Bullet in hand carry luggage at Schipol!

Hi everyone,
A bit of background. I was traveling to Prague in 2014 from Schipol and I had accidentally left a bullet in the pocket of my jeans inside my hand luggage. This bullet showed up in the security and I had to explain to the dutch police that it was an accident. I had to fill out a form and the bullet was confiscated. 4 weeks later I received a letter at my home from Dutch court asking me to pay a fine which I did. Done that.

I wanted to ask that I am planning to travel to the US this summer. I have traveled frequently around EU afterwards but never had any issues at all.

Have a Dutch passport so I will apply for the US ESTA visa. Upon application or arrivals at the immigration in the US, will I have a problem because of the bullet incident I had? Does the bullet incident make it very difficult for me to enter the US as a tourist?

We love bullets here. You’ll probably be fine.

The best way to find out is to apply for your ESTA as soon as possible. (Note that ESTA is not actually a visa, it’s a travel authorization; Dutch nationals are members of the Visa Waiver system.) You can apply at any time, and the ESTA is valid for two years.

99% of the time, the application will be approved immediately, but if not, you will have time to deal with whatever bureaucratic requirements are necessary.

I don’t know what the equivalent under Dutch law is, but it sounds like this is something akin to what we might call a civil infraction rather than an actual crime, so I don’t think you’ll be blocked on account of that. But there’s a small possibility you may have ended up on a list somewhere and have to submit some additional paperwork or work with the American embassy to get your travel docs in order.

I got caught flying with several rounds of blank ammunition in a pocket of my carry on bag… ooops. That was inside the US and I am a US citizen. I basically filled out some paperwork with an explanation, they kept them, I got on the plane and I never heard about it again or encountered any issues flying afterwards. That happened after I’d had an experience where my bag tested positive for explosives…ooops. :smack:

This is international not just domestic travel like my cases. I had the advantage of being able to show my military ID and travel orders in both of my incidents ( <5 min delay with security and no paperwork for me to fill out for the explosive incident). YMMV from overseas but since Friedo points out a way to check for issues beforehand I’d follow that plan. Why risk an unpleasant surprise at the last minute?

Okay as you say, if I go and apply for the ESTA I may get it immediately. But still will this bullet issue be brought up on immigration at US border?

Is it a good idea to bring this issue up myself at the US Embassy over the phone and discuss with someone there before applying? or should I keep quiet on it until I reach the immigration?

I don’t think anyone is going to have a concrete answer for you on this. It’s not the kind of thing they publicize. But I’m going to say it’s very unlikely.

No, just apply now and don’t worry about it. If it’s an issue, you’ll find out when your application is not automatically approved. If it is approved, then chances are it won’t be an issue unless you make it one.

Agent47, for the love of whatever Supreme Beings you hold holy, when you do take this trip to the US I strongly recommend you that triple check to make certain you’re not carrying any firearms, ammunition, or knives (even pen knives) in your carry on luggage.

Or drugs of any kind that are illegal under Federal law, even if some state laws allow them. Years ago when I worked in Immigration Court, there was a case of Dutch guy who forgot about half a joint that was left in his coat pocket after a party, and was charged with importing illegal drugs.

I’m very hazy on these matters, but I believe you would be under the obligation to declare any arrests (as well as convictions, of course) you have had while applying for any type of admittance to the US, if asked at any point.

The question may be phrased as whether you have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude – which this incident does not appear to be at all – but those who admit to such a crime are ineligible for admission.

But what you describe in the op sounds to me like a non-criminal infraction – as though you were given a speeding ticket and paid it. I literally have no idea if your experience counts as an arrest, and you may have details that you didn’t post that would clarify one way or another.

I wouldn’t expect you’ll have an issue but I’m no expert in these things.

An American friend of mine arrived in India with a single bullet in his checked baggage. He spent a month in jail before it was sorted out. He’s had no travel issues including further trips to India.

You were not arrested so it wasn’t a serious matter, more like a speeding ticket. People get sharp objects confiscated all the time without arrest or being banned from entry into the United States. You should be fine, just fill out your application for VISA and don’t bring it up unless asked about it by the border guards. DO NOT LIE to a border guard, the ones who actually check your passport and ask questions at admission, they can be real a-holes with no sense of humor.

Since the bullet was discovered at the airport security, I doubt it is counted as a “criminal” offence. It wasn’t my intention to travel with it as it was left in the luggage by accident. I simply paid the fine similar to a speeding ticket or a fine in a non-parking zone case.

I did travel to the UK in November which is the last country I had to go through immigration and had no questions or issues pop up. In the process of applying for the ESTA and hope no issues come up till I arrive NY. Going to be thorough with my luggage now on.