A Scottish man ruined his winter vacation last December: in fact he was blacklisted as one of the unwanted persons in the US, after he accidentally claimed to be a terrorist in an online form. What was he thinking, right?

John Stevenson and his wife, Marion, an elderly couple from Inverclyde, Scotland, were supposed to spend their Christmas holidays in New York, but they ended up losing both their airline tickets and the hotel advance, after John was banned for life from entering the United States for declaring himself to be a terrorist. Despite several attempts to convince US officials that he had made a trivial mistake in compiling, the ban was not cancelled, and so the couple cannot even postpone the journey to the future.


The incident again ignited the discussions on the questionnaires submitted to those entering the USA: what is the real utility of asking if a person intends to carry out terrorist acts after entering the country? Does anyone really think that a person who intends to kill people has trouble making a false statement about a form? In short, there are those who think that this kind of question serves for absolutely nothing, and have the sole effect of creating confusion and complicating life for honest people.

John Stevenson explains that what happened would not even be the fault of his distraction, but it would be the effect of problems with the online form: “We were filling out the visa form, and the time was up before we could tick all the boxes. Then it stopped, and when it loaded again, it started back where we left off,” the man told reporters. “One of the questions asks if you are a terrorist and must have changed from No to Yes without me being aware of it .”

Johnson said he didn’t realise his mistake until he called US border control to provide details of his passport, and they told him he was a terrorist. “I even called border control in the United States and gave them my passport details. They told me you are a terrorist’,” said the Scot. “It’s terrible, it’s shocking and so stupid. I don’t know why that question is on the form first and foremost. I have never been in trouble in my life. The only time I was in court was to be a juror and now I’ve been treated like a criminal “