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Denied entry at US border

Madeleine lives in Canada about 100 miles north of the US border. Joshua her American fiance lives in Buffalo. Because they both live so close to the border they have been able to spend many weekends together. Either she goes down to meet him or he drives up to meet her

Their happy courtship continued this way until one time when Madeleine was stopped at the border and asked by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer what was the purpose of her trip ? This was after he had checked her computerize record of border crossings and he had noticed she had been making many frequent trips. She told him she has a boyfriend in Buffalo and they were just spending some time together. He said OK go on through. A few weeks later she was at The same border checkpoint embarking on another visit to her fiance, a different officer said You've been visiting the US so much its almost like you are living here. That is not the purpose of the visitor waiver you have been using. If you are serious about your relationship and possibly living permanently the USA you will have to apply for a fiancee visa or get married and apply for a spouse visa. Sorry but you cannot enter the USA today . Maybe in a few months later this will change but for now, please turn around go back.

The next day Madeleine and Joshua called for their free phone consultation. And the day after we started working on their fiance visa. As of this recording, we got her visa, they married and honeymooned in Orlando, and her adjustment of status for her Green Card has been submitted and is in process..

I regularly get similar phone calls from other distraught couples whose plans for a pleasant holiday together in the USA were dashed by the foreign born fiance being turned away at the US border. This seems to happen most frequently to Canadian American or Mexican American couples who because of living not too far from each other on the border got into the habit of frequently crossing the borders during their courtship. I have also heard from much sadder cases where the gal was turned away after an expensive 12 or 14 hour flight to the USA

Whenever your fiance travels to visit you in the USA there is a chance she will be refused entry to the USA and turned away at the US border.

Each time she enters the USA she is inspected by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the border.

His job is to screen incoming visitors deciding if they should be allowed entry or not. Regardless of what visa the traveler is using, admittance to the USA is always at the discretion of the CBP officer.

He may ask questions about the purpose of her trip, how long she will stay, where she will stay, when she plans to return to her home country, does she plan to work, who she is visiting and so on.

The objective of his questioning is to determine if there is any reason to suspect that the traveler may be planning to violate the terms of the visa she is using.

One potential visa violation he is watching for is the foreign traveler who has been granted a visa that permits a short visit, but appears likely that she MIGHT be intending to misuse that temporary visa and remain in the USA permanently.

If the traveler gives the impression that she plans to live permanently in the USA, even if not immediately but eventually, that can set off his alarm bells and may cause him to refuse entry.

Frequent and especially extended trips to visit the USA to meet with one,s American lover or fiance eventually gets onto Immigrations radar. And on each entry CBP may escalate the intensity of the questions asked of the foreign visitor until she is finally warned that this is the last trip or far worse refused entry outright.

When she describes her plans to meet her fiance or her passport shows she has been making regular visits and extended stays the officer may say Well, Miss the proper visa for you to travel under is called a K-1 fiance visa. I,ll let you in today, but please the next time that you enter the USA it will be better if you use the Fiance visa to visit your boyfriend /fiance.

Or without a sympathetic advance warning, he might immediately refuse entry. Sorry, I can,t allow you to enter. I am cancelling your visa waiver (or B-2 visitor visa). Apply for the K-1 if you want to be admitted next time.. Your fiance would have no choice but to return to the international transit lounge to wait for the first available flight back to her country.

Other red flags that a traveler is considering unlawful permanent residency would be being unemployed and having no job to return to, traveling on a one-way ticket, having no home or residence to return to.

It is OK to travel to the USA to visit friends and/or lovers. It is even OK to travel to the USA to get married.. The big no-no is intending to stay permanently. And it is necessary to avoid the appearance that you plan to stay permanently.

In summary. If she has a visa or visa waiver permitting her to enter the USA your foreign born fiance can use it to visit you. However each border crossing is at the discretion of the inspecting officer at the border. If her previous trips have been frequent and/or her stays extended this may put her onto immigrations radar. Once all on the radar she may find herself limited to a K-1 fiance or CR-1 spouse visa.

By Fred Wahl
the VisaCoach

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