Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Sorry for the hasty reply above.  I enjoy these discussions, by the way, and do not see them as really adversarial but as opportunities to exchange views.

...the U.S behaves as though they are a nuisance to be kept away at all costs. To judge by reactions I hear in Europe, they are quite successful.

According to the ITA, Office of Travel and Tourism, over 5.8 million persons visited the US from the top 20 visiting countries during the first two months of 2008 alone. At least a million visitors came from Europe and another 2.5 million from Canada. Fifty million visited the US from the top 20 in 2000 and about the same in 2007. It would appear that the US isn't doing all that well if the intent is to discourage visitation.

When I mentioned policy changes in my comments above I was referring to expansion of the visa waiver program, which drops the requirement to obtain a US visa to enter the US.  This negates the need to visit a US consulate altogether.  I believe most, if not all European citizens qualify for this program. In addition, visa lines in many countries have been reduced by instituting a pre-visit appointment system to replace the old first come first served protocol that generated unbelievably long waiting lines in some countries.

In general, I don't see the restrictions on bringing the listed belongings along on a trip to the consulate as a particularly annoying issue, considering the improvements noted.  Yes, I suppose you are correct  in saying it is possible that they could be searched and allowed inside, but it would seem to be much easier just to not bring them in the first place. The less carry-on baggage I have to pass through airport security the quicker I get through and with much less hassle.  Unfortunately, I often carry a lot of photography gear which usually means my bag gets to go through the X-ray machine twice and then is hand searched and swabbed for explosives residue.  In the meantime I'm trying to get my shoes, belt, and watch off and on while I try to keep an eye on my belongings.  I actually feel bad about the time it takes me to get through and the time I am holding up other passengers. So, do I give up on photography (a US visit)?  Well, not yet.      


I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 10:07:11 PM EST
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