Crossing the border into any country is an arduous process. Besides the lengthy lines, you must survive aggressive questioning before gaining access to that country. To make the process less painful, do yourself a favour and avoid the following.
Taking Selfies or Border Photos
Border patrol forbids cameras at customs, including smartphones and tablets, so refrain from taking pictures—especially of border patrol officials. From getting your camera confiscated to hefty fines, breaking this rule will have consequences.
Bringing Fresh Produce into a New Country
Foreign fruits and vegetables are prohibited at customs. Even if you intend to eat them as a snack, you mustn’t bring them to the border. Agricultural pests and diseases threaten domestic crop and livestock production, so border patrol will take no chances with the food you’re carrying.
Interestingly, sniffer dogs seek more than drugs and weapons; they also smell for food. Thus, your bag may be searched if it smells of produce or meat. Should a sniffer dog pay attention to you, let him or her carry on uninterrupted: do not pet the dog.
Making Jokes or Showing Attitude
Friendliness is okay but avoid cracking jokes or striking conversation. Such behaviour delays the process and may even make you look suspicious. It’s better to let the person finish his or her questions quickly and then continue along.
Lying to the Customers Officer
Lies of all kinds can get you into serious trouble. Whether your lie pertains to your travel intentions, declarations or even personal information, fibbing can land you in the interrogation room. Worse, you might be refused entry into the country.
Failing to Detail Your Travel Plans
Ambiguous travel plans are a red flag. Get your story straight—where will you be staying, for how long and when/how will you return home? Without these details, don’t expect to get into the country.
Travelling from High-Risk Countries
If you’re coming from a high-risk country—one notorious for drug smuggling or terrorism, among other threats—the border patrol may pay special attention to you. This includes having said countries in your travel history (passport).
For example, coming straight from Amsterdam, famous for its lax drug laws, your luggage may be inspected more thoroughly than usual. However, having visited Amsterdam years earlier will not affect your current travel. Conversely, having visited a Middle Eastern country may be a continued nuisance when entering countries like the US.