Welcome to this week’s episode of crazy immigration stories.
Please note that these stories are not fictional but contributed to help you learn a thing or two about travel, visas and everything else.
This was the first time I traveled,from Lagos to London Gatwick in march 2008. I was held back at the airport and kept in a detention room with some other people.Reason for detention was that I was a suspected drug peddler (LMAO) because I bought my ticket same day I was to travel (somebody will not see visa first before they book ticket?). Apparently, this is a red flag for drug suspects.I was scared stiff as I saw people been repatriated.I was finally left off the hook after 6 hours with over 60 questions answered. I did enjoy the trip and ever since had no issues with immigration. – Mr KTip: Answer all Questions calmly, no need for gra-gra all the time.
I once landed in Aberdeen airport, Scotland which is supposed to be easy peasy. I was stopped by a mean looking woman who asked me if I was here to plait hair.
I asked her what she meant and she replied “where is the attachment you brought to plait hair and to sell?”. I almost punched her in the face but I asked her the following questions without raising my voice;
- Is there something in particular you are wanting me to say?
- Did you find any contraband in my luggage because I can see we have not even gone to baggage claim.
She answered me calmly and said most Nigerians come here to plait hair and sell hair and she knows I am not here for that.
I gave her a weird smile and left – Miss T
Tip: I think immigration is set up to piss you off and you should only respond calmly to them.
I was going on holiday to the US and my friend used one of those online travel booking platforms to book my flight. I was to transit in London then Canada and then the US. I got to London and surprise surprise, I could not proceed to the US because Nigerian passport holders cannot transit in Canada.
I was asked to go to the Canadian embassy to get a transit visa which would take 2 days.I called the customer support and they just talked and talked and blabbed that they couldn’t do anything and my route cannot be changed, etc. It was truly humiliating.
Luckily for me, I had a UK visa and could stay in the UK for the remaining part of my holiday. Summary of the story – I didn’t get my money back and my return was not through London , so I had to book a fresh return ticket. – Miss B
Tip: Online booking platforms are from hell sometimes. Also, Nigerians cannot transit in some countries like the US , Canada and two Schengen states on one trip without a visa of these countries. I hope people learn from my experience.
We hope you have learnt a thing or two. However, we will re-iterate the points again;
- You cannot transit in more than one Schengen state on one trip e.g Stop over in France and then Spain on one or more legs of your trip. However, if you have one stop over, you are good.
- Always speak calmly to immigration officers. We know you are right but speaking in low tones saves time and energy.
- It is wiser to use an agent that you know and can talk to when you have problems but If online booking platforms are your thing, then go for it.
Till next week