Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Another brilliant program brought to you by the Dept of Homeland Security

Did you know that, as of January 1st of this year, citizens of the US are not allowed to leave the country on an international flight unless they have either 1) a ticket to return to the US or 2) proof of residency in the country they are flying to?

We didn't either, until we arrived at the Austin airport to fly back to Switzerland, and were told that unless we could provide documentation showing that we live in Switzerland, we'd have to buy a ticket back before being allowed on the plane (even though our flight was technically round-trip, in the eyes of the Homeland Security honchos we were leaving the US with no ticket for returning and thus the Austin-Geneva leg of our trip counted as a one-way ticket leaving the country). I happened to have my residency permit with me (which I bring when traveling, though I have never ever before needed to show it anywhere). Zach had his Swiss driver's license, which might not have been "proof" enough. Donovan doesn't even have any documentation yet, other than his passport. The lady working the counter was as flabbergasted as we were, and was able to work things out so we didn't have to buy a return ticket right there. It's a good thing we got to the airport 2 hours early, though, as getting all that straightened out took kind of a while.

BTW we are now back home in our village, safe and sound. D did fabulously on the flight, he basically ate, slept, and smiled, with very minimal fussing. I did not do quite as well, as I just have a crappy time sleeping on airplanes always, but whatevs. I'm wondering what the evening has in store for us... he's currently down for a nap, I'll probably try to get him down for bed within the next couple hours, but by then it'll still be the middle of the afternoon Texas-time so who knows what his little body will think.

I am also right now looking through all the pictures we took. All in all with the 2 cameras we had a 1,178 pictures (and some videos). I'm going through and getting rid of fuzzy or otherwise bad shots, and am already down to closer to 1,000. Hah. I may be uploading these in several batches over time so as not to overwhelm the entire internet with my gazillion pictures. I will say one thing, I've got quite a few gorgeous shots of D with many of his admirers. =)


  1. What?

    We were told by Swiss authorities that we had to carry a copy of our residency permit with us everywhere and I was once randomly checked on the streets of Zurich.

    We were also told that we needed to have the actual permit with us whenever leaving or entering Switzerland and it has been checked every time we have gone through the Zurich airport, coming or going.

    So coming through the US has never been a problem because we always have it with us.

    The French side is definitely more relaxed.

  2. the fact that it is homeland security is new, but even when i first moved over you had to have some sort of proof in case you were asked by the airlines, as they would be the ones responsible for flying you back if you werent let into the country you were going to.

  3. I'm glad you made it back though :)
    welcome home!

  4. Yikes! I don't think they've ever asked me, but fortunately i have my work permit in my passport and usually carry my National Insurance Card from the UK, so hopefully one of those would count...wonder what people who are flying round the world on one way tickets do now?

    Can't wait to see photos from your trip!

  5. oh good lord. i had no idea! it just keeps getting worse. i'm glad you guys were able to fly out and not worry about wasting money!

  6. BIG BROTHER DOES NOT WANT YOU TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY... wait, isn't that was Castro was doing to his people?

    I don't have the words to tell you how appalled I am.

    In other news, yay for making it home safe and sound. And yay for a smooth flight (for baby). He's letting you know he really, really likes to travel and will be fine with multiple trips to and from CA and TX in the future.

    I told you he's a genius baby.

  7. The last time I flew from the US to Denmark (a year ago, so before Jan 1 this year!), I was flying with DH. DH was using the second half of his roundtrip ticket, and I was using the first half of mine. (I wasn't planning to ever use the second half, but it was cheaper to buy round-trip.) This confused the woman behind the counter and she wouldn't give me a boarding pass until we convinced her I really did have a round-trip ticket.

    It really threw me off. I wasn't expecting that, and it also worried me because I actually WASN'T planning to come back on that ticket. It's possible to apply for residency here after you arrive, so that was our plan all along.

    I don't know what we'd have done if I didn't have that round-trip ticket. :/

  8. Oh wow! I had no idea. I often travelled one way, and know tons of people that travel as tourists with one way tickets.

    Glad to hear D did so well on the flight. I'm really sorry we couldn't meet you in Texas. Hopefully next time!



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