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Passport question, what triggers a search?

Travel Forums General Talk Passport question, what triggers a search?

1. Posted by gordyjb (Budding Member 2 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hi, I just joined this web site as I have experienced what seems to be an intriguing occurrence. Two years in a row I have taken the QM2 from Southampton to NY, arriving in NY on the 22nd of December. And each time, while going through US customs, my passport was flagged, they pulled me aside, searched all my belongings, including my iPad and Android phone.

My question is, is this a simple coincidence or is there something on my record that flags them?

Thank you for anyone who might be able to help me investigate this. Truthfully, what I would really like to know is if there is some way I can find out exactly what it is they see when they scan my passport.

Thanks for any help.


2. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

No one can answer you question.

There is a myriad of reasons you might be red flagged. I could list a dozen different scenarios and barely scratch the surface of possibilities. The reasons are literally endless and there is no way US CBP is going to give you a clue, not even to one of their own citizens.

And it could be a crazy coincidence.

Happy travels.


3. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3579 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

As usual, Terry gave you excellent advice. It really does come down to the individual Imm. officer you encounter. What sets off a red flag for one, may not arouse a different officer. They all see the same thing on their computer screen, but have discretion to further investigate. An attorney friend of mine likes girls from Columbia. He has made numerous trips over the last few years. Carl told me that US ICE officers now take him to a private room for a very thorough search. The US just does not like travelers that frequent Columbia. He is always admitted back into the US, but not before an unpleasant experience with ICE officials.

I think you must be prepared for a more intense screening process than the guy behind you. Just the way it is when entering the US. Good luck.

4. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 1260 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!


I have no idea what the chip on your passport has beyond the details you have supplied to get the passport, so cannot answer your question.

But - I suggest you ask yourself if there is anything in your history that might cause the red flag.

If there is nothing, then it is probably a coincidence. If it happens a third time though ......


5. Posted by gordyjb (Budding Member 2 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Thanks guys, I imagine it could just be coincidence. Though I do have a not so clear history. I get pulled a lot at air ports also, but just for drug hand screens... I will let it go, see what happens next year. I will be going to London for a week or so.

Post 6 was removed by a moderator
7. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!


[ Edit: Edited on 23-Dec-2014, at 13:55 by CheersT ]