Immigration procedures at airports are generally pretty streamlined affairs, but when you’re making an overland border crossing, things can get a little bit hectic. Throw a foreign language into the mix and it can be an intimidating and stressful event.
Fear not, weary traveller. We have all the beta you need to make any and all border crossings smoother than shit through a goose. Read on…
Locate the entry point of your choice. These can be found at many locations along the border and may consist of a small booth or one of several bridges. Pick any bridge which isn’t currently on fire. If all bridges are on fire, consider another port of entry.
Proceed with caution across the bridge, stopping at a military/police/immigration checkpoint. Here, one of two scenarios will take place:
- Vehicle inspection including engine bay and all stowage, detailed examination of vehicle documentation, strip search and gentle cavity probe
- Nothing at all
Once cleared through the checkpoint, proceed into town and locate a road sign reading “Department of Immigration”. Follow a series of identical signs, navigating a route so chaotic it appears to have been designed by a child on acid. Do not stop for anything or anyone.
Before you enter the building, ensure you are clothed appropriately. No matter what the exterior temperature might be, the interior of the immigration office will be at least 15 degrees warmer with 130% greater humidity and little/no ventilation. Singlets, shorts, flip-flops recommended, damp flannel optional.
Gather personal documents (passport, vehicle documentation etc) and proceed to Desk 5, ignoring Desks 1 through 4. For the love of god, DO NOT go to Desk 7.
Hand documents to attendant and await a subtle nod or vague hand gesture. This is your sign to proceed to Desk 2. This may take anywhere from 3 seconds to 5 days.
Fill out the form entitled “Personal Information, Customs Declaration and Shoe Size” in triplicate. Use only red pen and perfect cursive.
Proceed to Fire Pit 4A and burn the second and third copy of the aforementioned document.
Proceed to Desk 3 and hand your completed “Personal Information, Customs Declaration and Shoe Size” document to the attendant to receive two photocopies of this document. This will cost you $3.50. Cash only, no credit cards. No foreign currency accepted.
Proceed to Fire Pit 4B and burn the first copy of the aforementioned document.
Do you have any fruits or vegetables? If not, you must purchase some from the loud man with the cart. Only sold on week days.
Proceed to Desk 1 and answer these questions three:
- What is your name?
- What is your quest?
- What is the capital of Assyria?
Proceed to Desk 4 with the two copies of your “Personal Information, Customs Declaration and Shoe Size” document and your passport. Ensure your passport is not new and has stamped pages already. The attendant WILL NOT stamp a blank page and can only stamp on top of existing stamps. You must now pay your visa fee. This will cost you $40. Credit card only, no cash. Mastercard will not be accepted.
Return to Desk 5 with your passport containing the new visa. Say three “Hail Marys” and three “Our Fathers”, once in English, once in Spanish and once in Ancient Hebrew or Ancient Greek (your choice).
Surrender all fruits and vegetables. These must be returned to the loud man with the cart. Returns only accepted on weekends.
Pass through the exit. You are now a legal alien. Happy travels!
Ryan Siacci, Esq.