Tuesday, July 07, 2009

We don't accept online bank statements

"It looked very nice." That's how Ireland looked to Ben Whitehurst from Texas as he was heading skyward after being denied entry to Ireland following his flight from America last week. Whitehurst was traveling with two other young guys and the three of them intended to backpack around Europe. The immigration authorities turned the three of them away, forcing them to spend $1,800 each on flights back to New York.

When I read the story in the local Texas paper I had two thoughts: (1) these guys were pretty naive and (2) this is pretty much how I looked and acted when I was their age and setting off on my first visit to these shores. The law says that visitors must prove prove they can support themselves while they're here. Fair enough, but I can't see why the immigration people wouldn't accept an online bank statement if they would have accepted a printed one. There has to be more to this story.

And, of course, these sorts of things are pretty darn common for young Irish travelers to America. So, it's not like the Irish authorities are unique in this.