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What Happens When You’re Denied Entry into the US at the Airport?

If you are denied entry into the United States after a long flight, you might be tempted to argue with the airport officials. Do not argue. Many foreign travelers are denied entry into the US at airport terminals everyday. The causes may vary because of the traveler’s background.

 

 

Background Denials Might Include:

• Criminal history
• Prior US entry denial
• Suspicions of malicious intent
• Problems with paperwork
• Conflicts with travel documentation

The most common reason individuals are turned away at an airport is paperwork. Travelers may have overstayed a prior visa or passport allowance. They may even have expired documentation.

It is rare for most travelers to be denied entry into the States because of criminal background problems, but this can cause trouble. However, if you have been refused entry into the United States at any point in the past, even for an expired passport, prior denial is reason enough for future denial.

Steps to Follow When Denied Entry to the US at the Airport

You will probably be standing in the airport terminal when you discover that you have been denied entrance into the United States. When you receive this bad news you must follow these steps before doing anything else.

 

1. Ask for patience: If you can avoid having your record officially entered as denied entry, you will benefit in the long run: ask to call a lawyer first if possible.  Niren and Associates has lots of experience helping people out who have been denied entry, and can provide the guidance you’ll need to overturn the decision, if possible.
2. Ask follow-up questions: Do so in a calm, nonthreatening manner and accept no for an answer. If you are shown disrespect, remain calm and continue to ask questions.
3. Take notes: It is very important to write the responses to each of your questions regarding your denied entry. Be as detailed as possible.
4. Find a quiet place to collect your details: You want to pay special attention to your paperwork at this time. You will likely have been given the reason for your denial. Recheck all paperwork to confirm the details of your entry refusal.
5. Call a lawyer: If you have not established a lawyer for a case such as this, take the opportunity to contact one like Niren and Associates and relay the details of your case appropriately.

What A Lawyer Will Do:

Once an immigration attorney learns about your denied US access, he or she will go to work on your case and help you solve the rejection of your visa. It is possible and likely that you will find a solution that will allow you into the country if you followed the steps regarding your rejection.

Certainly, if you have a criminal background and were denied for that reason, or if you do not have the proper paperwork, or if you did not respectfully navigate your interactions with US airport employees, you might be in a dead end case. If you are worried about being denied entry to the US at the airport, a lawyer can help you to take the next important steps to gain US access or return safely home for further work on your travel documentation.

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37 thoughts on “What Happens When You’re Denied Entry into the US at the Airport?

  1. Matias

    Hi,

    I was denied entry to the US in 1995 as my boyfriend at that time had been offered a job and we were too young and innocent to know that we were not allowed to work in the USA without the right visa. We are Europeans and were returned back the very next day after the immigration officer realized we had the intention of staying and working. I am now a married woman settled and living in the UK (have a house and pay for mortgage) and my son many times has asked us to take him to the US on a holiday. I am so scared of the situation I lived in 1995 that is enough to put me off to try and re-visit the USA. This happened many years ago and I never tried entering again. What are the chances of being sent back to the UK again? Inspite of all these years do they still have my records? My son will be travelling to NY in 2016 to present a school project and we would like to attend this event? Will it be possible for me to do so?
    Many Thanks for your help. Mati

    Reply
    1. Mira Freiwat

      Hello Mati,

      Thank you for your inquiry. I am glad that you are reaching out to us to get the proper guidance instead of purchasing a ticket and making travel arrangements and arriving to the US and being denied entry. There are many foreign nationals that have 10 year bars issued as a result of inadmissibility that do not know how that it has even been imposed until they arrive to the port of entry. We can definitely determine if you are someone who has that appointed to them and how to have that waived. But before we can proceed, I would need to learn more details about you and your experience in the US. Kindly complete this form for me Mati http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ and you will be contacted once it has been reviewed. MF

      Reply
  2. Haf

    I was convicted of a dangerous driving charge, it happened on March 29th, 2013, and was convicted June 1st, 2015. I was 18 years old when it happened, and now 20. I am a permanent residence of canada, and a UK citizen, I have been to the U.S. Many times before, but now that I am convicted, am I still able to enter the states? Thank you very much for your time

    Reply
    1. Mira Freiwat

      Hello Haf,

      Thank you for your inquiry. There are measures that you can take to ensure that you are following the proper procedures and being able to enter the US. But before I can give you any advice, I would need to learn more details about the situation to determine your eligibility. Kindly fill out this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ as it will provide me with the information I need to consult you about this matter. You will be contacted once it has been reviewed. MF

      Reply
  3. sathyendra

    The start date of my classes is august 31 as per the i20 and it has been mentioned to enter US on or after august 1st..My orientation is on 25th of august… i made a mistake while booking the ticket…i’l be reaching US on july 31st.. will it a problem at the portof entry…please helpme

    Reply
    1. Mira Freiwat

      Hi Sathyendra,

      Thank you for your question. I am glad that you have contacted us to seek some professional advise, as this could be an issue for you. Although you have provided me with some details about your issue, I would still need some more information to determine what risks may be associated with this error and the best route for you to take. Kindly complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ and you will be contacted once it has been reviewed. MF

      Reply
  4. Joan

    I was denied entry in the fall for having Cuban goods in my car (I had just gotten back from Cuba into another province and was going to take a trip into the US before heading home) They gave me the option of surrendering my souvenirs and continuing into the states, or keeping everything and driving back across to Canada, I chose to keep my things and went home. I’m planning a trip to the US this summer, will I get denied because of it? There is no denied entry stamp on my passport.

    Reply
    1. Duley

      Hi there. I’m hoping you guys can help.

      Last year I got caught with less than 3 grams of Cannabis on me in USA.

      I recently got rejected by a customs officer in USA upon arrival back.

      As when I filled out my ESTA a question asks ” Have you ever violated any law using distributing illegal drugs?”

      I said NO as my lawyer informed me at the time of when this incident happened that I was NEVER convicted. So I should answe NO. So I was giving false information from my lawyer by the looks of it.

      I was offered a Plea deal to which I excepted and completed and the offense would be cleared from my record after 2 years.

      I am now not aloud to enter the USA under the “Visa Wavier Programme”

      I have to now apply for a Visa to enter. But I read that if I get denied for that I am banned from entering USA for up to 10 years.

      What should I do ???

      Reply
      1. Mira Freiwat

        Hello Duley,

        Thank you for your post. I cannot tell you how common this is, as we’ve handled hundreds of cases with similar issues to yours. It also makes it worse when a lawyer had ill-advised you. You definitely need to apply for a Waiver to be eligible to go back to the US, but it is not an easy or straight-forward process…complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ as it will tell me everything I need to know about your case. Once I have reviewed it, you will be contacted and notified on what can be done to overturn this negative decision. MF

        Reply
    2. Mira Freiwat

      Hello Joan,

      Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear about the trouble you had at the port of entry…this is more common than you think. There is a possibility that you could be subjected to questioning when traveling again as any incident that occurs at the border is documented and made available to any designated official to view. Although you have provided me with some details about the matter, I would still need some more information to asses the situation accurately. Kindly complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ and you will be contacted once it has been reviewed. MF

      Reply
  5. Evan

    Hello,
    I was just arrested for Dangerous Driving (completely innocent and am almost 100% certain the case will be dropped altogether). My court date is in a week from now and I am to leave on a trip to USA in a little under 2 weeks. My lawyer is representing me in court and will attend any pre trails/court hearings prior to the case being resolved. My question is, with a pending Dangerous Driving charge, as it is not a crime involving moral turpitude, will I still be admissible to the USA? I was previously charged with Assault but it was Withdrawn on a Peace Bond and I have traveled to the USA twice since that without any issues.
    Will this pending Dangerous Driving charge make me inadmissible to the USA? I couldn’t see them sending me back to Canada for this (as its not a charge like murder, rape, robbery, etc) but I want to make sure before I fly over 7 hours to find out they won’t let me in!

    Thanks in advance,

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Evan,

      You will likely be admissible to the US given that you did not commit a crime of moral turpitude, however, if you experience any issues at the border please let us know and we would be happy to assist you with an Entry Package and/or a Waiver application.
      Please fill out our free online assessment form, one of our immigration professionals will be in touch with you shortly http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  6. Dave jameson

    Hi I have a question for you if you have been denied entry from canada to the U.S. because of a criminal record what can you do if you own property in the U.S. and have been denied a waiver thank you

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Dave,

      If you still want to enter the US, the best option would be re-applying for a waiver of inadmissibility. We can certainly assist with this, so please don’t hesitate to contact us to setup a consultation with one of our experienced immigration lawyers.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  7. Prasad

    Hello, My wife was denied from airport, she had b1-b2 visa. They revoke the visa put some stamp in back… When i file through sponsor immigration, they said to file waiver too. it did happen in feb-2009. i did not file the waiver that time. Now i want to start that whole process again. Where i can start from. please guide me step by step.

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Prasad,

      Thanks for the question. We would be happy to do the waiver/family sponsorship on your behalf, and we would take a look at the reason your wife was previously denied entry and try to strengthen her application accordingly. We can also provide your wife with an entry package if she wishes to temporarily visit the US. Please let us know if your require further assistance.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  8. Duel

    Hey,
    I was denial entry this last week ,because I dint option. 1-20 from the school, I had M1 visa and I had travelled in July to sept and wanted to go back and finish up but I was denied entry and my 2yrs visa was cancelled . The stamp reads like this##CANCELLATION FOR ADMISSION WITHDRAW## how do I know if am banned? And if my fiancé applies me a fiancé visa will I have some problems? Pliz advise……

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Duel,

      You may not be banned from entering the US, you may just have been denied admission on one particular occasion. We can provide you with an entry package which will minimize the chance that you will be denied entry at the border. Please contact us if you require further assistance.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  9. Cynthia

    Hi,
    Im hoping someone can help me. I have an Iranian friend who has been trying to come to USA for 3 years now. He has went through everything and tried every thing possible. He even hired a lawyer and was finally granted a tourist visa. I didnt realize until recently that even if you get a tourist visa that its only good for leaving your current country but not guaranteed that you are allowed into USA at port of entry. My friend was suppose to come here in mid June, it’s now December and I havent even heard from him since we last spoke online the day of his flight. What could have happened? If they are denied and dont want to go back to their country, they put them in some kind of camp? Is that true? And how long do they have to stay there? How long until they are allowed to contact family/friends? I am sooo worried about him, he is like family and I cant imagine what hes going through. Its not like him to contat me if he were able to so I know something is very wrong. Does anyone know about what happens if they are denied entry to USA.. what options they are given? And if they are held somewhere, does anyone know the name of the organization? I really need some help, thank you!

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Cynthia,

      Your friend could have been denied entry to the US. Immigration officials at the border can deny anyone entry into the US under certain circumstances. It is possible your friend was sent back to their home country or is in a detention center in the US. Please feel free to contact us with any further questions.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  10. samuel

    thanks for this site please i was denied entry in to the us and a paper was giving to me asking me to go back with it were i was issued the visa.his reason for denying me is because my flight ticket has has a retuning in three months while i was suppose to stay in the us for 1week please what do i do…

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Samuel,

      You could try getting a new ticket for a flight that departs within the next week, as that seems to have been an important consideration for the officer. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  11. Kim Hughes

    My fiance’ (a UK citizen) was denied entry to the US in Vancouver, BC on 12/9/2014 (yesterday) for not having significant ties to his home country (ie: does not own property and is currently unemployed). He has been booked on a flight back to London on 12/10/2014 (today). He is part of the Visa Waiver program and has made this same trip at least 8 times since 2009 and never has had this brought up. Is there anything that can be done to overturn this before he is sent back to the UK? I am a US citizen born and bred in Oregon but I do not know what I can do to help him in this situation. They treated him as a criminal when he never has not returned to his home country.

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Kim,

      Thanks for the question. I’m sorry to hear that your fiance was denied entry to the US. The border officers do have the authority to deny entry to anyone for any reason they deem to be appropriate. At this point you should get in touch with one of our experienced immigration lawyers who can help to prevent him from being returned to the UK, and we can maximize his chances of gaining entry to the US by addressing those issues of unemployment and lack of property that you mentioned. Where is he staying when he goes back to the UK-that could be considered his property even if he is living with a friend or family member and paying some rent.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  12. Rasmus

    Hi.
    I have been in the US since july on the 3 month turist visa (ESTA) in september I left to Columbia and thereby extended my visit another 3 months. I am an athlete who travel the US and play tournaments and train. In December I am going home to Denmark for the holidays and I am planning on coming back in january to play a few tournaments and do a roadtrip with two friends. I am a bit afraid to get denied as I have been here in almost 6 months already.
    But what happens if I get denied? Do they send me home the same day and do I have to pay for the flight? and will it have any consequences on the long run to get denied?
    Thank you very much for taking the time.

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Rasmus,

      If you get denied then you will typically be sent home on the next flight if you arrive by plane. If you overstayed your previous visa then you may encounter difficulties entering the US, however we specialize in cases involving inadmissibility and can help you maximize the chances that you will be permitted to enter the US.Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  13. JACKSON REILY

    I HAVE FRIEND WHO WAS SENT BACK FROM THE US AIRPORT WITHOUT ENTRY DUE TO THE PAPERWORK. NO HEARING WAS DONE ONLY WAS KEPT IN THE TRANSITION AREA OVERNIGHT AND THE IMMIGRATION OFFICER SENT BACK. IT WAS 30 YEARS AGO. HE CAME BACK WITH A DIFFERENT PASSPORT NOT USING THE LAST NAME BUT ONLY THE MIDDLE NAME AND DIFFERENT BIRTH DATE. HE IS A US CITIZEN. BUT SOME ONE IS THREATENING TO REPORT THIS. IS HE IN TROUBLE NOW. THERE IS NO RECORD OF THAT.

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Jackson,

      Thank you for the question. If your friend is a US citizen, it will be very difficult for the border officers to deny him entry into the U.S. even if there is some sort of mistake or error in some of his paperwork. That being said, it is still theoretically possible for your friend to be denied entry in certain circumstances, and if that occurs, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us as we would be glad to assist him.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  14. June

    My partner has a criminal record for drunk and dissordaly and a caution for possessing a small amount of class a when he was younger.
    He applied for a visa and attended the interview in london at the embassy.
    He was told as it was a while ago everything was ok and the issued him with a 10 year multiple entry visa into his passport.
    The visa was a B2 visa
    We flew to the states on a family holiday and at the airport he was questioned and refused entry.
    The officials were saying something about him needing a waiver.
    He was interviewed , refused entry and we came home on the same plane we went there on.
    Please help will he be able to reapply and go back for a holiday as they did say we could reapply but I wasnt sure if the refusal wall have ann impact on future decissions.

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello June,

      I am sorry to hear that your partner was denied entry to the US, and it does seem like they will need a waiver in order for their visa application to be successful, and we would be happy to guide you through the complex process of obtaining a waiver so that your partner can enter the US with you

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
    2. owen

      Hello June,

      I am sorry to hear that your partner was denied entry to the US, and it does seem like they will need a waiver in order for their visa application to be successful, and we would be happy to guide you through the complex process of obtaining a waiver so that your partner can enter the US with you. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  15. Miguel

    Hi, I have been 68 days in the US with visitor ESTA and I need to come back to Europe for only 7-9 days to come back to the US. So my ESTA would not be over when I come back but I need to stay for 6 weeks.

    I have an “Invitation Letter” from my US office and I will carry with me my flight dates, my applicable contract in the Netherlands.
    Do you think I might be refused to get back in?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Sarah Jane MacDonald

      Hello Miguel,
      It is possible, yes. Best that you fill out our online assessment form in order for one of our Immigration Team Members to review your details and contact you directly.

      Regards,
      Sarah Jane

      Reply
  16. Elena

    My inlaws who have had their I visas for over ten years and have always went back on time got denied their entry at the atl air port because of a one time over stay of five to ten days … Which was the one and only time they did. They were sent back … What can we do to get everything back so they are able to come since they have been back twice since that over stay and just now being denied?

    Reply
    1. Michael Niren

      Hello Elana

      Thanks for the question. Your inlaws may need a TRP to enter Canada or possibility what we call an “entry package” showing they are not a risk of offending any immigration rules. We or another law firm can help
      Best
      Michael

      Reply
  17. Steph

    What Happens if you are denied entry at the airport. We are from Australia and spending a week in the USA and then 4 weeks in Canada. If we are denied can we choose to fly straight to Canada. Any Information on this would be hugely appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Michael Niren

      Hello Steph

      If you are denied at the US airport they could send you right back. The option of going to another country may not be available so would not count on that. The best thing to do is to make sure you have your paperwork prepared in advance before making the trip to the USA. Michael

      Reply

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