What To Expect When Entering The U.S.

Millions of people enter the United States every year. Anyone who arrives at a port of entry – whether by land, air, or sea – must have their credentials inspected by Customs and Border Protection officers for compliance with immigration, customs, and agriculture regulations. This includes citizens, immigrants, and visitors.

Entering The U.S.

When you enter the U.S., you can expect the customs official to ask to see your passport and travel documents to verify that you have permission to enter the U.S. They’ll also be looking for evidence that you should not be allowed in to the country so be sure to have all of your documents ready and answer their questions truthfully and respectfully. There are 3 ways to enter the United States legally: as a citizen, as a green card holder, or as a visitor. Here’s what to expect in each situation: 

  1. Entering the U.S. as a U.S. citizen. If you are a United States citizen who is entering the country after a trip abroad, you will be allowed in to the county. You’ll still need to provide your passport and identifying documentation but as a citizen, you are guaranteed entry.
  2. Entering the U.S. as a Green Card holder. If you have a green card and are entering the U.S. you have the right to travel outside the U.S. and to return, but you are not automatically guaranteed re-entry. You’ll need to present your foreign passport, your U.S. green card, and possibly a re-reentry permit if you have been traveling outside of the U.S for over a year.
  3. Entering the U.S. as a visitor. In order to enter the U.S. as a visitor, you’ll need to have a visitor visa, also referred to as a non-immigrant visa. These visas are typically issued for either business (B-1 Visitor Visa) or tourism (B-2 Visitor Visa), although Student/Exchange visas are also common. Once you disembark, you’ll be directed to an officer to present your visa and travel documents. At this point officers can refuse your entry and cancel or revoke your visa if they determine that you have violated the terms of the visa.

Why Might I Be Denied Entry To The U.S.?

There are many reasons why green card holder or visa holders may be denied entry to the U.S. Most typically, they have violated the terms of their green card/visa in some way such as by:

  • Not returning to the U.S. within the specified time period
  • Committing crimes
  • Being found “inadmissible” for a green card. Every time you leave the U.S. and attempt to re-enter grounds of inadmissibility can be applied to you again
  • Violating the terms of your visa such as by working when you were not supposed to

Any non-citizen who is re-entering the United States faces the risk of a customs officer denying entry. Customs officials do have the power to deny entry and they will look for reasons to deny entry. They are trained to be skeptical and suspicious. Even if your intentions are true and valid, if the officer discovers a problem or discrepancy, thinks you are lying, or believes you to be a security risk he or she can legally deny you entry.

Contact Orlando Immigration Attorney Gail Seeram With Immigration Questions

If you have any questions or concerns about your immigration status, green card, or visa contact The Law Offices of Gail Seeram. Top Orlando immigration attorney Gail Seeram, can help you navigate the green card or visa process and ensure your paperwork is in order so you do not get denied re-entry to the U.S. after a trip abroad.

Text or call 407-292-7730 to arrange a free consultation.