I was denied entry to the US. What do I do?

Denied entry to the US Q&A

Question. I was denied entry to the US. What do I do?

What do I do if I am denied entry to the US?

Answer. Getting denied at the US border whether a land border or the airport is often a traumatic experience.  In addition to being told that you cannot to travel, US Customs usually finger prints and photographs you making you feel very uncomfortable to say the least.

The most common reasons for being denied entry to the US is due to having a criminal record, in some cases very minor. The other reason is that there may have been some “US immigration history” of you being an “overstay” in the US in the past.  Finally, it may just be that US Customs does not believe that you are a “genuine visitor” and do not have sufficient ties to Canada or your home country to warrant admission to the US as a visitor.

What are your options when denied entry to the US?

Whatever the reason for being denied entry to the US, there are two solutions to deal with the problem. The first is what we call a “US Entry Package’ or UEP.  A UEP is a prepared set of documents with a cover letter addressed to US Customs and Border Protection outlining your ties to Canada and that you wish to enter the US as a genuine visitor for a temporary duration. A UEP is prepared at our office and is given to you to present to US Customs. It serves to clearly show that you are indeed a legitimate traveller. The UEP is usually for people who are denied entry to the US on grounds that US Customs does not believe you are a genuine visitor to the US.

The other approach is the apply for a US Entry Waiver or I-192 Application. This is really for people who are “inadmissible” to the US for reasons of criminality, misrepresentation or US immigration violations such as overstays or unlawful working in the US. A US Waver or I-192 application is a formal application that involves the completion of application forms and preparation of supporting documentation. The applicant also has to get RCMP fingerprints as well.

A US Waiver can take 6-8 months to process and the applicant has to wait until it is approved before attempting to enter the US. US Waivers can be granted for a 5 year period and during this time, the applicant can enter the US. After the  US Waiver expires, then the applicant has to apply for a renewal.


Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

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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 American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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