Why Are People Denied Entry to the US?

Many travelers are surprised to find out that people can be denied entry to the United States and are even more surprised when it happens to them. But the truth is, people are denied entry to the United States every single day and for a variety of different reasons.

When someone is denied entry to the United States, they cannot enter the country and must leave immediately. If they are at the border, they must turn around. If they flew to an airport, they will be put on the next flight home.

Reasons Someone May Be Denied Entry to the United States

Reasons someone would be denied entry to the United States are primarily criminal, financial, health-related or immigration related.

Criminal Inadmissibility

Most commonly, people are denied entry to the United States because they have a criminal record that would render them inadmissible, and while not all criminal records will render you inadmissible to the United States, many will. Convictions such as common assault, mischief, and DUI are normally not of concern. However, Crimes of Moral Turpitude (crimes of dishonesty and crimes of violence where harm was intended) and Drug Offences will almost always make you inadmissible.  There are exceptions.

The USA does not recognize Pardons or Record Suspensions. Conditional and Absolute Discharges are treated like convictions and may still render you inadmissible even if no conviction resulted. You may also be denied for offences you admit to having committed even if no conviction resulted. Youth offences may make you excludable if you were tried as an adult for felony violence or felony drugs.

Once a conviction makes you inadmissible, it always makes you inadmissible. However, remember, not all convictions will get you banned from entering the USA–either because they are not excludable or the exception rule applies.

A United States Waiver allows you legal entry into the United States if you are inadmissible. Inadmissibility could arise due to a number of factors, including criminal inadmissibility and other factors described below.

Funds and Illegal Work in the USA

If it is determined that you do not have enough funds to support your stay in the USA and/or you do not have a return ticket or job to the country you came from, you could be denied entry if it is suspected that you intend to work illegally in the USA.

You are allowed to enter the United States without a work visa for work purposes such as attending a business meeting or conference, to negotiate a contract or even to take orders for goods manufactured abroad on behalf of a Canadian or foreign company. If you are not sure if the work-related tasks you are performing require you to get a work visa.

Medical Inadmissibility

Health issues that can pose a threat to the safety of Americans are also on the list, including substance abuse issues, a history of drug addiction, a communicable disease or mental health disorders that pose a danger to others.

Multiple driving-related offences may make you inadmissible to the USA for medical reasons. You can also be denied for other medical reasons based upon your appearance or any prescription-related drugs you may have in your possession.

Though medical insurance is no guarantee that you will be let in, having proof of medical insurance may assure the border guard that you have the resources to pay for your medical expenses should you encounter medical issues in the United States.  If you are denied entry to the USA for medical reasons, you may be given an opportunity to get a medical test done to prove that your medical issues will not be a burden to the USA.

Improper Documentation

If you are not a Canadian (this includes Permanent Residents of Canada) you may require a visitor visa from the USA Consulate in order to visit the USA. If you fail to travel with the proper visa, you can be denied entry. Other visa requirements include Work Visa and Study Visa.

Traveling with an Unadmissable Alien

You could be denied entry to the USA if you are traveling with someone who is inadmissible to the USA. If you do it knowingly, you could be charged with harboring an illegal alien.

 

Previous immigration violations can also cause you to be denied entry, including overstays.

Are you concerned that you will be denied entry to the United States? Give our immigration law firm a call. We can help you determine whether or not you will be inadmissible, as well as help you explore your options.

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

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