Why Would Someone Be Denied Entry to the United States?

Unfortunately, people are denied entry to the United States every day! Not all of these people deserve to be denied entry to the United States or pose a risk to the United States – mistakes can happen, but in these times of increased border security the United States feels that they are better safe than sorry. It can be surprising, disappointing and frustrating to be denied entry to the United States. If you have been denied entry to the United States, there are two main reasons why this happened to you: denied entry to the US

Reasons for being denied entry to the United States

The two main reasons someone would be denied entry to the United States at the US-Canada border or a United States port of entry (such as an airport) are medical inadmissibility and criminal inadmissibility.

Medical inadmissibility to the United States

Someone who is medically inadmissible to the United States may have a medical problem or medical condition that the United States considers to be dangerous to public health or social services. These types of medical conditions can include contagious diseases, a history of drug addiction or even something as simple as not having all of the required, up-to-date vaccines.

Criminal inadmissibility to the United States

Another reason for being denied entry to the United States is for having a criminal record or criminal conviction, which is referred to as being criminally inadmissible to the United States.

Even a small offence, or a very old offence on your criminal record can make you criminally inadmissible to the United States. Some examples of these types of offences include driving under the influence charges (DUIs) or a drug possession charge for marijuana in the 1970s.

What can I do?

You’re not out of luck if you’ve been denied entry to the United States. Canadians, for example, can apply for waivers of inadmissibility, sometimes called US Waivers. These waivers will allow the immigration officer to better pay attention to the circumstances surrounding your individual case. You will need to provide a lot of information if you apply for US waivers. for example, a criminal conviction related to drugs may require you to obtain a clearance certificate for passing a drug test from your doctor and obtaining the files relating to your case from the RCMP.

Whichever your reason for being denied every to the United States, we can help! We have successfully dealt with thousands of denial of entry to the United States cases. Contact us for an assessment of your case before you travel!

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

  • Jason

    My girlfriend was coming to visit me for 3 weeks. she answers everything truethfully and pulled aside for further questioning. she is threatened repeatly to be put in jail. She had her proof of employment with her. the issue was that her company mistakenly paid her for a week when she was previously in the US on a past visit. So the cbp officer was telling her that she commited fraud and they were taking her visa away for 5 years. then put her in a cell to sleep. The next morning a officer wakes her up gives her visa back and says this is no big deal, get that check stub fixed and come back tomorrow. Is this a legitimate denied entry or is it classified as something else? Should she try to come back or will she probably have issues now because of this inncodent? Eventually we would like to get married and file for a cr-1 and do not want anything to affect those chance. But these were just legitimate vacation trips for short periods of time while she was available.

    • Hello Jason

      That is indeed a strange story. She was denied entry for sure but then admitted to the US? In this case I would make sure that the next time she comes to the US, she has a set of documents showing a) why she is entering the US and b) all her ties to her home country to show she will not be violating any US immigration rules.


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