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62

I live in a very corrupt country - Ukraine. Let me give you some advice. First, try to avoid looking like stranger. Try to look like the locals. That is often difficult, I know. It's the only advice about how to avoid corrupt police. They often search for strangers just to get some money from them, because strangers are easy meat. All the other advice is ...


28

First, in problematic places I would try to avoid interacting with the police as much as possible. Another strategy is patience. Usually, corrupt police are just trying to make quick money off an easy victim. Tourists are an obvious target because they tend to have more money and are more likely to be unfamiliar with the local language and customs. If you ...


19

If you have a brand new passport, then keep all the pages together with an elastic band, and only release new pages when the old ones are full. This has kept things nice and orderly for me so far - the only place anyone took off the band was Taiwan where they at least stamped only the next page and not some random mid-passport place. If your passport is ...


17

The level of support offered by embassies will vary widely from each foreign embassy / consulate to another. A couple of standard support measures provided though are: Contact family members to pass messages along Provide details on contact information on local lawyers, and interpreters if needed. Depending on whether such a support system is available for ...


14

I'm tempted to write a book on non-verbal communication where you can't speak the language. :) Two things you could do: Hand signals. Turn to the page, point with your index finger, and indicate a stamping motion. They're passport officials, apart from taking money in some countries, they'll recognise their most readily identified action ;) (I'm ...


12

To avoid getting harassed? Avoid the police in places where they have a very bad reputation, like Mexico City. In my experience at least in Mexico City the corrupt ones always look evil. The ones that look nice actually are nice. Look in their eyes and you might be able to see it even from a distance. (I'm really not kidding) When you can't avoid the ...


11

During the Cold War (and probably continuing to this day), Russian spies were taught to say, "Call the the Soviet Consulate," or "Call the Soviet Embassy," when caught. While undergoing training, they were tortured to induce them to say more than that. If they said "more," they flunked the course, were kicked out of the program (and lost their main chance to ...


9

Write a note in English (on a paper and put it in the passport) or ask in English. It is pretty rare to find an immigration officer who does not speak at least some English. Make sure you are really polite and friendly, some immigration officers are pretty quick to take offense and you don't want that. Make sure that the space you suggest is sufficient. ...


9

Upsetting as it is, people will do this. And not just border officials. I was rushing to make a Canada-US connection, and had my passport in my hand with my boarding pass, when I came upon a TSA security point I wasn't expecting. The attendant asked for my boarding pass and when I held it towards her, grabbed everything out of my hand. Then she wouldn't give ...


9

The key tactic no one else mentioned - relax and do your best to not look like a foreigner. I can't explain it, but whenever I notice a strange well dressed person that person turns out to be a foreigner - he has some concentrated+excited look and behaves largely different from local people. Again, I can't explain it in full - foreigners while being ...


9

You can stay without registration during 3 month after you came. But you need to have a document that confirms that (airplane or train ticket will work). If you want to stay longer - you'll need to get a temporary registration in the police. That may be painful, because this registration is bound to a place where you live and should be made for you by your ...


8

A key here is "networking," that is, "playing the influence game." Policemen respect "authority." They may pick on you if you appear to have no "authority," particularly if you're "young" (in your teens or twenties). Thus, it helps to know people that they would respect. Or at least give them the impression that you do (this happens more easily if you look ...


8

In my experience a (near) full passport will normally increase the time you spend at immigration. How long it adds will depend on the immigration official. Most of the time it will add about 5-10 seconds as they spend time flicking through looking for a page with some free space in order to put a stamp on. Occasionally they will spend some time looking at ...


8

There are no international rules that forbid that. There are numerous stories on the Internet about people whose driver's licenses were conficsated in EU countries. Here is an official guide for British drivers driving abroad. It says: If you break French driving laws you can also have your UK driving licence confiscated by French Police. Similarly, ...


7

Unless you're from a country that requires you to obtain an exit visa, there is no sharing of information as a general rule. Even in cases where there are information sharing agreements, such as between the US and Canada, the US and Mexico, or in the Schengen area, the information that is shared is about people from outside the info-sharing nations, but not ...


7

Go to a translation site such as Google Translate and print out a message in the language from the country you want to visit stating that you wish to have your passport stamped only next to existing stamps. Of course, you can't put something like "please do not stamp on any blank pages", as the words for 'stamp', 'blank', and 'page' are likely to get lost ...


7

No, officials are allowed to do so. They sometimes need to take your passport to check for false passports. In case of a law suit against you, they are even allowed to confiscate your passport for a longer period. It is a mechanism to keep you in the country. The recent example of this practice was with Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the USA. Having said ...


6

I've been told to register if you're in a place for 7 days or more. Simply put, hostels should be able to do this for you, it takes a day, and is very simple. Just ask them when you get there. Nobody checked mine, however upon exit, but when I return to Russia I'll continue to register - it's one thing you don't want to get caught short on.


5

I've never had a problem with a full passport. I've even had extension papers added to a passport that was nearly full but had plenty of time left on it. Occasionally, yes, it adds some time (for the pedantic officers out there), but in the vast majority of cases it does not. They simply look at the stamp appropriate for them and move on.


4

Others have already provided correct answers but it might be useful to note that the very way you framed the question is at odds with the way international law works. The relevant law in a such a situation is first and foremost the local law. Beyond some limited things like the right to request that your consulate be informed of your situation when arrested, ...


4

I carry my International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis with my passport (as is its proper place), which also means I have a handy bright-yellow paper flag somewhere in the middle of my passport. Generally speaking, I've found that its a fairly effective means of keeping stamps on the half of my passport before the certificate, and no customs ...


3

I just received this advice from a "professional" New Zealand traveller in my hostel in Tbilisi, Georgia: Wrap a piece of paper around the blank pages and write on it, "please do not put stamps on the blank pages as I am an overland traveller and need these pages for visas." I don't know if he's actually tried it though...


3

In Romania the police is also corrupt but fortunately the bribe is working VERY well especially with old generation. The policeman in Romania will not take you to the police station for minor stuff because it involves way too much paper work. Just enter into discussion with them, smile and show your intention to pay a small bribe by holding your wallet in ...


3

Immigration officers are primarily in the job of inspecting the traveler, not the passport. Watch any documentary about customs/immigration, and this is a recurring theme. When they take their time riffling through the pages, they are sizing you up more than they are really taking any interest in the stamps. If you give them a blank passport, they will often ...


3

Going into James bond mode: If you are worth spying on, definitely! Going off James bond mode: No, it would be really hard to implement. In only a minority of countries your passport is actually scanned with a computer. Usually you only get "the look" by the passport checking official. Even if you emigrate your country does not know by default about your ...


2

In general, governments don't work all that well together. In a world where some countries don't have diplomatic relations, wage war on each other or forbid contact with some other nations, it's difficult to imagine how an effective central database or information exchange system would be coordinated. You're much more likely to be monitored in one way or ...


1

Passports and drivers licenses are governmental documents of which you are the holder. Since the Mexican police are the official representatives of the authorities in Mexico your drivers license actually is their property, so legally they have all rights to take your license. When they confiscate your license they say that you are not fit to continue ...


1

I have to agree that behaviour and dress go a long way. If you can't blend in as a local because of your cultural features at least try and look like you live there. Move with confidence, don't stand around looking lost with a map in your hand, dress like locals or 'non-touristy'. For example, it is my second time in Kathmandu and I don't walk around in ...


1

In addition to tips on right behaviour, I would recommend using some digital resources to get your way out of trouble. Dropbox is great for saving copies of your ticket/IDs/docs for emergency purposes. Bribespot, an app that was already mentioned by Mark Mayo, is an app that allows you to report corruption and browse bribe stories submitted by other people ...



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