Ticking the wrong box

Anyone seen the story of a chap who has been refused a US visa because he accidentally ticked "yes" on the online form when it asked if he was a terrorist?  The US government has refused to review the decision because clearly only a real terrorist would admit to being a terrorist when applying for a visa and wouldn't lie at all.  Similarly they will give a full and frank answer to the question about whether or not they've ever been involved in armed conflict.

No but gut reaction is 'bollocks was it an accident'.  someone tried to have a jolly jape with US immigration.

i have always wanted to tick yes to the communist party question.

Wang I think the guy is in his 70's so entirely possible that he got it wrong trying to fill in an online application.  It's the sort of thing my dad would do because he was doing it on his ipad but didn't have his glasses to hand and misread the question.

It's years since I've applied for a US visa but they also used to have a question about whether you have any chemical, biological or nuclear expertise and I wondered if anyone had ever answered yes to that.  "Sir your passport says your an atomic scientist but you've answered no to the question about nuclear expertise..."

In the hierarchy of form filling I think it's not unreasonable to put visas near to if not at the top.


I’ve played rugby with at least two chaps capable of building nuclear weapons. No idea how they enter this into visa forms but they aren’t brown so suspect they have few problems. 

Was this ticking the wrong box on the ESTA/visa waiver questionnaire as opposed to applying for a visa? If so, you can regularise your position by applying for a visa.

I don't know if they still do this, but pre-ESTA you used to have to fill out visa waiver forms on the flight before arriving in the US. Immigration would then staple part of the form into your passport and this would then be removed when you left the US. On one occasion, my wife lost her form from her passport so there was a concern the US would have no record of her leaving the country. She had to apply for (and received) a visa before her next visit to the US.

Also, looking at the ESTA form, I'm disappointed they've removed the question about being involved in Nazi activities in 1930s/40s Europe.

Probably created too many delays in the immigration lounges if Lufthansa/LOT/Austrian Airlines flights landed in quick succession.

You could probably add Air France, KLM and, at a stretch, Aeroflot to that list.

I'm not aware of any Irish being involved in Nazi activities.

Maybe BA given the activities of the Edward VIII, William Joyce et al?

Presumably those questions are there so the authorities have a ready excuse to deport you. As well as anything else, they have you for lying on your visa / ESTA application if you get found out.

this visa application software has caught many people out. It tracks clicks and unclicks in the drafting process and then compares the submitted version with the drafts and uses that for a basis for further consideration/suspicion. Mate of mine got on the wrong side of this when his PA filled in a form for him and family and then changed it when he looked at the papers before submission.

ESTA is a bit of a pain, I've been there so many times they know who I am, its on their computer screens. 'Sir, did you study here, do you have family members who are US citizens?'

Yes to both, but you can see that already can't you. You never say that of course. It doesn't pay to be sarcastic with US Immigration.

The creepy bit is where they ask you the same bloody questions as last time and then when they're happy you're not guilty of being brown or something finish the conversation with "Welcome back sir"

I had a funny conversation with someone last time I was at immigration in DC.

Her: What is the purpose of your visit sir?

Me: Business

Her: What kind of business?

Me: Legal business

Her: I know it's legal business, sir, I wasn't suggesting it was illegal. What kind of business?

Me: Oh sorry I meant law. I am a lawyer.

Her:  Oh right! (both laugh). I get you now.  I should be better at this. I have this conversation about 400 times a day. Have a nice day!

Legal Business - I write absolute bollocks fed to me by narcissist wankers who buy me wine occasionally 

The last time i had the stony faced 'What is the purpose of your visit Sir?' I said 'Its my Daughter's University Graduation Ceremony.'

'Tell her congratulations', said the immigration officer, becoming a bit more friendly.

Maybe I should just go for the green card and avoid the ESTA hassle.

My granny arrived at US immigration and the lady behind the desk pointed out that granny had not filled in the occupation slot on her passport.  Apparently granny Sails just looked at the lady and said "my dear you've seen the date of birth so do you think I'm still working?"

Last trip I took to the US I got 99/100 on their terrorism score - i.e. just shy of having to go and stand in line with all the Muslim looking people. 

I suspect a result of having multiple 24 hour long trips to the Middle East on my passport...

sails, one US firm I worked at had several partners still practising in their 80s and a couple in their 90s.  those yankees dont like retirement

Heh.  We had a seppo in our Brussels office who was so ancient that after arriving at a leisurely 1030 or so it would take him about 2 hours to get to his desk, just in time to begin the long journey down the stair again to go for a long lunch from which he'd come back at about 3 and repeat the upstairs/downstair process and go home.

We had a very chatty immigration officer at Miami who was keen to tell us all about the fishing opportunities in the Keys and specifically, the Dry Tortugas.  If only we’d been planning to go, or had any interest in, fishing.   And if only we’d not been waiting forever because he’d done this to everyone in front of us.

I once got detained at JFK for two hours as the fingerprint scanner didn't work on me properly.

They didn't actually tell me this, she called over a colleague who scrutinised my passport, just said 'come with me please ma'am' then left me in a scary waiting room with distressed people clearly about to be deported and gave me no further information.

Finally they called me through to a tiny interview room, explained the problem, took me back out and scanned my fingerprint with no problem ('it helps if your finger is a bit oily, ma'am')

I hate that fucking airport

As a kid they tried to refuse me entry because I had less than six months left on my passport.  They were apparently unimpressed when my mother asked if she really looked like a Mexican who as planning to leave her 8 year old behind in the US at the end of her visit.

I got detained on 5 occasions for up to 2 hrs each due to a Syrian visa in my passport. The first time I could understand, why it kept happening was beyond me. Their screens would have shown that I'd been cleared for the same thing before.

Last time I went I ticked the wrong box, and was summarily bummed and shot, with my corpse being hung at passport control as a warning to foreigners. 

Fred the screen probably tells them you were cleared before due to lack of evidence but that another strip search and grilling may finally get you to confess to being a terrorist.


I love the concept of summary bumming. Like there's a due process version of long-form indictment bumming. 

Probably true Sails. Although they never actually asked me anything, just made me wait in secondary inspection.

I did get strip searched in Israel. That was a joy.

Long form bumming is also known as “death by umbongo”

Fred - were they checking whether you were local or not?

Heh, hadn't thought that could be the reason. Luckily the boxers got to stay on.

My sister's ex was an MOD physicist (at the time my sister was a BAE physicist), they were both banned by the UK Govt from travelling to US, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Korea.

the TSA in Texas insisted on going through all my luggage; when they got to the packing cube containing my scanties and johnnies, they welcomed me to the You Ess of A.

TSA guy in San Diego slipped his no. in my passport and suggested that he could show me around.


TSA guy in Chicago as I was entering from some IBA thing made a lame joke about lawyers.

How many johnnies did you get through in the end?

Would be a bit embarrassing if you were discovered leaving with the same number of johnnies you'd arrived with.

"Would be a bit embarrassing if you were discovered leaving with the same number of johnnies you'd arrived with."


Not necessarily. If called up on it, one could always just say "You can't get pregnant from behind, anyway."

Yanks in being inflexible humourless bureaucrats NON SHOCKA

tl dr but if you can’t manage to fill in an ESTA you deserve not to be let in. A blind infant could do it.