Access Denied: Border Control Etiquette Part 3
The following is part three of a three-part global mobility series on border control navigation for business travellers. Part one is available here.
By Stuart Buglass, VP Consulting
In our first global mobility post on crossing borders as a business traveller, we addressed the basics of a successful crossing: Knowing the limitations of a business traveller and preparing for the interrogation. In the second post, we dropped some intermediate tips on documenting your intended activities, making sure those activities fit the duration of your stay, and the border control politics of certain job titles.
In this, our third and final global mobility post of the series, we’ll treat you to a few more advanced tips on timing your trips, mixing business with pleasure, and whether or not you can fool the border guards into thinking you’re just in-country to see the sights.
Tip 6: Haven’t I seen you before?
The cadence of your trips can suggest work activity. Therefore, having a routine, such as being in-country for the last week in every month, can suggest that you have timetabled local work responsibilities.
Always remember that immigration officers often build a case up over time with information gleaned from a number of visits. Each border crossing you go through is not an isolated event, so be consistent. While you may not remember what you said last time around, the same will not be true of the immigration officials if they’ve been keeping notes.
Tip 7: Meet the family! Or rather don’t…
No matter how tempting it is to tag a family break onto the end of your business trip, we would strongly advise you to leave the spouse and kids behind. Bringing the family along is a high risk strategy: It suggests you are making a new start, setting up home, and possibly planning to disappear into the country and out of the grasp of border authorities.
Tip 8: Business or pleasure?
Are you thinking of entering as a tourist? The Hawaiian shirt and sandals approach has its limitations. The business destinations our clients deal with most frequently tend not to be popular resort destinations, so you may raise even more eyebrows with the tourist angle. Even if you are lucky enough to be doing business in some tropical paradise or charming old-world city, you have to ask yourself the same questions the border authorities will be asking themselves.
What kind of holidaymaker chooses an itinerary of multiple short stays over the course of a year with carry-on luggage only?
Answer: a drug dealer.
Our advice: If you are a business traveller, don’t pretend you’re anything else. It can only lead to trouble (and possibly an internal examination).