QUESTION: In March 2011, I was going to the States to au pair for a family. I went to the airport with the impression that I didn't need a visa. When I got there I was interviewed and my passport was stamped "Refused in accordance with INA section 217 RO6020". I have received my Canadian work visa to work there for 12 months but I need to stop in the States to get my connecting flight to Toronto. I was wondering will this stamp on my passport be an issue at the airport? I seem to be going around in circles with various people I have spoken to. Any help would be much appreciated.
REPLY: It sounds as though you have been refused admission under the Visa Waiver Program based upon your intent to work in the U.S. (the VWP is only meant to apply to visitors). The result of being refused admission under the VWP is that you are no longer eligible to use the program. This means that you need to obtain a visa through the U.S. Consulate to travel to the U.S., even if it is only in-transit. The C visa is specifically for the purpose of foreign nationals traveling through the U.S. in-transit. The other option is to try to find a direct flight to Canada.