The Inspection Process
Individuals seeking admission into the U.S. must demonstrate that they are eligible to enter the U.S. In order to be lawfully admitted into the U.S., individuals must be inspected by a CBP officer. Through the inspection process, CBP determines the admissibility of applicants for admission.
During an inspection at the border, a CBP officer will determine:
(1) Why you are coming to the U.S.;
(2) What documents are required for you to enter the U.S.;
(3) If you have the required documents;
(4) How long you should be allowed to remain in the U.S.; and
(5) If you are admissible or inadmissible.
CBP makes these determinations during processes called primary inspection and, if necessary, secondary inspection.
Primary inspection at a land border port of entry involves:
· Initial questioning in the vehicle lane/booth
· Review of identification of all individuals in the vehicle
· Review of the travel documents of all individuals in the vehicle
Sometimes, a more detailed inspection is required to make the determinations listed in (1)-(5) above. A more detailed and thorough inspection is called a secondary inspection.
Secondary inspections can include:
· Specific questions about your travel, your immigration history, and other related topics
· Inspection of your goods and your vehicle, including personal items
· A personal search
· A search of the CBP records system
· An search of the Internet
If you “pass” inspection, you will be allowed to proceed into the U.S. If, like most Canadian citizens, you are visa exempt, you will simply continue on your travels without any passport stamp or other travel documents. Every other foreign national, however, will be issue a Form I-94 and have their passport stamped before they enter the U.S.
If an immediate decision concerning the admissibility of an arriving alien cannot be made at the port of entry (sometimes due to a lack of documents), you may be scheduled for a deferred inspection on a future date, at which time you must personally appear at the designated location and present the necessary documents and information. If scheduled for a deferred inspection, you will be allowed to immediately proceed into the U.S., but must report to the deferred inspection site as instructed, or face removal from the U.S.
If inspection at the border reveals that you are inadmissible, you might be:
· Turned away with instructions on what you must do in order to enter the U.S.
· Issued an order of Expedited Removal
· Issued a Notice to Appear, which initiates removal proceedings against you. If this happens, you may also be placed in detention.
During an inspection at the border, individuals seeking admission are NOT protected by the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution only applies to those persons within the United States, therefore, only persons physically present within the U.S. are protected.
Some aliens entering with nonimmigrant visas may be required to provide fingerprints, photographs, or other specified biometric identifiers during the inspection process. Failure to comply with any requirement may result in a determination that the alien is inadmissible under § 212(a)(7), or other relevant grounds in § 212. 8 C.F.R. § 235.1(d)(1)(ii).