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Florida Guide > Travelling

Immigration Officers in Florida

There has been an awful lot of bad press concerning the Immigration Officials that ‘greet’ you when you land at Orlando International Airport. I just feel that a lot of this press is totally unwarranted and want to give a regular passengers report on the arrival hall.

Having visited Florida on dozens of occasions over the last 15 years, both with and without children, I have to honestly say that we have never had a bad experience. Yes, some are more chatty than others, but none have been as surly and rude as the press make them out to be.

When you enter the Immigration Hall, it is always spotless, and the Officials in uniform look extremely professional, a stark contrast to entering the hall at Gatwick, with sleepy looking ‘bods’ wearing whatever they wished to drag on that morning sitting looking anything but professional.

Some of it depends on how you approach them, if you are friendly and civil to them they will treat you appropriately, however if you are rude to them, they will very possibly be rude back.

On our last trip a few weeks ago we witnessed a family group of what looked like two adults, two older teenage children a young teenager and a child. They approached the desk when called with the two older teenagers arguing and the father shouting at anybody that was within earshot that ‘this is ridiculous, what do they think we are, criminals, all this (bad language left out)fuss and bother’. Now could you blame the Official for not being at all helpful or friendly. They approached the desk just before we did and were still there after we had gone through and we could see them still there when we had collected out luggage. To be honest, I wouldn’t have blamed them for refusing the family entry with the attitude that they were showing.

These people have a job to do, they do not want their job made any harder than it already is, they do not wish to start people’s holidays in an unfriendly manner, they do not wish to be know as surly, unfriendly and unhelpful, be friendly, but not overfriendly to them and they will deal with you in a professional manner so that your dream holiday can start.

Let’s be honest, would they leave you with a ‘I hope you have a great stay in the United States’ if they were not friendly, no, they would just stamp your passport, take your photo and fingerprints and tell you you could go, and we have never not been wished a great stay, even by the one guy that was on his second straight shift due to his working pattern!

So when you read in the press about the awful way you are greeted in Florida, just take it with a huge pinch of salt, these people are doing a great job.

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Page added on: 23 May 2007
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