Arrival at the immigration

Even if I’ve traveled to this country dozens of times, I still sometimes feel anxious when I pass thru their immigration. I think it’s mainly due to the horror stories that we hear from other tourists. In my own experience, some officers are grouchy. Some could be condescending. But some are nice and sweet and curious about our country. Generally, they’re all okay. They’re just doing their jobs.

What I do is to just fill out the forms truthfully. Their questions are fairly standard like what’s the purpose of my visit, where I will stay, what I will do, how long I will be staying, when was my last visit, how long did I stay. How much cash I am bringing in.

Remember the rule, it’s LEGAL to bring in any amount in cash and/or negotiable instruments (checks, demand drafts, etc) AS LONG AS YOU DECLARE THEM. Count the total cash you and your family companions have in your possession to make sure you don’t reach $10,000. If you declare $5,000 and then if they checked and you have a total of $10,050 they might take away your money like what happened to Dra. Belo. They have the prerogative to confiscate your money. Those with money flowing out of your faucets, do not bring in swads of cash. Some passengers think they are smart by hiding their cash in their pockets, in the maleta, sa sipit-sipit.

One must be aware of the rules in each country you are visiting so you avoid some unnecessary delays while at the immigration counter.

There was a friendly guy there before named Williams but I believe he’s been retired for a few years.

For me there’s no formula in entering this hospitable country. I called them hospitable because they give ten years visa validity as compared to majority of the countries who give out one visa per visit, or multiple entry visas but with shorter validity like a year or even a few months.

I appreciate the fact that I don’t have to go to the US consular offices in Dewey Boulevard (Roxas Blvd to younger generation) every year. It’s a real privilege to be able to plan my visits in an instant and go anytime of the year as my schedule permits.

Thank you America.

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