View Full Version : USA crew visa - One rule, one result … yeah right.

13th Aug 2010, 13:20
Here it is, I have to say it.:\
It aggravated me so much, that I have to write a bout it.

We go to the US at least twice a year for business and pleasure, not only in to one Airport, but in to several of them.
Some years ago, when they started with the Crew Visa story, we (The crew) had to obey the law and go get them in order to be able to travel, even though all of us are Europeans and have no need for visas when traveling as pax on commercial carriers.

The first visa was for one year, the second one for 3 years and finally we got the 10 year one.:rolleyes:
So far so good, we all got the famous C-D1 visa for crew-members and did about 12 to 14 trips without a problem.

Here is where it gets interesting??? Nope, let’s call it annoying …

This summer, as all of the previous five ones, we went in to the US for the boss’s vacations.
Started in Boston this time, went to Orlando, Vegas, Miami and … here it comes.
One day, and this is strictly business, we went to Mexico and returned the following day in to Miami.

At this time we went in to the Immigration office, (As always) and after they processed the passengers (2 only) it was time for the crew …
Well what a surprise when the Immigration Officer (By the way … Why do Americans hire Cubans on this post??? Don’t they have real Americans to do this job??? And if you want to give them a job, just make sure they actually speak English … Subject of another thread) asks for the visa …
I told him, here it is, …

NO, NO, you need a B1-B2 …

Well sorry to tell you, but as you can see I’m a crew-member and I have a crew visa, so go ahead and stamp the passport and we will be on our way.

NO, NO way, we have a problem here, since you are in a private plane, you MOST have a B1-B2 Visa, not a Crew visa; that one is only for commercial planes, not private.
But, I have come in and out for the past 6 years with this one and no problem and now you are telling me that all the other officers are wrong???

Yes that is it, they are wrong, you have to have a B1-B2 and that is it …

Long story short, they asked the boss when was he leaving the Country and gave us only to that day to stay in the US and then we had to leave; and all this after several calls to the superior officer and at least 2 hours of waiting and mocking us around.:*

I do accept that they have to protect their Country and that they are doing their job, but … just please for the sake of it, get your F#[email protected]&* act together and standardize the requirements. It is the most disorganized agency I’ve ever seen, but when it comes to harassing you for nothing they are very well able to do it. :=
Now, what is the story about having to obtain permission from Customs to fly within the US, one officer says is only for Commercial or Charters and other one says is for all foreign operators and then they say if it is a private we can go anywhere and then that we have to ask Customs for a transit permit and other says no, we can go as we please after we are cleared to enter … :ugh: etc., etc., etc…
We are going nuts here, and we are getting a little annoyed with the double standards.

There it is I said it, and I’m ready for the coming insults ….

Monkey Boy
13th Aug 2010, 13:33
I have every sympathy with you - I had to deal with immigration in Miami a couple of years ago and they just didn't have a clue regarding Visa issues. Without going into too much detail, they basically said it was down to whoever was on duty on that day, and their interpretation of the rules - they even sent me a Wikipedia link which is what they used for reference! My client was requested to "try their luck, they might get lucky". Very helpful. :ugh:

Bruce Wayne
13th Aug 2010, 13:39

dont get me started on that subject !

13th Aug 2010, 15:56
Similar type of thing - I have a British passport, with a B1/B2 and a C-D1 visa. When I was at sea I wanted to leave a ship off Gaveston area and have a holiday in a place I own in Florida. Wasn't allowed to stay more than 24hrs in the US, had to fly to Mexico, then fly back to Miami and start the holiday.
Again depended on the Imigration official dealing with it.:ugh:

13th Aug 2010, 18:33
and their interpretation of the rules - they even sent me a Wikipedia link which is what they used for reference!
Brilliant! Whip out your multi-media phone, edit the wiki entry, then swan on through as it now specifically says "Mr Monkey Boy is excluded from this Visa rule ..." ;)

13th Aug 2010, 18:47

I had to read your last posting twice in order to understand the meaning of Mr. Monkey Boy!!! :=:=


Congrats to your wife on her new citizenship. At least now she won't be harassed anymore when entering/exiting the country.

13th Aug 2010, 19:13
I had to read your last posting twice in order to understand the meaning of Mr. Monkey Boy!!! :=:=

What meaning?

Mr. Monkey Boy was the poster who made the comment about Wikipedia.

13th Aug 2010, 19:16
Yes, I realized afterwards that Mr. Monkey Boy was the poster of the message.

Monkey Boy also has other connotations these parts. And not nice ones either!

13th Aug 2010, 19:24
Well first off I would like to apologize for what happened, but don't feel like the Lone Ranger on this subject Pilocol. I do so on behalf of your fellow US corporate pilots.

The same type of thing can and does happen to US corporate crews when coming inbound to the US. Now, in defense of US Customs (yeah, an oxymoron if there ever was one) this happens very rarely. Also the worse abuses do happen when clearing in Miami.

I'm assuming that you cleared at KMIA, yes?

If so, you need to do what the vast majority of US corporate crews do, avoid KMIA at all costs. Clear anywhere else in the Miami area, it usually goes much smoother. And if you can clear back into the US in any other state rather than Florida, do so.

As for why it seems the majority of the customs officers are Cuban/American in Florida, I've really no idea for the real reason, except that from my experience you are correct on this, the majority of customs officers at KMIA are either Cuban/American or Puerto Rican.

Anyway, if you can, take my advice and clear anywhere else other than KMIA.

By the way, even when I flew for the US Government we never cleared in KMIA, even when inbound from Havana.

Oh, one more thing. It seems that every customs district is run different than the others, like the manager of each district are allowed to interpret the rules and regulations their own way. So what one district requires is different than the other. Kind of like the FAA FSDO offices.

13th Aug 2010, 19:46
Some of us go through MIA custom and immigration once or twice a day, 15 to 18 days per month..That is 200 times + per year..:sad:

Filed a complaint a couple of months ago on a rude and nasty brown-skinned "officer" with a chip on his shoulder..He has tried to boss and talk down to pilots severeal times..Have not seen him lately, hopefully his azz got fired.:=

13th Aug 2010, 20:31
Some of us go through MIA custom and immigration once or twice a day, 15 to 18 days per month..That is 200 times + per year..

Wow, now just what did you do to someone in power to end up having to go through that? :ooh:

Little side note. Back many years ago I had to clear at KMIA, orders from above. For some reason we were not allowed to clear at the GA customs ramp, but at the airline terminal. So we parked at the terminal, I was flying a Westwind, and we all left the aircraft, cleared customs, however, before we could back out to the aircraft we had to pass through a metal detector. No big deal, right?

Well, no, not right, we were armed. I had a standard sidearm, Colt .357 and all the other people had that, plus the Deputy Director of the Marshal Service, a passenger, also had a small submachine gun, a MAC 10 (?) under his coat. In fact all the weapons were concealed under our outerwear.

As the Deputy Director (DD) was the senior ranking person, he when through the metal detector first. He did not remove his weapons, but went through the detector.

Nothing happened. The DD stopped, turned around and asked the rent-a-cop manning the detector and asked if the machine was turned on. The rent-a-cop said yes, and then the DD pulled out the MAC-10 (or what ever it was) and boy did the poo, poo hit the rotating wind producing device.

People were still running around and yelling at each other while we just quietly walked out the door back to our aircraft.

13th Aug 2010, 20:34
Did it look like this con-pilot?


13th Aug 2010, 20:46
Aw man, we're talking about 10-15 some years ago and I've had a few Scotches since then. :p

It looks like it, but not that big of a square body, thinner and a bit longer. It could be carried behind your back in a holster under a suit coat or sports blazer.

We carried the pistols in standard side holsters under our coats. You know, like real cops. ;)

13th Aug 2010, 21:32
You mean a person posting here has registered a username which "means" something in the USA, but no-one else knows about? :confused::confused:

Honestly - I'm shocked! :eek:

13th Aug 2010, 22:10
Okay, call me stupid, but what is the deal with this Monkey Boy stuff?

I took Pilocol's post as something serious, something that even US crews have gone through and replied in kind. (Well, until sidetracked on the gun thing.)

So just what did I miss?

13th Aug 2010, 23:07

Okay, call me stupid, but what is the deal with this Monkey Boy stuff?

I won't call you stupid. But I will say ..... "Ever heard of Google ?" :ugh:

You should get the idea pretty quickly, and the "urbandictionary" link on page one will fill in the gaps.

13th Aug 2010, 23:29
I won't call you stupid. But I will say ..... "Ever heard of Google ?"

You should get the idea pretty quickly, and the "urbandictionary" link on page one will fill in the gaps.

Okay, which one?

The current occupant of the White House.

a slang word used in the office to brand a person as a slave of another.

A young, loud, boisterous, male prone to excessive alcohol consumption, aggression and immature, obnoxious behaviour. Monkey boys are generally of middle to upper class origin and have a preference for either preppy or jock attire and hairstyles.

Small man who does your bidding. Provides endless literal and figurative amusement. He entertains his superiors by placing a small hat on his head and clapping his hands while dancing around. Man is usually named Armando, or Mandy for short.

A male showing no evidence of proper upbringing, consideration of others, or the slightest civilized manners.
This creature is usually the result of a single parent household without a father around to keep him in line.
Ages can range from 10 to 25.
Why's Eric peeing in the bushes?

The little kid who talks like a pirate, and punches like a parrot.

A male who has simian features, or resembles a monkey, either physically or in his personality. First used about a dog with mange, who with his hairless face, resembled a chimp

Your turn.

14th Aug 2010, 21:29
Thanks for the advise con-pilot i usually don't clear in Miami, this time I was forced to.... the boss was staying in South Beach, I usually do Bangor (Maine) if I'm coming from inside Europe, Boston or Newark if I'm coming from UK ... it helps that the bosses son is in School in Boston, so it is nice to get there and have nice treatment ... especially Bangor, I use it a lot when we go to the West coast, LA and Vegas ..best place for Immi ... Cust ... and Fuel ... Just Great ...

14th Aug 2010, 23:01
I've cleared a lot at Bangor, for a while they got difficult and we started clearing in Buffalo, NY. But I guess somebody in power got the word and Bangor improved greatly, back to where the paxs never had to leave the aircraft, as long as your paperwork was in order.

Glad to hear that you have good experiences with customs as well. Like I posted, we US crews sometimes have to go through the same type nonsense coming home.

Cheers. :ok:

15th Aug 2010, 02:30
I'm a legal permanent resident in the US. I used to fly quite a lot of 135 trips to the Bahamas and pretty much never had an issue with getting back into the US. My last few flights under Part 91 have been a pain in the arse. Each time I've been held (for an hour or more) while they do 'something' in a backroom with my documents.

They've wanted passport, greencard, pilot licence & medical. No explanation of why. It seems I've become flagged for some reason. I'm told I have no legal issues, no immigration issues but still their system throws a wobbly when I enter. One C&I officer suggested a FOI request but doubted it would do any good. She reckoned it was going to continue & the only way to clear whatever the issue is would be to apply for citizenship.

I bloody loathe doing international trips now. It used to be dealing with C&I was a mere pain in the arse but now it's a loathsome, miserable & stressful experience wondering if I'm about to be arrested or refused entry to the US (my country of residence) & family.

unstable load
15th Aug 2010, 10:13
I was part of the crew on a ferry through the Caribbean to the US in a helicopter with a YV-XXX registration and 3 different nationalities on board clearing in at West Palm Beach which had been the scene of a serious going over for my boss a few years back (which was why I was doing the trip) and to my surprise, it was a pleasure.
Immigration were courteous, customs was thorough but not ridiculous and the worst of it all was waiting for the bloody fuel truck to arrive, which eventually took an hour and a half to materialise after the third call.:*

15th Aug 2010, 18:07
Tinstaafl, I'm sorry to hear that, all I can recommend is to file a FIO (Freedom of Information Act) request to ICE and request the reason for the added attention. It very well could be a case of mistaken identity. If so, there is an excellent chance of having this problem resolved, believe it or not.

It's worth a try anyway.

By the way, have you asked any of the inspectors the reason for the additional scrutiny? Might try that as well. Years ago we suddenly started having all kinds of trouble after we changed the 'N' number on one of our jets, turned out that the 'N' number we had changed to had been on an aircraft that had been suspected of smuggling drugs. We filled out a form and wrote a couple of letters and the problem was solved.

Oh, it wouldn't hurt to contact your Congressman and/or Senator either.

Cheers and good luck.

17th Aug 2010, 16:03
I've thought about that & have started researching the how-to's to make use of the FOIA. Also there's an Act to do with privacy or similar that can capture some info not covered by the FOIA. I have asked each time about the problem and get told there's nothing they can tell me. Meanwhile getting my citizenship application compiled...

17th Jul 2012, 04:39
A short follow up: I gained US citizenship earlier this year and now I sail through US Immigration with just a "Welcome home, sir." Yay! No fingerprinting, no picture taking, no f**king around for over an hour while they dick around in a back room with my documents, sorting out 'something'.

Ancient Mariner
17th Jul 2012, 08:27
Overstayed my Visa period in China, was refused check in at a hotel, had to see local immigration police, very serious case (much teeth sucking), will be very expensive. Immigration officer received electric razor, was very happy, stamps stamped and case closed. Said officer had no visible facial hair.
Would this approach work in the USoA? Methinks not.

PS China in the 90'ies.

17th Jul 2012, 10:26
Can confirm that Miami Customs is a least as big a hassle if you are bringing a boat in. There isn't space to tell the tale here, but the good news from new friends who've been doing this for donkeys is that West Palm Beach is the place to clear!

17th Jul 2012, 12:00
Visa stupidity at KIND a few months ago, tried to check in with a certain airline KIND - KATL - KLAX - YSYD the woman at check in opened my passport to the page containing my Australian bridging visa and promptly told me I wouldn't be traveling that day because my bridging visa had expired. Several times I tried to tell her that if she would turn to the next page she would find my residency (Australia) visa. Several phone calls and a visit by a supervisor sorted things. :confused:
All she had to do was to turn to the next page in my passport like I asked her to do in the first place... :ugh:

17th Jul 2012, 12:03
I worked there for a year, 1980-81.

The hassle I remember best was a trip bringing some gamblers back from Nassau in the wee hours. I had to go to the main terminal since GA Customs was closed. I sent the pax ahead while I took all of one minute to secure the aircraft. When I got to the immigration checkpoint... no pax, and no C & I guys either! When I roused them from their office they told me that I, as the Captain, had to present my pax, the ones they had just let walk through.

I went off to some big golf hotel to try to persuade this small group of sulky, drunken losers to return to the airport with me, when I think I got three out of six to do that. You would not believe the trouble it is, going down the road in a Cessna 402, even when there's no traffic....

17th Jul 2012, 15:51
Pay peanuts.....