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  #1  
Old 13.04.2009, 10:42
Isambard Mews
 
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Getting passport checked all the time

Every time I use a train, I seem to get checked by some immigration person.

Today, I handed over my passport and answered the usual questions about where i was going etc. etc. The guard then took out a torch and began scrutinising the passport all over

Then, apparently not satisfied, he took out some device which looked like a pocket microscope with built in light and began to review inch by inch the passport photo page The whole procedure probably took about 3 minutes, but it felt like forever.

Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to avoid this as it's pretty disconcerting.
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  #2  
Old 13.04.2009, 10:49
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

Presuming you are travelling within Switzerland, I suggest leaving your passport at home. Just carry you Swiss-made permit...
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  #3  
Old 13.04.2009, 10:59
Isambard Mews
 
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

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Presuming you are travelling within Switzerland, I suggest leaving your passport at home. Just carry you Swiss-made permit...
unfortunately, i haven't received this yet...

i guess you're saying that the swiss permit will get less scrutiny? i thought an EU passport would be pretty common and would pass easily.
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  #4  
Old 13.04.2009, 11:04
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

Does your photo page have a stuck in photo instead of the newer scanned photo? My husband's passport is forever getting looked over because of this. It is EU but issued in Australia. We have never been asked for ID on a Swiss train though.
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  #5  
Old 13.04.2009, 13:53
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

Are you crossing a boarder at the time?

When I was coming back from Bern on Friday, there were border guards on the train. As the train runs Interlaken to Basel, I was quite surprised.

We went through a time of always being stopped on the motorway border into German (either Basel, or Rheinfelden). Fairly new, British biometric passports taken away, inspected for five-ten minutes, and then allowed on our way. I think sometimes it just happens - you fit a profile for a few months and then keep getting inspected.

The best thing is to keep calm, and don't take it personally.

( One time coming into Basel, the border guard (short, stockily built, and with an attitude to non-whites - I've seen him a few times), gave a black French lady a hard time just for the hell of it - she was in tears of anger and frustration. He insisted on speaking Swiss-German even though I know he speaks French. Some Swiss people intervened and started remonstrating with him, while I calmed the lady down, explaining in French (which of course, the guard overheard) that he's just an idiot, not worth worrying about, he's just picking on her because she's female and vulnerable etc. etc. ... as soon as he could - he fled. Result! )
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  #6  
Old 13.04.2009, 14:09
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

Unfortunately this is very common especially if you're not White( I know it sounds horribly rasict but that's Switerland for you).
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  #7  
Old 13.04.2009, 14:44
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

I'm afraid Ebony is right.

i worked with a non-white colleague who commuted across the border from France. EVERY DAY the border guards would stop her, check her papers whilst waving EVERY other car through. She was a French citizen of North Afrcan descent.

It was appalingly obviously racist behaviour.
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  #8  
Old 13.04.2009, 18:26
Isambard Mews
 
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

OK. I guess I have a triple-whammy 1. Non-white 2. Near border with Germany (but not crossing border) 3. stuck in photo in passport (although this doesn't affect selection for checking) I guess I just need to have every single border patrol check me until they remember me.
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Old 13.04.2009, 19:06
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

I'd ask next time why they are picking you out for special treatment and maybe try some sort of complaint. I'm racking my brain trying to think of the best thing to do as racism annoys the hell out of me. Swiss behaviour doesn't normally change unless someone stands up to them. Banking secrecy is a good case in point.
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  #10  
Old 13.04.2009, 19:56
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

This inland passport checking is a consequence of Schengen. Passports shall not be checked at the frontier. Instead flying squads check inland, particularly in the border vicinity. This is standard Schengen practice.

I have a Swiss passport. Nevertheless been stopped and checked on German and French roads near the border.
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Old 13.04.2009, 19:59
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

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I'm afraid Ebony is right.

i worked with a non-white colleague who commuted across the border from France. EVERY DAY the border guards would stop her, check her papers whilst waving EVERY other car through. She was a French citizen of North Afrcan descent.

It was appalingly obviously racist behaviour.
It is known as "profiling" and also prevalent in Britain, USA, etc.
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Old 14.04.2009, 09:06
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

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Unfortunately this is very common especially if you're not White( I know it sounds horribly rasict but that's Switerland for you).
im white, yet i get my passport checked all the time as well with scrutiny - i guess they are not too fond of whites either.

I have an EU passport, took forever to get the girl in Germany to scan all over it with a microscope - not exactly sure what her grounds would be not to let me in. And here is the clincher, i was heading to the country of issue, and they took it away there as well - i guess they dont like one of their own citizens returning either. S&*t happens, just live with it - i dont blame anyone for it. In my case, who knows what the reason may be. Might not hurt to ask next time.

Last edited by Lex; 14.04.2009 at 09:19.
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  #13  
Old 14.04.2009, 09:37
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

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im white, yet i get my passport checked all the time as well with scrutiny - i guess they are not too fond of whites either.

I have an EU passport, took forever to get the girl in Germany to scan all over it with a microscope - not exactly sure what her grounds would be not to let me in. And here is the clincher, i was heading to the country of issue, and they took it away there as well - i guess they dont like one of their own citizens returning either. S&*t happens, just live with it - i dont blame anyone for it. In my case, who knows what the reason may be. Might not hurt to ask next time.

Few reasons you could look for:

is it damaged in any way?
is the photograph still a good likeness?
have you ever been refused entry into any country?
are you a registered football hooligan?

I have had problems but only going into the USA where my name and d.o.b happen to be the same as an armed bank robber over there. Since thr fingerprint thingy at the airports this problem has gone away.
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Old 14.04.2009, 09:51
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

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1. Non-white

there you go. i have friends non-white always having this hassle, no matter where they go in europe. its a shame, but...
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Old 14.04.2009, 09:54
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

My former boss was black, and his passport was checked ALL THE
TIME! My passport has not been check once except of course when
entering the country.
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  #16  
Old 14.04.2009, 09:55
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

Before they stopped doing border passport checks I used to sail through with my UK passport while my husband got his Swiss passport scrutinised in great detail by the chappies at passport control.

Oddly enough, if he travelled back into the country (CH) on his UK passport, he wouldn't be checked.

Perhaps he looks too shifty to be a Swiss but shifty enough to be a Brit...
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Old 14.04.2009, 11:06
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

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This inland passport checking is a consequence of Schengen. Passports shall not be checked at the frontier. Instead flying squads check inland, particularly in the border vicinity. This is standard Schengen practice.

I have a Swiss passport. Nevertheless been stopped and checked on German and French roads near the border.
I got checked last week while i was waiting at a train station in a village near the german Waldshut-Tiegen border, but the circumstances was rather odd. i had been standing on the platform for about 5mins, when i had to take a call, which lasted all of 1 min, in german. when i hanged up, 2 gentlemen, whom i had noticed standing not 5m from me since i got on the platform, then approached me for my ID. i had only my swiss drivers license on me, but that sufficed and the encounter was quick and painless.

what was odd about this encounter was, as it seemed to me, that i was not on their rader until i opened my mouth.

maybe i have bad breath....
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Old 14.04.2009, 11:13
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

I cross the border almost every day and have rarely been checked. The admission of Switzerland to Schengen has had a negligible effect on me. The targeted checking of non-whites is not confined to Switzerland. I used to cross the German-Dutch border regularly and officials would always tend to go for anyone who looked foreign.

In Basel Badischer Bahnhof, I've been stopped at the border once in the last 2 years, but that was probably because I was running.
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Old 14.04.2009, 11:44
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

My wife is not white and we did not get checked a single time over the last ten or so border crossings to Germany and France- in both directions.

The cops have certain stereotypes and a Asian girl and a white guy in an average looking car with Zurich plates are aparently not dangerous.

Stereotypes are unfair and bad. However, I can understand them: Should they really have a fixed quote and just check every third car, even if number two looks suspicious to them? They do have a lot of experience and as much as it hurts to admit it, most stereotypes have a kernel of truth. And it is not limited to skin color:
I was driving behind a Dutch van yesterday and told my wife before that we will not get checked as they will want to check this one and then send us through. Happened exactly as imagined.
My dad, German, over 60 and driving a Mercedes gets checked nearly every time when he enters Germany from Switzerland: He fits the stereotype for a guy hiding his money I suppose.
Fact is that somebody as my dad, in terms of age and wealth (car), is more likely to evade taxes. So I am not surprised that he gets checked more often than me.... I expect the same to be true for cars with Dutch plates for drugs or non-white people for illegal immigration.
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Old 14.04.2009, 12:14
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Re: Getting passport checked all the time

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My dad, German, over 60 and driving a Mercedes gets checked nearly every time when he enters Germany from Switzerland: He fits the stereotype for a guy hiding his money I suppose.
Then they should check him when going the other way. If he were hiding his money, the car would be empty upon entry into Germany.
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