Friday, 19 February 2010

no landing cards for me

Yesterday, while waiting in a queue to the passport control at Stansted airport, I was pondering how lucky I am to have British passport. I don’t have to fill the landing card anymore. I cannot tell exactly how many of these I have completed during my first ten years in this country. A lot. I never could understand what is the point of these scraps of paper in the era of computer-readable passports. And yet, according to Wikipedia,
Failure to complete a Landing Card when this is required is a crime punishable by a fine or 6 months in prison.
I wonder how determined one should be to end up in prison. I mean, they just won’t let you in unless you complete it, right?

One has to do that even after obtaining indefinite leave to remain in the UK. I remember the first time I entered the country with my brand new ILR stamp in the passport.
“For how long are you going to stay?”
“Forever.”
“For EVER?!”
You had to see the immigration officer’s face. It turned out that he never saw the (then) new-style ILR stamp before.

If I still had to fill this form, what would I put as “occupation”? Probably “none”. I can only guess what would be the reaction. Alas, my Russian passport has expired so I am postponing this experiment. Indefinitely.

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