Monday, November 05, 2007

Travel Stories, But Not Mine...

A few years back my daughter was teaching English in New Caledonia for seven months. The school where she was teaching arranged her work visa. Unfortunately it expired on her last day of work. Which wasn't very helpful, since the next flight out of the country was two days later.

It took several months of French bureaucracy to get it extended by a few days. In the meantime, we joked about it: "What's the worst they could do? Send you out of the country on the next available flight!"

Well, apparently that's not the worst that can happen if you find yourself with an expired visa. Not in the United States, anyway. This story recently hit the newspapers here (although in a very minor way, compared to the All Blacks not making even the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup).

Apparently Rick was trying to leave the US for Canada, where he had a job lined up, thinking his visa expired the next day. He had made a mistake, it had actually expired 6 days earlier. He asked a border security officer where he could catch the bus over the border, and was promptly arrested and held without charge on antiterrorism laws.

I gather he is now back in New Zealand, having had to pay around $3000 US for an air ticket (they come very expensive if you have to buy one at short notice). What happened to the job in Canada, I don't know.

Everyone, be really, really careful with your visa dates. But doesn't it all seem a bit heavy-handed for someone who was on his
way out of the country, anyway?

(Yes, I will continue with my travel diary, in a day or two. It's coming to an end and I feel the urge to drag it out a bit).


Anonymous said...

And apparently he had read the date wrong so wasn't purposely over-staying. Glad he's home safe and sound.

chiefbiscuit here - I came a funny way by way of NaNoBloMo and have yet to sign in (I guess it's like coming in the window instead of the door!)

Jan said...

An anonymous CB!
What's The World Coming To??
And through the window too...
You should have let me know when you were in N England...I think you'd like my little city!

paris parfait said...

What's happening in the US now is ridiculous, infuriating, outrageous! As an American, I'm embarrassed by these Draconian measures and stupid snap decisions. Am praying the next president can begin to clean up the trail of destruction Bush has left in his wake.