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Old 04-11-2012, 11:45   #1
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Uk National With Hassle At Immigration

hi,folks,just wondering what my next move should be...i bought a sail boat 2 year ago in fort lauderdale and been cruising east side of usa and bahamas..i have a usa visa..i and my family own a business in the uk so have to come over when i can..this is usually for 3 week periods making sure that i do not stay more than 6 months in any 1 year...yesterday 3rd NOV i was allmost refused entry at the airport philidelphia because they said that i have been in usa for more than 6 months...they were looking at the information on computer screen and i was not allowed to look at it...i did not have much in way of records with me so could not check....they also said that i should not be coming over so much and should try and do my sailing in one 6 month period....they also said that i was coming over every month...but that is not so....having checked my time in usa this year....it is more like four and half month....i have a cruising permit....they gave me a final warning not to come over so many times next year and put something to that effect on the computer on my record....i am 70 years old and was really enjoying my sailing over here and met some really nice criusers....would be be delighted if any one could give me some advice.....cheers have some great sailing...frank
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:50   #2
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Re: uk national with hassle at immigration

What type VISA do you have?
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:54   #3
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Re: uk national with hassle at immigration

Sounds very odd. First, if they were making claims about your travel that were incorrect I would say so very clearly. Then follow up with a letter to US Customs and Immigration, perhaps contact the British Embassy with your questions.

I had a friend that was getting stopped and pulled for hand search every time he came through customs. Finally found out that his name was the same as some South American terrorist that was on the watch list (he is from Mexico). It could be you encountered a similar problem?

I have never heard of a problem with visitors coming to the US too often. As long as you are within the terms of your visa then I don't understand the concern.

Maybe you ran into an agent having a bad day.
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Old 04-11-2012, 21:40   #4
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Re: Uk National With Hassle At Immigration

My understanding is that once there's a note in the computer, it will be an issue every time you pass through the border. So I would check what you can do about it within the beurocracy, and not hope that it'll just disappear. I don't have much faith in that, so maybe you could also base your boat somewhere else -- the BVI? -- for part of the year, or forever.

I don't know anything about the visa options for UK folks in the US, but I know a couple from the UK that were here, on their boat, for years. So there must be a way to navigate the system and get the flexibility you want.

But I think a UK passport gives you an enviable array of options for cruising, much more than a US passport. I once sailed with an Indian friend, and checking in with his off color passport mixed in with our blue ones was ... a struggle. I wish that individuals had the same freedom of movement that money and corporations do.
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Old 04-11-2012, 22:58   #5
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Re: Uk National With Hassle At Immigration

I, a U.S. citizen, have been entering your country once a month (or more) for the last 15 years, and never a question. The worst thing I can say about the process is that the lines at passport control at Heathrow can reach two hours.

Your visa does give you the right to come and go as often as you like as long as you don't exceed six months in a year. I have no idea what they're on about. I suggest that you collect documentary proof of your movements (boarding passes, old passports with stamps if applicable, etc.) and try to get a meeting in the consular department in the US embassy in London.

Another approach might be just to sail off to the Caribbean for a while.
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:00   #6
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Re: Uk National With Hassle At Immigration

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
...Your visa does give you the right to come and go as often as you like as long as you don't exceed six months in a year...
The Visa does not give one any rights to entry, that is at the discretion of the interviewing officer and potentially that of his/her supervisor. A visa does not guarantee entry in the USA.

Unfortunately the collection of the I-94 forms is not a perfect system, so it is possible that a one-month trip to the USA is noted as a 3 month trip if only the second I-94 form is entered into the computer system. You have a perfect record of your entries to USA in your passport and would need to look at your return flight records to get the exit times. They take those 6-months in a 12-month rolling period seriously and they will issue warnings if it looks like anyone even comes close. This has happened to people I know who do the same (except they spend time on land) and they keep records with them regarding their travel times [copies of tickets/boarding passes leaving the USA] to avoid just such an entry problem.

Unfortunately it will take a number of years for the "flag", if such was actually entered into the system, to be cleared and you might have to reconcile yourself to constant questions upon entry and perhaps even the occasional relegation to secondary inspection.

It would seem that having a visa in your passport for a country with a visa waiver in place is also a noteworthy thing. Every single time I now enter the USA as a tourist I get asked why I have a visa but once I state that I have a sailboat they just wave me on with no further questioning.


Visa (travel.us.gov)
Quote:
A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the U.S. port-of entry, and request permission of the U.S. immigration inspector to enter the U.S. Issuance of a visa does not guarantee entry to the U.S. The CBP Officer at the port-of-entry determines whether you can be admitted and decides how long you can stay for any particular visit.
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:15   #7
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Re: Uk National With Hassle At Immigration

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Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
The Visa does not give one any rights to entry, ..

It would seem that having a visa in your passport for a country with a visa waiver in place is also a noteworthy thing. Every single time I now enter the USA as a tourist I get asked why I have a visa but once I state that I have a sailboat they just wave me on with no further questioning.


Visa (travel.us.gov)
+1 My situation also. 2003 did some deliveries across lake Ontario. Because Oswego and Trenton are not "gateway cities", I was advised to get a 10yr visa.
Now, when I travel (frequently) to the US, I go thru the full hand and eye routine.
Return of the I-94 stub is critical on departure.
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:18   #8
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Re: Uk National With Hassle At Immigration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
The Visa does not give one any rights to entry, that is at the discretion of the interviewing officer and potentially that of his/her supervisor. A visa does not guarantee entry in the USA.
This is correct and I thank you for correcting my post. I spoke carelessly. Certainly it is definitely true that having a valid visa by itself is no guarantee of entry, and I should have said that.

However, it should also be noted -- and this is what I meant -- that the immigration officer does not have discretion to refuse entry to a person with a valid visa for no reason -- he has to have a reasonable belief that the terms of the visa are being violated or that the traveller intends to violate them. That probably doesn't give you a right to sue, but it does put a certain burden on the immigration officer. If you come well furnished with documentary evidence that you have never violated your visa terms, and if in case of challenge you present all of this patiently and politely, it is very hard to imagine that you would be turned away.

Keep in mind that the fundamental requirements of a B1/B2 visa are that the traveller has strong ties to his home country (your business, relatives, home), has a residence there (a tax return showing your declaration of residence can help), and can afford to be there (a bank statement). It is possible that having your boat there permanently can look like an intention to immigrate -- keep that in mind -- which is a red flag. Is the boat UK registered? You should be ready to explain when you plan to take the boat out of the country -- that could help on that issue.

All this begs the question, however, of why bother? There are plenty of other countries which will welcome you with open arms for wanting to spend time there and spend your money.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:09   #9
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Unfortunately frank. You have run into a problem I also experienced. I presume you are on a b1, Sometimes they don't mark you out correctly so if have say a 3 month stamp yet you leave after a month they take the 3 month figure. If you make multiple entries for relatively short periods this can happen. Also I experienced problems with incorrect processing of I-94 stubs.

I experienced this making visits on business. You can request a meeting ( if you can get it ) with the US embassy in London and try to clarify the situation. I , at the time , got a letter clarifying my situation and that helped.

You will need to check with us immigration that all your entry and exit stubs match up. U fortunately accessing this info is time consuming and difficult.

If you have now a flag on your record , you are going to find entry procedures are going to get more troublesome.

The US runs ones of the most draconian immigration policies for tourists, anywhere. Unfortunately you may find your future plans to holiday in the US more difficult then in the past

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Old 05-11-2012, 16:47   #10
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Re: Uk National With Hassle At Immigration

Quote:
Originally Posted by frank wood View Post
hi,folks,just wondering what my next move should be...i bought a sail boat 2 year ago in fort lauderdale and been cruising east side of usa and bahamas..i have a usa visa..i and my family own a business in the uk so have to come over when i can..this is usually for 3 week periods making sure that i do not stay more than 6 months in any 1 year...yesterday 3rd NOV i was allmost refused entry at the airport philidelphia because they said that i have been in usa for more than 6 months...they were looking at the information on computer screen and i was not allowed to look at it...i did not have much in way of records with me so could not check....they also said that i should not be coming over so much and should try and do my sailing in one 6 month period....they also said that i was coming over every month...but that is not so....having checked my time in usa this year....it is more like four and half month....i have a cruising permit....they gave me a final warning not to come over so many times next year and put something to that effect on the computer on my record....i am 70 years old and was really enjoying my sailing over here and met some really nice criusers....would be be delighted if any one could give me some advice.....cheers have some great sailing...frank
hi folks,just to thank every body for the usefull info. found it interesting and very helpfull.just for the record i have a 10 year usa visa....sailing from brunswick landing marina to fort lauderdale.will try and clear the problem up when i get there before flying back to uk in 2 weeks.then in feb 2013 going to bahamas for 6 weeks then i hope to renew my cruising permit on rentry to usa...thank you once again....frank wood
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:17   #11
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Re: uk national with hassle at immigration

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Sounds very odd. First, if they were making claims about your travel that were incorrect I would say so very clearly. Then follow up with a letter to US Customs and Immigration, perhaps contact the British Embassy with your questions.

I had a friend that was getting stopped and pulled for hand search every time he came through customs. Finally found out that his name was the same as some South American terrorist that was on the watch list (he is from Mexico). It could be you encountered a similar problem?

I have never heard of a problem with visitors coming to the US too often. As long as you are within the terms of your visa then I don't understand the concern.

Maybe you ran into an agent having a bad day.
Just to say thank you for your information and interest,appreciate it.frank wood
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