i am goin to the USA over the xmas.. I have a British passport, but I've been around to the middle-east a bit.. ive got stamps from jordan,syria n algeria..... i am ethnically chinese (probably makes little difference) but i was wondering, does anyone know how strict US immigration is atm about this kinda thing? hopefully im just being paranoid, but if it makes things easier, i could prob go get an emergency passport... could do without the hassle.!!
You won't have any special problems. Though they probably will run you through the computers to make sure you aren't on any watch lists.
Actually, you might have problems, but it depends completely on the immigration official helping you. They have absolute power, there is no oversight, and if you try to enter on a visa waiver, you waive the right to any appeal.
You might breeze through, but it's definitely not inconceivable that you'll be facing a barrage of very detailed questions to your exact purpose in going to those places in the Middle East, and on your plans for while you're in the USA. And if this one guy doesn't like your answers, he can deny you entry, just like that. There is no way to know in advance.
(I'm not certain if getting a new passport would help you any either; they're bringing together ever more databases, and it's quite possible they've reached the stage where all your past travel is accessible to them right there and then. Plus, getting a new passport if the old one isn't close to being expired yet might also be classified as "suspicious"...)
ok cheers guys.. basically from what youre sayin, theres nothing i can really do to help things before i land, so might as well just tight and hope...
Didn't have any problems a couple of years ago, when entering the US but I entered from Canada, so it might be easier than flying directly into the US.
I had stamps of Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Syria and although there wasn't any proof for it in my passport I had been to North Korea earlier that same year, but obviously they did not know.
I was just asked some simple questions and that was it. But like Sander said, I could have been lucky at that time and with that border crossing, although I entered the US again a week later at another point without problems again, and that one was Niagra Falls.