Wednesday, June 4

important info: travel advisory

just received this from my cousin and i thought i'd post it since this is very informative. pls, take time to read this esp if you like traveling from country to country - let others know about it too!

U.S. Immigration , US Dept. of Homeland Security & TRAVEL ADVISORY

This information is very alarming and I think it's worth sharing to save you from trouble and embarrassment.

A Filipino friend shared this email. His friend who works for Homeland Security as Immigration Inspector at LAX ( Los Angeles International Airport ) called him yesterday to share the information that happened last weekend.

A FIL-AM citizen who was flying to the Philippines for vacation was apprehended by an Airport Immigration agent while she was checking in her baggage and going through the X-ray machine. For some reason, she was randomly checked and was told to open all the envelopes inside her carry-on Coach bag. They found 10 envelops addressed to different people in the Philippines. When all the envelops were opened, a total of $11,000cash was discovered.They asked the traveller if she knew the contents of the envelope. She said no, because all the envelopes are just 'padala' and the senders didn't tell her whether or not there was money inside.

Immigration agents showed her a Policy and guidance stating that it is illegal to import and export over $10,000 in any Asian countries to prevent the possibility of supporting terrorism. She was fined $500, her name was 'red labeled' by Immigration (means every time she enters and exits the airport, she will be searched 100%), and she also missed her scheduled flight to the Philippines for being held almost 5 hours.

Hard to believe that departing passengers from the U.S. are also subject to the policy but looks like it is being strictly enforced now. The lessons learned is before you accept any 'padala', make sure the envelopes are open and you physically see the contents of it or just plainly say 'sorry but I can't accept any padala' for your own safety.

This email came from a former U.S. Embassy employee and this could be useful to all balikbayans

Subject: TRAVEL ADVISORY FROM AMERICAN EMBASSY MANILA
Please share this with your friends and relatives.

Please be informed of the recent travel advisory to the United States. However, not only pirated VCDs/DVDs are on the hot list. Customs officials are also looking into fake bags like Louis Vuitton, Coach, etc. Please be informed that the American Association of Publishers(AAP) has also alerted the American customs officers to check out for pirated books. This information was given to me by Patricia Judd of the AAP. Please warn all nursing graduates who plan to take the NCLEX and CGF exams in the States not to bring in these pirated books because there will be a penalty of automatic deportation as violation of intellectual property rights. If you know anyone going from the Philippines and coming back to the USA , with 'pasalubongs' and 'padalas,' please read this important enclosed advisory from the American Embassy in Manila.

Please share with your friends. Just a friendly reminder: if you have plans of going to the U.S., please take precautionary measures on all 'padalas,' especially those containing fake/pirated compact discs/DVDs. US Embassy employees have been given an advisory that as US Gov't employees, we should abide by the U.S. laws, including Intellectual Property Rights (anti-piracy) laws.

As an additional incentive, the Consular Section recently received a report that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) searched the bag of a Filipino entering the U.S. on NW 72 in Detroit. During the search, 70-80 compact discs, 30-40 empty DVD jackets and 10-20 DVDs were found. Since the travellers were not American citizens, their visas were cancelled and they returned to the Philippines. If they had been Americans, they could have been subject to arrest and criminal prosecution in addition to civil fines and penalties.

Please remember even ONE pirated item can jeopardize your trip. Also, the finger printing system has successfully been instituted in all port of entries. I suggest you bring extra identification cards in addition to your passport to facilitate your entry in the US Immigration.

I hope this is helpful to you all. Thanks and regards.

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