Immigration Issues/Refused entry !
QUESTION: I hope you can give me some guidance please...I have travelled many times to the U.S since 1987..In January 2002 I flew with my girlfriend to O'Hare in Chicago for a 10 day trip. I was told my the immigration staff that I had overstayed on a previous trip!I was refused entry, had fingerprints taken as well as a thumb & retina scan. We were put back on the next available flight to Heathrow where I promptly booked a flight to Vancouver and we enjoyed an unplanned holiday in a different part of North America...(terrible jet lag!!)I now have an invitation to go to a wedding in Chicago next February. What do you suggest ??It was suggested to me that I apply for a visa and would need to have an interview at the U.S embassy in Grosvenor Square..Looking forward to your point of view on this issue..
ANSWER: Unfortunately, you have fallen into a common situation where for whatever reason your right to enter the USA under the waiver visa program has been canceled. This usually happens when a person enters and leaves "too often" eliciting suspicion that the person is not visiting the USA but actually living in the USA and visiting someplace else (in violation of the terms of the waiver visa program). Once this happens the only solution is to get another visa at the consulate. You should ask for a B visa and be honest about your intent to only visit. Note: too much honesty can cause harm: if you say you are planning to get married they will deny the visa since you are now entering the US with the intent to stay permanently, not to visit "briefly".
If you want to live in the USA, but do not want to get married, there are other alternatives. The E visa is ideal, and what I do for most of my UK clients. Under that visa you make a modest investment in the USA, start some sort of business here, hire some US workers, and hopefully make enough money to justify the entire enterprise. You can stay as long as you like, and leave whenever you want.
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QUESTION: Thank you for your prompt and informative reply. If I may ask another question ?? If I am successful in getting a B visa at the US consulate in London is it still the discretion of the immigration officer to admit me when I arrive in the States ? I only want to stay a maximum of 2 weeks as I have work commitments here in London..Does the issuing of a visa automatically allow me entry ??
Unfortunately, the entry officer has virtually unlimited discretion. This is the same in the UK. Until you actually are approved entry into the USA, you are not considered to be in the USA, and you have no rights whatsoever. But I doubt very seriously you would have problems with a B visa. After all you have done exactly what you have been told to do, have been reviewed by the consulate, checked by security, examined in person, etc. etc. etc.
Best of luck.