Questioning by customs

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    I have arrived @ JFK T4, on a flight from Panama at 3:00 AM, While passing thru US Customs, the agent wrote something on the customs declarations form and sent me to a counter with another agent to be inspected. He held the form and the US passport, I was questioned by US Customs and searched thru, the main question was if I had diamonds, had family or relatives in the diamond industry or knew any diamonds dealers, and if I was coming from Israel via another country to the US.

    I was searched all around specially the small pockets.

    Then the agent wrote something on the form and returned my passport.

    Please share your experiences.

    I am a US Citizen with a US passport.


    When I was dating I used to fly in from Canada with a US passport and they would always get suspicious abt why I would need a suitcase and a suitbag for a 2-3 day trip. So one time I got pulled over and they found some stuff I bought in NY with the tags on…

    They let me go 🙂 but after that the next couple of times I flew – I always got sent to the person who searches through your bag.


    We got pulled aside once and they were inspecting my father very closely. They called in few guys and studies his passport, we didnt know what was going on! Finally they said you look and have the same name like someone that we are after. Have a safe flight!


    Phylis: What was the name of the name of the criminal that customs was keeping an eye out for? J/K



    Panama is known as a destination for fugitives, money launderers and other fine citizens. There is illicit jewelry related trade that goes through there as well.

    I have:

    1) Brought Cuban cigars in not knowing the law (I thought you could bring them for yourself) – while I won’t do it again and the cigars are d-eck anyway, they now tell you in European duty free that “everyone does it and they don’t check anymore”.

    2) Come in with far more than $800 worth of stuff from EY which I was willing to declare so that I left my declaration amount empty.

    3) Brought in an extra bottle or two from Duty Free (not going overboard – just 1 or 2 extra).

    and never did I have a problem. The only thing I have been asked is whether I have food, I tell them if I do have perfectly legal canned food with me, and that is that.


    My family members say there is something suspicious on my passport. I agree 😉

    I’ve never had a smooth check in or come back.

    Always: open my suitcases, ask many detailed questions, watch my face carefully, ask about the items inside my suitcase. ]


    Security- what’s in that small container? Me- craisins. Security- craisens? Me- yeah, you know, dried cranberries- craisens. Security- watches me suspiciously then nods and moves on to next item…

    I have many more stories, but can’t share for obvious reasons.


    I live in a midwestern city. This summer I went to Seattle on vacation and while I was there decided to go up to Vancouver for the day. When I was going into Canada the customs agent asked how long I would be staying. I said just for the day. Then she asked what I planned to do while I was there. I shrugged and said “I don’t know … have lunch.” She looked at me over her glasses and in her very best incredulous tone said “You came all the way from midwestern city just to have lunch?” I was tempted to tell her she should work for the Dept. of Tourisim, but decided to leave it alone.


    Areivem!! LOL! Did they explode the craisens too?


    About 20 years ago was with a group of friends driving across the border to Canada near Niagra Falls. At the border the customs agent asked the usual questions, do you have any firearms etc…

    A fellow ion the car decided to be a wiseguy and reply “sure, what do you need?”

    Longest border crossing I ever experienced. About 4 hours later we were putting the seats back into the car.


    jphone- I think we’re related… but only if that happened about 35 years ago, not 20… heh


    Another relative of mine: Many years back security used to ask questions like do you have a criminal record, is your father a criminal etc. So he decided to put up this tough guy act and says sure, my dad’s the biggest criminal out there- so sue me.

    Security has a different sense of humor.


    No. They just screen the wrong people. Somehow the illegal manage to come through.


    jphone… that sounds farmiliar!

    we had to go through the canadian border on a camp trip years ago, and they warned us a ton of times, that another division went a week ago and got stuck for 10 (!) hours at the crossing because some camper made some wisecrack…!

    chacham from the manishtana…


    Funny how when I passed the border on a school trip and someone made a wise crack joke, the guy just laughed and went on.


    areivim: must be the red beard that causes that at border fro you! ;P

    jphone: ha awesome one there!

    i wish i could share some stories here…but would blow my cover to bits! ;)))


    I was once traveling with my elderly uncle. My uncle O”H was really not well at the time and was in a wheel chair. As we passed the security, out of all pple, they started questioning him, making him stand up, take off his belt etc, these activities were extremely painful and difficult for him.Out of all pple, what did they think this elderly ill person was carrying??


    One of the worst names to have if you want to work in the airport: Jack…

    HI Jack!! (I know someone who has relative named Jack who said that they dont say hi that loudly in aiports cuz people start to look at you more carefully….)

    Seriously, a relative of mine went through security and was told “please step to the side”. Doesnt look like a criminal, more like the lawyer look (suit, white shirt ect), nothing wrong on his passport or anything, but when asked why he was chosen, “If we pull you out, we can pull 3 suspicious people (ie Mohammeds). We cant pick people out of the line based on how they look, so if we pick you, we can pick them…”

    That’s why they pick a few handicapped people or people they know are ok. Also, cuz they never can be sure! That little granny sure looks like she is plotting something…


    I was once passing thru customs and I was wearing a fall wig with a hat on top. They made me take off the hat and when they saw the fall their faces turned white!!!

    Oh and they usually are stricter with frum people before the holidays because of food and lulavs etc. That’s when they stop you!


    not exactly in regard to customs… but is funny and sort of fits here after mybat’s post!

    i was once driving with my mother from a long trip, and we were heading through Manhattan by the check point, right out of the tunnel! so my mom is holding her shaitel on a long white shaitel head on her lap, cops swarmed our car to check out what was going on in my car! after a few seconds of blank stares into my car by the cops, they all burst-ed out laughing when they saw a wig on a stick like that!

    mybat: welcome to this wonderful CR! join the CR fun around here!


    omg, jax! That IS funny!


    well… on our way home from the mountains my mother was holding her sheitel (front passenger seat) when suddenly a cop pulls us over. The cop looks inside the car and discovers… a wig on a foam head.

    He thought it was a child on her lap.

    Coincidence? hmm…


    happened 2 me last week in Israel. Was on kvish 1, cops flashed us over, saw a head sticking out the boot, thought it was a girl sitting there 😉 turns out it was my sheitel on a head. (the head was not foam, it was these real looking ones – skin colour with a picture of face.. the type that come with hair on – 2 practise cutting)

    He was convinced that we were hiding s/thing. Got us all out the car… and found my wig!


    Lol! People must think we are crazy because of the wigs! Like we belong to some kind of cult!


    that’s what i think about people who go out in snoods – a wig can s/times pass as hair, but a snood?? – i never go out in a snood – i feel people think i belong 2 some weird kinda cult!!


    Once we went on a trip to a certain country that is known to be anti semetic and I was scared that the comb in the wig would activate the metal detector! My husband had to walk around with a type of hat instead of a yarmulka!


    well seems like the story i posted isn’t that uncommon! 😉


    Usually the skirts and long sleeves make us stand out and they usually don’t realize we have wigs on. They think were like amish or something!


    Yeah, like maybe we should begin a thread on Wig Stories!

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