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Entering the Country

When coming to the United States from another country you will pass through a port of entry.  A port of entry is where a person legally enters the United States, including airports such as the Philadelphia International Airport. Ports of entry have a very high level of security.  A person trying to enter at a port may be refused entry or detained for a wide variety of reasons.

West Chester Lawyer for Seeking Entry into the United States

If you or a loved one has been detained or refused entry, or if you are planning to enter the United States and are concerned about potential issues, an attorney can help. With the assistance of a West Chester immigration attorney, we can help resolve underlying issues so that you may enter the U.S. as smoothly as possible. Contact Skinner Law Firm today at (610) 436-1410 to schedule a consultation.

We are based in West Chester, Pennsylvania and serve people entering the country throughout the Philadelphia and the tristate area, including Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery and York Counties. We represent clients before the Philadelphia Immigration Court, York Immigration Court and beyond.

Information on Entering the U.S.

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Customs and Border Protection Upon Entry

The federal agency charged with evaluating people and property entering the United States is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  CBP attempts to determine if a person is a threat to the United States – regardless of whether or not that person is an actual terrorist. CBP officers also evaluate your visa paperwork for any evidence of fraud or misrepresentation.

CBP will also search for contraband. Contraband can include weapons, controlled substances, large amounts of cash, endangered animals or animal products, or anything else that is regulated by U.S. treaties. Anyone caught with illegal contraband will most likely be detained, deported, or even face criminal charges.

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Entering the United States with a Criminal Record

If you have any kind of criminal record it is very important that you be prepared at a port of entry. Any type of criminal record will bring more scrutiny from the CBP and could result in you being denied entry, detained, or deported.

Convictions for crimes such as DUI and other non-major offenses are typically not an issue at a port of entry. The most important factor to consider is whether your conviction was from a single episode and whether you properly and fully disclosed it. The failure to disclose a conviction can have dire consequences, including a permanent bar from entering the United States.   

Certain major criminal offenses such as fraud, assault, or drug possession, will likely result in a person being denied entry at a port.  Any conviction for drug possession or a “crime of moral turpitude” can result in a refusal. It is important to consult with an attorney before attempting to enter the United States with a criminal record.

A waiver may be available in limited circumstances. If you believe you will (or might be) refused entry at the border, you should contact an immigration attorney within the United States. The attorneys at Skinner Law Firm may be able to help you obtain a waiver of ineligibility, so that you may enter the country legally.

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Biometrics Upon Entry

Every person seeking an immigration benefit must submit to biometrics.  Biometric data includes fingerprints, photographs, and other personal information. The U.S. government will compare this information against a database of known and suspected terrorists, people with criminal convictions, and people who have violated immigration laws in the past. A noncitizen’s biometrics must match all data on his or her identification documents. Biometric data is valid for 15 months and may need to be renewed every 15 months if you are still awaiting an immigration benefit.

If you have any reason to believe this biometric information will lead to you being detained or refused entry, for such things as a criminal record or previously submitted false information, it is very important to consult with an attorney.

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Skinner Law Firm - An Immigration Attorney for Entry Issues

If you wish to enter the United States and believe you might have an issue at a port of entry, contact Skinner Law Firm today.  If you or a loved one were detained while attempting to enter the United States, our West Chester immigration lawyers can help. Call Skinner Law Firm today at (610) 436-1410 to set up a consultation.

Contact Us Today

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. All fields are required.

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