The Weird Questions Immigration Officers Ask

Sadly, even with a visa and the right documents, immigration officers have the power to break your trip. Most of the times they ask straightforward questions and passing through them is a breeze.

Some simple common questions immigration officers ask are:

  • What is the purpose of your visit?
  • How long do you intend to stay?
  • Where will you be staying?
  • What is your profession

It is their job to ask these questions and it helps to be prepared to answer the above questions and you better do yourself good by being honest.

Other times we have a special breed of immigration officers that need to show who is in charge. These officers do not have the common decency to mind their own business and are out there to devour you, like a lion prowling on a zebra. Unfortunately, we are the zebras. Such officers can make you miss your flight, flag you as a drug dealer and have you in detention or worse still have you deported. Therefore, its good to learn to remain calm even if an officer is asking annoying questions. Learn to respond vaguely and politely because such questions are either too intrusive or plain dumb.

The trick is to be composed and calm unless they become too extreme. Otherwise, do not waste your time arguing with immigration officers. They are not the ones travelling and have the whole day to argue. It will be your loss if they conclude you are rude and decide to make your entry hard or worse still deny you entry completely.

Below are some of the weird questions immigration officers have asked me and what I wished I could have told them.  Note the responses are what I could have wanted to say to them. Do not be a smart ass with the officers. 

Are you carrying any illegal items?

‘Well, now that you have brought it up, I am a self-respecting wanted criminal, today I have ivory and narcotics, where is the detention room?’

Why do you have a lot of stamps on your passport?

‘Where would you rather I have the stamps, as tattoos on my body? Would you rather I have autographs on the passport instead?’

So young lady, you are travelling alone? Get a serious man that will not let you travel alone.

I have a serious man and woman in my life that let me travel alone. They are called parents. Thanks for your concern.

At Mohammed Murtala Airport in Nigeria, the officer asked for my passport which screams I am a Kenyan and then proceeded to ask ‘Are you a Fulani lady?”  Fulani is an ethnic group of people in West Africa.

Actually yes. I am a nomad too. I jump from country to country.

Are you alone? After confirming I was alone, he asked ‘Are you married?’

Why? Do you have someone for me?

What do you mean you are just travelling? Are you here for school?

Oh, yea. I forgot what brought me here. Thanks for reminding me, officer.


The questions are weird but you are not allowed to be a smart ass with immigration officers. This is their territory, let them have their little power trip and soon you will be on your way.


Have you come across weird immigration officers?


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