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Should an Immigration Officer be Tipped?

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Little known secrets of fiancé visa interviews and green card interviews from an attorney with 20 years of experience

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The New York Times ran an excellent article titled: Should You Tip an Immigration Officer.  It was about a person’s ethical dilemma concerning tipping an immigration officer in another country.  (Word of advice: if you are dealing with an American immigration officer do not even think about tipping them for the time spent with you.) 

A person wrote to the Ethicist at the New York Times saying that when he left Cambodia the immigration officer asked him if he was going to give him a tip.  At first he pretended not to understand the question but eventually gave the officer $5.o0.  He wondered if he was helping to perpetuate corruption by paying the tip or if he should have reported the incident.

The ethicist responded: “there are no ethical (or even social) parameters for every action that authentically warrants a tip. If you try to isolate the supposed logic within the system, you will lose your mind. It’s hard to fathom why almost everyone tips the pizza-delivery guy while almost no one tips the U.P.S. man. It’s strange how responsible people feel an obligation to tip the washroom attendant in upscale restaurants, including those patrons who would actively prefer no such attendant were present in the lavatory. So the concept of tipping an immigration officer isn’t inherently crazy. It only seems odd because he’s a government employee, which brings us to the crux of your question.

Your fear is that tipping this man will contribute to the greater corruption of Cambodia. That’s a valid consideration (not to mention that the request itself could be seen as extortion and is probably illegal). But what is this man’s personal stake in that corruption? It’s possible he requests a tip from foreigners because he exists in a world where the playing field is unlevel (and this is what he needs to do to make a living wage). He might be a victim of the corruption you recognize. ”

Of course, it’s equally possible that I’m giving this person way too much credit; he might just be a con artist who realizes that most traveling Westerners are relatively affluent and will throw away $5 to avoid even one awkward moment. I would advise personalizing the encounter as much as possible: if you suspect the man was making his request out of necessity, give him the money. If you suspect the man was trying to con you out of a few dollars because you represent an easy mark, give him nothing. If you have no idea what his motive was, tip him whatever you think his service was legitimately worth, relative to all the other services you normally reward.”

It is comforting to know that even if our country’s immigration may be slow or seemingly unfair at times at least it is not corrupt.  I have never heard of an immigration officer in the United States asking for a tip for “help” during the immigration process.

There are new immigration laws which may apply to your case.  Please contact our office for FREE advice concerning your case. We would be happy to talk to you about your options

Lawrence Gruner is a fairfield immigration attorneyChristian green card attorneyChristian fiancé visa attorney, fiance visa attorney and a fiance visa lawyer with almost 20 years of experience handling immigration cases. He has office locations throughout northern California. His office handles immigration cases throughout California (including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, San Diego and Sacramento) the United States and the World. You may reach us from anywhere in the world toll free at 888-801-6558 .

You may also email us your questions. Attorney Gruner would be happy to review your situation and all of your options. He can help you come up with a plan for your Immigration case. His office handles green card cases (both family based green cards in sacramento and business based green cards in Sacramento) please see our post: “How to get a green card” usa K1 fiance visa cases, E1-E2 investor cases, H1b cases (please read our post: “How to get an H-1B visa”)and marriage visa cases

We handle cases throughout the state of California and the World. California cities include: Sacramento, Stockton, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Daly City, Fremont, Hayward, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Richmond, Fairfield, Grass Valley, Nevada City,Vallejo, Berkeley, Concord, Walnut Creek, Orinda, South San Francisco, San Bruno,Daly City, Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae, Brisbane, Burlingame, Hillsborough, Colfax, Foster City, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Mt. View, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Yuba City, Santa Cruz, Modesto, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Coronado, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Roseville, Rocklin, Auburn, Dixon, Davis.

We also have clients in Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Reno, Denver, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, Kansas City, St. Louis, Pheonix, Pittsburg, Cleveland, Miami , San Antonio and Chicago.

Laws can and do change and additional laws may apply in your case. Contrary to what your friends tell you every immigration case is different. Just because your friend’s case was successful does not mean necessarily that your case will be successful. Small differences in cases can alter results. Please contact our office and we will be happy to review your case with you, free of charge.

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