Deferred Inspection

A deferred inspection is an inspection conducted by CBP officers that takes place on a date after an individual’s initial application for admission into the U.S., usually at a different site than where the individual originally applied for admission.

An order to appear for a deferred inspection will usually be issued if primary and secondary inspections at the port of entry cannot generate an immediate determination as to the individual’s U.S. immigration status. This can occur if an individual does not have sufficient documentation when s/he first applies for admission at the border.

There are 70 deferred inspection sites throughout the U.S. and its outlying territories, one of which is the Peace Bridge Port of Entry in Buffalo, NY.

CBP determines whether to issue an order for deferred inspection on a case-by-case basis. A U.S. immigration policy memorandum outlines the policies and procedures followed when processing deferred inspections at ports of entry.

The criteria used to determine whether to grant deferred inspection include:

  • the likelihood the applicant will be establish admissibility
  • the type of documents needed and the ability to obtain them
  • the good faith effort of the applicant to obtain documents prior to arrival at the port of entry
  • verification of the applicant’s identity and nationality
  • age, health, and family ties of the applicant
  • other humanitarian considerations
  • likelihood that applicant would appear at deferred inspection
  • the nature of the ground of inadmissibility
  • the danger to society if the applicant is paroled

If CBP decides to grant you a deferred inspection, an officer will give you a Form I-546, Order to Appear-Deferred Inspection, which will explain what information and documents you should bring with you to the deferred inspection site.

You must appear for a deferred inspection. If you do not appear, a Notice to Appear is issued, placing you in removal proceedings before an Immigration Court, and your name will be posted on the National Automated Immigration Lookout System.

Although you have no right to a lawyer at primary or secondary inspection, you may be allowed to have a lawyer present at deferred inspection upon request if the supervisory inspector on duty deems it appropriate. The role of the lawyer at a deferred inspection is limited to that of an observer and consultant.

At the deferred inspection, the CBP officer will review the information requested on the Form I-546, Order to Appear-Deferred Inspection, and make appropriate determinations. The officer may decide to formally admit you, to continue your parole, to allow you to withdraw your application for admission, or to issue you a Notice to Appear, which places you in removal proceedings. In some instances, CBP may also decide to detain you for removal proceedings.


  • Federal Regulations: 8 C.F.R. § 235.2 – Parole for Deferred Inspection
  • Williams Memo (May 18, 2002) outlining the policies and procedures to be followed when processing deferred inspections at ports of entry