Common Reasons Why You Could Be Denied Entry to the US

By Michael Niren October 17, 2016 (Updated December 7, 2020) 3 min. read

The USA is the world’s number one country to immigrate and its government has put in place elaborate systems and practices to ensure its busy borders aren’t being crossed by undesirables.

Even if you have your passport handy, it’s possible to be turned away at the border, where the border guard’s authority cannot be questioned. To avoid being denied entry to the US it is important to plan ahead. Here are some common reasons why you might be denied entry at the border:

Health Reasons

Some border-crossing issues have to do with your health. For instance, you may be denied entry to the USA because you are suspected of having an infectious disease.

Not Enough Money to Travel

Another possibility is not being able to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while in the country. Finding employment to supplement your income while in the US would violate the terms of your tourist visa.

For situations such as these, you may not need legal assistance to generate sufficient funds or health for travel. However, the majority of reasons why people are stopped at the border can be potentially overcome with immigration expert guidance. Some circumstances cannot be overcome.

A Criminal Record

You can also be legally detained by border officers if they detect any active criminality on your part.

Having a criminal record or a record of past border malfeasance does not have to mean that you are permanently barred from the USA. Some documents can help overcome a bad record, such as a United States Entry Waiver. Also, some past criminal activity can be legally removed from your Canadian record. While it is possible to obtain these documents without assistance, it is recommended that you seek the advice of an immigration professional to ensure that you are properly prepared to cross the border and have all necessary supporting documents.

Staying Longer Than Allowed or Working Illegally

If you’re suspected of being an intended immigrant who plans on staying past the terms of your admission, your own testimony may not be enough to overcome the border officer’s reservations. In situations like these, one of the best ways to overcome such problems is, once again, to have already consulted with an immigration expert with in-depth knowledge of the US immigration system.

If you’ve previously worked illegally in the USA, then you cannot go backwards in time to resolve this black mark on your record.  Nor will you have much luck expunging your record so that crossing the border will be made possible. The same is true if you have a criminal record, have ties to a terrorist or criminal organization, or if you overstayed a previous trip to the USA.

In these situations, one of the worst things you can do is attempt to cross the border at another crossing point with another border officer. Their centralized system will reveal your attempt every time, and perhaps get you barred from the USA forever.

The Border Officer’s Call

Border officers enjoy a certain amount of autonomy regarding admissions. If you do not seem trustworthy to a border officer, you may be barred entry. Any attempt to outsmart or undermine the authority of a border officer will make the situation even less easily overcome.

All things considered, at the border, you are at the border guard’s mercy. That said, if there are any small irregularities in your profile, be honest and contrite. If any criminality has required a waiver or a pardon, and if you have gone through all the steps of receiving a waiver or a pardon, don’t assume that presenting such a document automatically curtails the stoppage. Don’t make excuses for your past behaviour. Acknowledge that you have made mistakes in the past, and show you have taken steps to become a better person.

Consulting an immigration expert will maximize your chances of crossing the border successfully. Be honest from the start. Go through all the recommended steps to acquire the appropriate paperwork. Have enough cash and a valid passport. Even if these things alone aren’t enough, applying the lessons learned from an immigration expert will still take you further toward success.

Ensure Your Success!

Are you interested in immigrating to the U.S. or moving to Canada? Contact VisaPlace today.

All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals and consultants who work for Niren and Associates an award winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

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