHS. In the proposed rule, DHS is proposing to limit the official purposes of a REAL ID license to those listed by Congress in the law: accessing a Federal facility; boarding Federally-regulated commercial aircraft; and entering nuclear power plants. DHS may consider expanding these official purposes through future rulemakings to maximize the security benefits of REAL ID. [...]

  160. Dr. Hubert Kleinpeter says: (permalink)
    March 29th, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    Dear Joi,

    The war on terror appears to be a war on citizens; it is a war against nature and culture. Recently the justice department attempted to seize and destroy a book i am writing about how the rise of the american police state was institutionalized by the war on drugs – the model – the template of the war on non white americans…American needs to lift the prohibition against cultural influences. The history of the US is essentially of a culture composed of Bibles, Guns, Whiskey and slaves – be they poor workers or out right servitude……

    I agree, America is relegating itself to a minor player in the new world economy…Other nations are inventing technologies of the future…The future will be led by non Americans developing information, ideas and new sustainable technologies which will be shared and not carved up and sold to the highest bidder… I agree, America is increasingly becoming non important…especially when it invest in violence and oppression….Perhaps the concept of replacing a monarch with a political state, then ranking this world by the power of a gun…the nation state is a failed, or an exhuasted concept…we are all creatures of the earth…we are earthlings all…

    Warning: Stay away from America – it evolved into an oppressive technocratic machine chewing us all up..

    Dr. Hubert Kleinpeter

  161. Bev Martin says: (permalink)
    April 3rd, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    My mother has been turned down for a visa to visit me from South Africa in the US.
    She has been several times before and always leaves exactly when she is supposed to. She has no intention of living in the US and just wants to visit her daughter and granddaughter.
    Do they really believe that security is compromised by grannies visiting their grandchildren?
    I am very sad that families are kept apart and for no reason that I can see. Having grown up in South Africa in the midst of the troubles, I do know what it feels like to live in a police state with censorship and a lack of freedom. Will the US bottom line not be affected by turning away so many toursit dollars? Does anyone have any suggestions to apply for a tourist visa and to make it plain that a grandmother visiting her child and grandchildren is a blessing not a threat?

  162. David Rooney says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Mark,
    Like a lot of the comments left here, my story is so what like yours. My father was born in America to Irish parents who where Green Card holders. My father from about the age of 7 was raised in Ireland. Where he met my mother. They got married and had me and my older sister. In 1985, my Father got me, my mother and sister green cards and we moved to New York. But after my parents slit in 1988, we moved back to Ireland and my father stayed in America. In 1993 my Mother gave the US Embassy in Dublin mine and my sisters green cards back. And in return we got 10 year holiday visas so we could see our father. When my Mother gave back the Green Cards the Embassy assured her that it would never come back on me and my sister.

    Since 1993 I have made about 76 trips to America. And not once did I ever over stay. When the holiday visa expired in 2003, when I was 20 I just used the visa waiver. A lot of the trips I made where for no more then a week. So I didn’t really feel a holiday visa was needed. Everything was grand, I would get asked extra questions about my Father and my trips to America. And I would always carry copies of his birth cert and any other documents I felt they would ask about.

    On the 8 of November 2005, I was returning to America for my Fathers birthday and Thanksgiving. I got stopped in Shannon Airport by Irish born US immigration staff. The gentleman that was reviewing my documents appeared to be nice and asked me the usual questions. Then he asked did I have legal status in America and I told him straight out NO. He told me he wanted to double check I didn’t and asked me to follow him and have a seat out side the office. After about 15 minutes I was called into the office. Where for 3 and half hours I was questioned. They told me I was living in America, which wasn’t true. And thats why I was going back. No matter how many times I told them, they kept saying I was living in America. It was 3 immigration officers questioning me all at once. I had to at one point ask for one of them to leave as the office was small. All during these questions, they kept writing on the computer and taking notes. When I asked to see what they where writing, I was told I wasn’t allowed to see. That the freedom of information laws in Ireland and Europe didn’t apply, they told me under American law they didn’t have to show me and if I wanted to see I would have to contact DC. But I was refused entry into America, so how could American law apply. All the while they where trying to put words in mouth and twist things to make the case stronger for them. The whole time I was made to feel like I was a criminal, I don’t have a criminal record at all.

    After my return to Dublin the next morning (because of them I missed the last flight to Dublin and had to stay in a hotel). I headed straight to the Embassy. Got an appointment a couple of days later and I was flat out refused. I have applied for a visa 2 times since then. Each time refused straight out. Last July my sister got married in America (to an Americian), the Embassy wouldn’t let me go to the wedding. My whole family went and I was the only one left behind. I also have two younger sisters who are America born. One is 3 and the other is 10 months, the embassy wouldn’t let me fly over to see my new little sister and I have yet to meet her. The latest reason for not issuing a visa is I haven’t proved to them I have strong enough ties to Ireland. The company I work for I have since I was 17, I have bank loans, credit cards and a very ill grandmother (who I am close with). I don’t know how I can show them I have strong ties to Ireland or convince them I live in Ireland and I am going to keep it that way.

    Now to me it seems that their reasons for denying me are partly to my Mother giving up my green card. Every time I have been to the embassy they have made it clear they wanted to know about the green card. I was 10 years old when it was given up. It was out of my control.

    I am planning a visit to the embassy next month, and this time my Father is coming over to come with me to see he him being there helps. Fingers Crossed!

    - Dave

  163. archie says: (permalink)
    May 26th, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Many of US citizens said in their posts:
    “We do you a favor when let you enter the USA”.
    That’s right, formally true, I agree.
    Just imagine, how would you feel, if YOU, a CITIZEN of UNITED STATES, would had problems passing any border?
    You do not know, guys, what the hell it is, when you are considered as shit, when passing the border, just because you do not have US passport.
    Yes, it IS a discrimination. And yes, USA is a country with double standards. You’ve just proved that with your posts. You cry out about democracy, but thats bullshit. Total, overall control is what you have.
    Canada is slightly better, but big brother is watching it.
    Considered to apply for canadian visa after two years under Work Permit, now am thinking about Russian citizenship. Seriously…

    archie
    P.S. Discovered Linux through Ubuntu a year ago, thrown out Windows since then. Thank you for your job! I indeed appreciated it!

  164. Denis Campbell says: (permalink)
    June 6th, 2007 at 8:01 am

    I have never overstayed my Visa, and do not have a criminal record. I have been detained at “Secondary Inspection” several times. I was told that I am “spending too much time in the USA”. I subsequently tried to find out from the INS both by phone and personal interview, what “too much time” means. I was told there are no rules, not even guidelines and that it is solely at the discretion of the Immigration Officer at the port of entry.
    If they said something like – “you have to be out of the country longer than you are in it” that’s fine, but there should be some rules. Then the UK can apply the same rules to Yanks coming here – and see how they like it.

  165. david christopher miedzianik says: (permalink)
    June 14th, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    DEAR ??? i typed blonde haired visa woman, or something like that, into GOOGLE and it came up this site: can i have a date out with a blonde haired b2 visa woman at the us embassy here in LONDON ??? as i don’t have a girlfriend at present ??? and i’m bob dylan’s greatest bbc radio request writer: so i don’t want A SONG AND DANCE about me writing this on your site ??? seeing that bob dylan is just a SONG AND DANCE MAN so he once said: LOVE: david christopher miedzianik :(age 50 years old ): say…med-gen-nick rainmanhallelujah@hotmail.com
    cyber-cafe opposite TRAVASTOCK SQUARE: LONDON: 07847607522 ps: she didn’t give me my b2 visa but she typed into my passport that my visa appilcation had been recieved:
    i have ASPERGERS SYNDROME: so i might be able to act right if she gave me a date out: i have been to the USA about 20 odd times or so: i was in IDAHO SPRINGS, COLORADO, USA,
    on SEPTEMBER 11th 2001: i’ve not been to the USA for over 2 years now: instead i’ve been to PARIS, FRANCE, about 4, or 5 times, or so: I managed to get hold of MR CLINTONS signature on a photo down here in LONDON: so things might start being OK for me from now on ??? CHUCK LEE MAJOR from colorado, was in the military in vietnam war: he told me that immigration things are changing from week to week: so i still might get into the USA OK again one day ??? i get into PARIS, FRANCE, OK on the eurostar: it makes me very, very, angry not have a date out, with a woman, or a girlfriend:

  166. Marconi says: (permalink)
    June 28th, 2007 at 10:11 am

    “World is full of complainers….Fact is, nothing comes with a guaranty. Go on, complain, tell your problems to your neighbors, ask for help…..and watch them fly!”
    They say that in Russia, they have everything mapped out, so everyone can pull for everyone else….that is theory any way….All I know is TEXAS,
    and here…you are at your own”
    BLOODY SIMPLE, Tarantino, I guess.

    But anyway, as I see there is over a million summing up all 2c above, and Mark certainly does not need that….anyway lets help his fortune if it is for the help of Linux community….let me add my 2c

    >>>>Obvious things:

    America is great.
    France can be great, if where not for the French language witch I don’t speak…. :)
    America People can be great.
    French people can be great.
    People can be great.
    Customs is correlated to low intelligence, anywhere.
    Extend to all bureaucratic people, because bureaucracy is a cancer everywhere and it is like entropy, only grows, who has never been to England?
    Linux is bureaucratic, but is getting better :), sorry but I use SUSE, but may change….
    All this Security Paranoia will not change terrorism. But I would check for crazy people everywhere…..even with blue eyes….but certainly with long beards…or hungry kids steeling my fries at Mac Donald’s in Berlin, as it happened once.
    Well, flying is a rich people thing, let alone in a personal plane, I am from Brazil so you must figure out a whole lot world outside the “rich people with colorful visas” countries. And by the way it is huge country using Ubuntu….very nice…
    Rich people can be great.
    I am not rich people, but I do fly sometimes…every rule has an ……..EXCEPTION!, good boy.
    BraSil can be great. But you must be not a Teacher.

    >>>>Not so obvious things,

    As a Mayor (perfectly stupid) up above complained….
    How to get this scenario better?
    If I new It all I would charge, and it would not be included in this 2c.
    More than Mark can afford…
    and more than the value of things that Bush can explode in a 8 years.
    Guess a Nobel would have to go into it as well.
    Just a hint. It has to do with why people get to war, conquer land and kill….so no European excuses here…

    Sorry.

  167. Derek says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been harassed by U.S. Customs at the U.S./Canada border between Detroit, MI and Windsor, ON. For people whose job mandates that they treat people politely and courteously, they have yet to demonstrate those virtues to me. This might sound like sour grapes but I’m not the only one. Friends of mine are afraid to complain because of possible retaliation from an officer. You see if you complain they know who you are but you never get to know who they are and that’s pretty damn scary. They just might have a little notation on the computer the next time you cross the border and guess what? I’m certainly no threat to any government (other than I vote) and I’m continually running into belligerent, condescending, rude, self centered, egotistical, arrogant, pompous thugs at the border in Detroit. (Yea I’m sugar coating it a little). Hey you guys, if you don’t like your damn job – QUIT! Nobody tied a piano to your ass keeping you there. Take that attitude to the private sector and try to keep a job.

  168. Mariah says: (permalink)
    October 16th, 2007 at 4:53 am

    Try Monaco – no passport required. They don’t check your entry nor your exit. They have nice views too.
    BUT it is a bit too small to accomodate the lots of you.

    United State of America – being there a few times, during the time I was in Canada. Frankly speaking, the officers at the entry point were fairly friendly towards me (airport, train, land). BUT I saw what they did to a few of my friends. It was the first time in America. We were on transit. From the group of 30+, 3 went missing. Found them at an area for questioning. Had to do some pleaing for their release – so not to miss the transit flight at JFK. Either its me or that the officers were on coffee-diet, and they let them go. I never asked my friends how they felt. My only conclusion is that, you need LUCK to avoid those hazzles/harrassment.Sometimes its your look, most of the times its the officers’ mood and of cause somebody was mentioning procedures.

    :: With the many “complaints” I still wonder why people still ‘WANT’ to go to AMERICA???

    Travel-wish list: New Zealand, Argentina/Peru, Tibet, South Africa, Mongolia/Siberia. Final-destination: Morocco. hehe

  169. Jeff T says: (permalink)
    November 2nd, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Hey, if you figure out what that new country is, could you let me know? Thanks. Oh, and if that new country is in orbit… drop a rope ladder when you pass over wa state.

  170. Matt says: (permalink)
    November 2nd, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    The freedom was not relinquished for security, but for totalitarianism masking as security. The questioning and the paperwork have no substance, nor does the detainment of innocent people. They just want more control over the citizens and the people buy into it thinking it is for security.

  171. Jeffrey Henderson says: (permalink)
    November 2nd, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    mark,

    You’ve got to get behind Ron Paul, he’ll fix this stuff for you no prob.

    -Jeff
    WikiProtest

  172. The Worlds Smartest Man says: (permalink)
    November 2nd, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    No! I like Ron Paul, but a vote for him is a vote for the Republican party. We cannot give anymore power to that corrupt group of morons.

  173. Nicholas Evans says: (permalink)
    November 2nd, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Mister Shuttleworth, I sincerely need to apologize for my governmnet’s behavior. Demanding to search a foreigner who would have departed on his own aircraft after being informed that he could not stay is completely inappropriate. What the hell possible use is that? It’s just needless harassment. Your situation was *obviously* a misunderstanding and not a soul was harmed by you landing and poking your head inside the terminal, so fingerprinting you and trying to make you into a criminal is also absolutely disgusting.

    I am sorry for your experience. It’s a mark against our own honor.

    I will go so far as to advise you not to come back. The INS is known for detaining people in horrendous conditions ‘just because’ the official on duty feels like it. It is a shameful situation, and I have thus-far been unable to convince my congresscritters to put the kibosh on this bullshit.

    Again, I am deeply sorry.

  174. atomicforce says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 12:37 am

    That is really weird.
    If I had such experience I would not come back US ever,
    Of course some one will say this is “anti-terrorism” procedure… bla bla bla but this is BS to me.
    People have to be treated like people.

  175. hp says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Hi Mark, take a look at Ron Paul – he will restore the constitution AND is an internet popstar..Maybe you also want to support him? Regards from Germany, HP

  176. Ubuntu User says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 12:59 am

    I don’t understand the “poor rich boy” posts. This doesn’t sound like whining to me, just a run down of what happened.

    I think the real point here is that once a country starts to pull this crap it’s likely to start undergoing a brain drain. Happened to the Nazis (see the book “Hitler’s Gift” for example) and while I hope we’re not anywhere near that yet we, as a country, need to be mindful of how far we take this whole fear of terrorism thing.

    The fact of the matter is more US citizens have died in Iraq than from the original terrorist act. And it’s pretty clear now that war was gratuitous. How much more harm are we going to do to ourselves out fear of the terrorists?

  177. Living Off Dividends says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 1:08 am

    land of the free my ass!

    I was often harrassed while flying domestically in the US. apparently my boarding pass always had SSSS printed on it which entitled to me extra-thorough searches.

    I filled out a form online on TSA’s website 2 years ago and then ended the misery. But I totally understand how you feel. If it wasn’t for my wife, I’d probably leave. Go someplace where you really have personal freedom – LIKE DUBAI!!!

  178. Warren says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 1:18 am

    I haven’t been to the Moronic States since the constitution shredder stole it in 2000 and my life is better for it. Like I’m going to let some minimum wage processed food junkie with a grade 4 education determine my fate at an international crossing? There is absolutely nothing of value to be found in the USA. Nothing.

    Hurry up and start trading oil in Euros and let us flush that feeble clinging excuse for a currency, the US greenback, down the shitter for good.
    Even the Canadian dollar is kicking it’s ass for crissake.

  179. Mark Shuttleworth Nearly Strip-searche in US « Celoteh PakNik says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 1:31 am

    [...] More on the Ubuntu founder’s blog [...]

  180. Ubuntu founder nearly strip-searched in US « Troubleshooting PC Problems says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 1:38 am

    [...] More details on the Ubuntu founder’s blog [...]

  181. Lance says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 2:23 am

    Mark,
    As a US citizen I sincerely apologize. Yes, our government is increasingly out of control. I’m not sure that my country is salvageable, but I cling to the hope that it is.

    If you ever find yourself in Colorado, please feel free to call on us- my wife and I. We’d be happy to have the opportunity to show you the hospitality we’d like our country to be known for, and perhaps we could have a good chat about your question of finding a new source of inspiration.

    All the best,
    lj

  182. Alan Carter says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 4:02 am

    The part of the story that I don’t understand was, “… and we returned to the USA.”

    Why?

  183. RJ says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 4:19 am

    Sorry that happened to you, Mr. Shuttleworth. I don’t know much about you as a person, but if Ubuntu is any indicator, then you’re probably a pretty decent guy. Certainly not deserving of that kind of treatment by my people.

    With any luck, the US may yet wiggle itself out of this idiotic quagmire of brutish foreign policy and Soviet-era domestic security. I hope you won’t let this incident prevent future visits. Despite the obvious insanity at the gates, we really are glad to have you.

    Thanks for Ubuntu. :)

  184. Anon Y Mous says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 4:45 am

    I’m very sorry about your hassles, Mark. Reading some of the comments above, I’m very sorry for America.

    Do note that I’m posting anonymously… as a green card holder, I’m worried about opening my mouth. I’ve led an exemplary life in the US over the last 25 years — literally not one brush with the police, not even a moving violation — but I perceive that I could lose my ability to live here and everything I’ve worked for in a few minutes simply by politely criticizing the government.

    I see a lot of posters above are happy that honest people live in fear of America’s new army of secret police and torturers. Where did all these psychopaths come from?

  185. Jack Jebedee says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 5:24 am

    Hey, do you want to buy a Constitution cheap? It was written by some mighty smart fellows, did a whole lot of good for more than 200 years and we’re not using it any more.

  186. ilya says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 6:17 am

    My aunt has multi visa (10 years visa for visitors). She came from Estonia to Miami last week second time this year. Well, they kept her 3 hours in a small room questioning. This is ridiculous. She is 60 years old. This is not the way people should treat each other.

  187. Chaos Motor says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 7:19 am

    If we didn’t do everything we possibly can to ensure that everyone on Earth hates us now, we wouldn’t have to worry about terrorists. This is a problem WE created.

  188. Graham says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Sorry America has turned to such shit, many of us are trying to stop it but the majority always seems to be many steps behind, I hope that eventually Americaw will once again be home of the (relatively) free, but for now all I can do is talk and take action where I can, sorry again.

  189. fp says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 10:13 am

    hey Mark,

    i’m a fellow south african, without the benefit of an english passport – so on my 2 visits to the US i had to get visas via the US consolate in Cape Town.
    the first time i travelled on my own and only managed to get a single entry visa. – that turned out to be a curse as i was delayed and interrogated at each american airport. i was “randomly” picked each time for body and hand luggage searches. notibly i was detained on JFK for 6 hours trying to convince officer O’Neil that Hartford, Connecticut (where i was heading) actually exists. (i think he finally opened google and did a quick search).

    subsequently my wife and i went for a quick trip to the US. we had to get new visas (this time we managed to get 10 year multiple entry ones).
    on arriving at Dulles, the immigration officer managed to find my expired single entry visa in my passport, but didn’t bother to ask me about it and didn’t bother to look further for a new visa. He ordered us to sit in a corner and wait for someone to interrogate us.

    we waited for almost an hour. we thought we were going to miss our connecting flight. Then a badass border controll officer showed up, had one look through our passports, saw both my visas, stamped them and showed us the door.

    i’ve a lot of hope for the US post the next election. i’d love to spend a lot more time there.

  190. Masterbard says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    4 years ago I requested a USA visa and I have never felt so humiliated in my life not only did they treat me like a piece of garbage but they thought I was going to move to their country to live there. why would I move there in the first place? I have everything I need in my third world country. I took proof that I was traveling for business purposes and that I had more than enough money to travel with. but that wasn’t enough for them they somehow wanted more. the US embassy representant treated me as if talking to a terrorist. plus they never give you an explination for rejecting your visa all they do is give you some pathetic paper that says close to nothing. F”"k U USA. I was going to make business with several companies there. fortunately I was well received in China and managed to make great business there. Good luck USA with your stupid policies and laws.

  191. Jack @ The Tech Teapot says: (permalink)
    November 4th, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Ooops, I overstayed my Israeli tourist visa a few times (I was told to by an official) does that mean that getting into the States is going to be a royal pain in the butt? Oh well, I’m not planning on going there anyway. :)

  192. Ubuntu Founder nearly Strip Searched in the United States « Salvador Crissie’s Weblog says: (permalink)
    November 25th, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  193. pankajkumar says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    I have b1/b2 visa for u.s.a.and many time i traveled to u.s.a and this is my 6th trip to u.s.a. and they gave me 6th month visa for stay and after visa immigration they stopped me for chack the baggage and asked many many question and not only 1 officer but 5 to 6 officer arround me and asked many many question. realy i m tired about gave the answer but they no stopped. and they told me your 2nd last trip you stayed illeagle 8 month(this time i have 3 month visa) and (last trip) again i trip to u.s.a and styed 6th month .and those time i have no any problem. but i didnt understand at this time whats the problem and they banned me for 5 years to u.s.a.
    i dont know why ?because my last 6th month trip before my 8th month trip. then my last trip no any problem with me then why this time they banned me why?and this time also first they gave me 6th month visa and after chack my baggage and banned me.
    i went to u.s.a for business purpose and traveling also.then i asked some question what we do about for this problem .i traveled many countryes.
    please help us and give me some advice for my future.they write u can take chance and try to u.s.a.consulate for prove your true story and take another visa
    please help me and give me solution about 5 years banned..
    THANKING YOU

  194. Patriot says: (permalink)
    March 12th, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Dear Sir:

    You were not stripped searched for travel on a non signatory carrier. That is a LIE. That has not and is not and never will be port of the SOP. It must be rough flying on a private plane. It is a shame that you have fly with the rest of us peasants.

  195. Mark says: (permalink)
    March 17th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I know that was a hassel, but I can promise you, Canada is MUCH worse! I am married to a Canadian, and travel up to Onatario often, I have no criminal background, have had nothing in crossing that I should not have, passport and all documents in order, and they have repeatedly brutalized me in crossing, and dispite keeping records and making complaints, MPs and Boredr agents and canada immigration do nothing about it. Canadian border agents are alowed absolute power, so before you complain about the US side, fix your own! I have about reached the conclussion we should shut down the boredr for Canadians, until they learn to be honest and show basic human respect themselves, they just seem to complain alot as a hobby or something.

  196. fun stuff to do in idaho says: (permalink)
    June 30th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    fun stuff to do in idaho…

    You must put a lot of work into blogging this much!…

  197. Musings on Immigration » Blog Archive » Entering America Legally–Not As Easy As You Think! says: (permalink)
    December 18th, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    [...] the fact that you admit you did it will also get you barred from entry. Heck you will even be bounced from the United States after overstaying your visa for one day, leaving one day late, and then [...]