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Old 11.08.2012, 08:13
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Swiss immigration officer rant

I usually travel back to London every few weeks and go through Zurich airport on my way to a Schengen country.
As the UK is not in Schengen I have to present my UK passport to leave Switzerland. Nothing new there and quite routine.
This time I had the misfortune of coming across an older female officer who looked sour and a real jobsworth type person.The immigration queues were more or less empty but she had sent people away from her desk as it was for EU\CH passport holders only..I roll up all smiley and handed her my passport which she duly scanned. then she said something in Swiss German that I didnt understand so asked her to speak English.
She said "show me your B permit" I was stunned...I dont usually carry my B permit as UK passport holders along with the old EU countries do not need this to enter, but especiallz leave Switzerland. I replied "what?" She said it say on the computer you have a B permit, I need to see it.I was like excuse me but B permits are not necessary to LEAVE Switzerland.
She mumbled something further...lucky for me I happened to had packed the B permit the previous night so slammed it on the counter. she said do you have a problem? I said Yes I do, Ive been doing this trip for 4 years and never have I been asked for this. She replied so have I.
I can tell she was just doing this because she felt she could, as I was in a hurry I couldnt afford to stand there and kick up a fuss. As I left I said loud enough for her to hear but not directed at her "silly bitch" and walked off.

I know, I shouldnt have done that but I felt annoyed that she was doing that because I am not white.Of course I cant prove this but I travel extensively enough and hopefully intelligent enough to spot something like this.

This is the first experience of this kind at the airport but I have experienced other incident at Zurich airport on a number of times that makes me feel the Swiss at the instutuional level are racist.
If it wasnt for the tax deals in CH there would be no reason to remain here.

Sorry, just had to rant.
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Old 11.08.2012, 10:05
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

She was right you are required to have one while living here and that includes being able to show it when asked by customs. We usually carry ours when travelling and despite my EF name most the family travel on UK passports, customs have every right to ask for this document even when you are leaving on a holiday
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Old 11.08.2012, 10:06
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

Sounds to me like you have a substantial chip on your shoulder and suffer from paranoia about your racial background.

Legally you must carry your B permit at all times when in the country. I have been asked to present mine at ZRH immigration and emigration several times. I am white.

You can count yourself lucky that the Swiss are so tolerant - if you behaved like this at US immigration then you'd be in an orange jumpsuit by now.

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Old 11.08.2012, 10:08
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

I've been asked for it a couple of times too. Just handed it over, no theatrics, no drama, no name calling or slamming my documents on the desk. It's a reasonable request and is no excuse to be rude to the immigration staff.

Not sure why you are claiming racism. Was she openly racist to you?

I would be careful getting overly hysterical and gobby at border controls, it could be viewed that you have something to hide and ultimately impacts you and your travel schedule...
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Old 11.08.2012, 10:09
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

I think your being over the top here.

She checks your papers, and because it hasn't happened before, you kick up a strop and swear (behind her back) at her.

The whole the point of border controls is to do just that - check papers.

As for your remark 'if it wasn't for the taxes', you imply you do anything for the taxes. You can have a tax free life in the Middle East - but would you want to live there .... I guess not or you would be there.

Switzerland obviously offers you more than low taxes and if the cost is a border control that does its job, so be it. The security that brings is the reason that those who want to reduce what they contribute to society come here. Shame those type of people aren't nicer.
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Old 11.08.2012, 10:14
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

Some great quotations from your post, " ... because I am not white. Of course I can't prove this ..", I wouldn't have thought that would have been much of an issue, that's a pretty factual thing to figure out.

Love your last sentence, which I surmise sums up your general attitude towards Switzerland, " ..if it wasn't for the tax deals ...".

Sounds like you're really making an effort to blend in with the locals and adding something deep and meaningful to our society. See ya, please close the door behind you as you leave .....


Sheesh
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Old 11.08.2012, 10:20
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

I hardly travel out of the Schengen zone, but when I did, I was never asked for the B permit upon leaving CH for eg Belfast or to the US.

Neither was I asked upon my return from the UK. I was asked for it once, when returning from the US. Although I did hand the B permit with my travel document, the guy behind passport control might have had a bad day and sort of chided me and said next time to put the B permit card inside the travel document and hand them over together. Well, I learnt a new thing then. Since then, it was painless exiting or leaving CH. Never thought twice about it, neither did I ever think it had something to do with my ethnic background.

I do not know the details of their job and as far as I am concerned, if they or their job necessitates it, I will carry it with me and hand it over to them when asked. - simples.

Being asked where you live at passport control
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Last edited by jrspet; 11.08.2012 at 10:47.
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Old 11.08.2012, 10:57
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

I have never ever ever been asked to show my permit on entering. Probably several hundred times now in 13 years. Even when my papers were checked crossing the car border.

I tend to agree that you were picked on form some reason, dont know why. Maybe she was just having a bad day.

But at least in CH there is rarely a queue. Unlike the UK where LCY drives me nuts as non EU generally get in faster than Brits.
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Old 11.08.2012, 11:05
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

The only time I have had to show a Swiss permit is enterimg Austria with a Swiss registered car. Thed did not let me through, so I drove round & crossed sucessfully at the same border 10 minutes later!
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Old 11.08.2012, 11:07
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

You are very lucky she allowed you to travel on. She could easily have called security for abuse. At our local border, if you'd behaved like that they would have pulled your car to the side and pulled it apart
Fact is they rarely DO check, but they are perfectly entitled to do so. Let's hope she hasn't put a little * but your name/number on the system.

Anybody who chooses to live in a country they 'hate' just because of tax deal, should re-assess their priorities asap. Life's too short to live somewhere you don't feel comfortable for 'tax deals' - duh (: Anyway, Zug is tax cheap, but everything else is 2 to 3 times more than here, so what is the point?

Last edited by Odile; 11.08.2012 at 12:46.
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Old 11.08.2012, 11:15
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

border agents are trained to act like they're having a bad day - after all, they're the gatekeepers of a country's borders, not tourist agents. and sliding your B permit inside your passport before you head to the airport really isn't all that inconvenient.
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Old 11.08.2012, 11:21
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

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I tend to agree that you were picked on form some reason, dont know why. Maybe she was just having a bad day.
Maybe because it's her job?

Of the 5 or 6 times I travel in and out of Switzerland per year to the UK, I get asked for my residence permit maybe once or twice.

Who knows what prompts them to ask for it. Maybe they just have a quota to get through to give them a monthly representation, maybe that day they've been told to look out for a woman matching my description, who knows?

If the OP gets sulky about the Swiss border controls he must be hopping mad with their UK counterparts. If he's looking for jobsworth, miserable gits, he's spoilt for choice at any UK airport.
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Old 11.08.2012, 11:29
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

I always find that travelling with 2 passports helps - at least one normally works.
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Old 11.08.2012, 11:47
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

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I usually travel back to London every few weeks and go through Zurich airport on my way to a Schengen country.
As the UK is not in Schengen I have to present my UK passport to leave Switzerland. Nothing new there and quite routine.
This time I had the misfortune of coming across an older female officer who looked sour and a real jobsworth type person.The immigration queues were more or less empty but she had sent people away from her desk as it was for EU\CH passport holders only..I roll up all smiley and handed her my passport which she duly scanned. then she said something in Swiss German that I didnt understand so asked her to speak English.
She said "show me your B permit" I was stunned...I dont usually carry my B permit as UK passport holders along with the old EU countries do not need this to enter, but especiallz leave Switzerland. I replied "what?" She said it say on the computer you have a B permit, I need to see it.I was like excuse me but B permits are not necessary to LEAVE Switzerland.
She mumbled something further...lucky for me I happened to had packed the B permit the previous night so slammed it on the counter. she said do you have a problem? I said Yes I do, Ive been doing this trip for 4 years and never have I been asked for this. She replied so have I.
I can tell she was just doing this because she felt she could, as I was in a hurry I couldnt afford to stand there and kick up a fuss. As I left I said loud enough for her to hear but not directed at her "silly bitch" and walked off.

I know, I shouldnt have done that but I felt annoyed that she was doing that because I am not white.Of course I cant prove this but I travel extensively enough and hopefully intelligent enough to spot something like this.

This is the first experience of this kind at the airport but I have experienced other incident at Zurich airport on a number of times that makes me feel the Swiss at the instutuional level are racist.
If it wasnt for the tax deals in CH there would be no reason to remain here.

Sorry, just had to rant.
Switzerland allows you to stay in the country and you even have a B permit but yet you call them racist? I think your "over-sensitivity" is causing you to become a bit paranoid. If the person at the border control was a person of color would you have felt they were being racist or just doing their job?
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Old 11.08.2012, 12:00
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

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If it wasnt for the tax deals in CH there would be no reason to remain here.
If you're only in Switzerland to save on tax, feel free to leave. It's getting too crowded anyway and we better save the remaining space for those who aren't just here out of greed but actually like living here.
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Old 11.08.2012, 12:07
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

Switzerland is about the only country where I have never experienced customs/border official jobsworths. They are rife in Gatwick.
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Old 11.08.2012, 12:08
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

I can hear a rubber glove being snapped on ready for your next journey....

Just relax
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Old 11.08.2012, 12:13
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

What does really get my back up is the "ESTA controllers" just before checkin to the US asking for my Swiss residents permit. There it really is none of their business.
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Old 11.08.2012, 12:22
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

Here's my humble experience with crossing the Swiss borders (and I have to agree to a certain extent about the racist attitude):

I was on the train from Italy and the only 3 persons with documents checked in the car were 2 guys from Pakistan (or that part of the world) and me
I am white but I was reading a book in Cyrillic alphabet that turned the little red lights in their little brains on. They even asked me for my ticket?!?
However, the same thing happened on the way back to Italy - the Italian customs officer started asking me about where I was travelling, which my luggage was and if I was carrying any jewellery and watches I think it was my newspaper that turned him on.
I consider this first signal system approach rather stupid - if I was to hide something I would dress like a typical Italian (pink shirt, cool haircut, Armani jeans, shiny shoes) or Swiss (sandals+white socks or trekking shoes, 7/8 pants, 20 years old T-shirt, rucksack) and cross the border with no problems.

P.S. The new EU citizens, even though extra-Schengen, do not need a permit or visa to enter Switzerland as tourists, not even passports.
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Old 11.08.2012, 12:29
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Re: Swiss immigration officer rant

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Legally you must carry your B permit at all times when in the country.

got a link for that?

BFM have told me i dont need to carry it, just present it within x days if requested.
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