Visiting Undocumented Immigrant

Old Dec 23, 17, 6:10 pm
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Visiting Undocumented Immigrant

My girlfriend's visa expired and she isn't leaving until the end of January. Not defending her...just explaining the situation. I'm Canadian and she wants me to come visit her for the holidays. I'm just worried about mentioning her at immigration - is it a risk that they'll refuse me entry if they check into her situation? Thanks in advance.
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Old Dec 23, 17, 6:42 pm
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Moving thread to the Travel Safety/Security Forum. Please follow there
Thanks..
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Old Dec 23, 17, 6:48 pm
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The common wisdom seems to be never mention girl/boy friends to immigration. Just say you're coming for a vacation which is true. Don't lie, just don't give out irrelevant information.
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Old Dec 25, 17, 11:29 pm
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Originally Posted by manneca View Post
The common wisdom seems to be never mention girl/boy friends to immigration. Just say you're coming for a vacation which is true. Don't lie, just don't give out irrelevant information.
I don't think that's common "wisdom." It's common bad advice that turns people into nervous liars when the second question the officer asks is "Where are you staying" and the guy stammers "Oh . . . with . . . a friend" and then it goes downhill from there.

OP, I think it's possible that if you tell the CBP officers that you are visiting an illegal overstayer, they will assume that you will also illegally overstay and they will scrutinize your entry and demand greater proof that you're really going back to Canada.
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Old Dec 25, 17, 11:34 pm
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Just tell them the truth. You are visiting a friend for ?? days. Provide proof that you are returning back to the USA (job). You are the one being inspected for entry and so do not lie unless you want to barred from entry in the future.
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Old Dec 26, 17, 4:58 pm
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Uh, don't tell them you're visiting an overstayer... just your girlfriend.

I would think it would be a red flag, but my partner visited me a few times in the US when we lived apart, and she always mentioned me and was let in. She does have a good, solid history of short stays in the US, though.
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Old Dec 27, 17, 3:27 am
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I'm only going by those Border Security TV shows, but if you mention her there's a possibility that they'll ask questions about her, including nationality/visa conditions. With her name, they can check the database. (She'll likely be pulled aside when she leaves anyway, and have trouble returning.) Check out some touristy things to do where you'll be visiting and tell them about those.
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Old Dec 28, 17, 1:34 pm
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I'll add, be sure to bring the appropriate luggage for the trip and that will minimize your chance of even being questioned at immigration. For 1 person travelling, keep it to 1 bag (+ personal item) if travelling by air, and it should be a bag that you'll spend little to no exertion moving around.
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Old Dec 28, 17, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by mdkowals View Post
I'll add, be sure to bring the appropriate luggage for the trip and that will minimize your chance of even being questioned at immigration. For 1 person travelling, keep it to 1 bag (+ personal item) if travelling by air, and it should be a bag that you'll spend little to no exertion moving around.
You're going to have to explain that to me, especially the part about 'exertion'. Not sure where the OP is travelling from, but in many cases the 'interview' upon US entry will be before the luggage is retrieved.
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Old Dec 28, 17, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
You're going to have to explain that to me, especially the part about 'exertion'. Not sure where the OP is travelling from, but in many cases the 'interview' upon US entry will be before the luggage is retrieved.
I'm assuming the OP is Canadian visiting the US via air. In that case, they can use the APC kiosks for passport control. Assuming they answer "no" to all the APC questions, then the way to end up needing a secondary interview is either through suspicious activity in the baggage claim area or at the customs checkpoint exiting baggage claim. I think the OP's mission is to get through this whole process answering as few questions as possible - from anybody.

If, for some reason, the OP has to answer more than 1-2 questions about his visit to the US and he has to disclose he his visiting his girlfriend at location X, the #1 concern for border control will be the risk that the Canadian will overstay his welcome in the US. Looking like you're very obviously only taking a 1-week trip (or less) can help manage how deep they tread down that rabbit hole. They would have to dig VERY deep before they ever found out that the resident he was visiting was in fact, overstaying a visa herself.

From those border security shows, they seem to hone in on people travelling with excess baggage. From the point of view of a Border Control Officer, if someone WAS to overstay their welcome visiting a significant other, one thing they would do is travel with a significant chunk of their belongings (multiple, heavy, bags).

So honestly, I'm thinking a clean-cut Canadian OP travelling with a 21" roll-aboard can scoot through an APC and then get in-out of the customs hall without saying practically anything. In some places (DFW is one), if you can manage carry-on only, you go through APC then walk practically straight past the customs agent on the way out the door, even without Global Entry.

More advice for the OP: A lot of data is shared between the US and Canada, if she overstays her visa in the US, there's a chance that may come back to haunt her if she visits Canada someday. Might be worth some digging into.
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Old Dec 28, 17, 6:52 pm
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Originally Posted by mdkowals View Post
They would have to dig VERY deep before they ever found out that the resident he was visiting was in fact, overstaying a visa herself.
"They would have to dig VERY deep before they ever found out that the resident he was visiting was in fact, overstaying a visa herself. "

Not so deep.

Q: Where are you staying?
A: With my girlfriend.
Q: Is she American?
A: No.
Q: What's her name? [typing]
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Old Dec 28, 17, 7:58 pm
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Unless you are trained to do undercover work, don't even think about lying. Chances are that this all goes swimmingly. But, if it does not and the CBP Officer starts asking simple questions and you provide evasive answers, it becomes easy to deny you entry, not because CBP suspects that you are visiting an illegal, but because you they think that your story is untrue and that you yourself will overstay.

If it comes to it, as shown above, it takes 3 quick questions to get to the nub of the issue.
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Old Jan 10, 18, 11:36 pm
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I don't understand how everyone can answer the OP's question without knowing in which country the overstaying girlfriend is located.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by mdkowals View Post
I'm assuming the OP is Canadian visiting the US via air. In that case, they can use the APC kiosks for passport control. Assuming they answer "no" to all the APC questions, then the way to end up needing a secondary interview is either through suspicious activity in the baggage claim area or at the customs checkpoint exiting baggage claim. I think the OP's mission is to get through this whole process answering as few questions as possible - from anybody.

If, for some reason, the OP has to answer more than 1-2 questions about his visit to the US and he has to disclose he his visiting his girlfriend at location X, the #1 concern for border control will be the risk that the Canadian will overstay his welcome in the US. Looking like you're very obviously only taking a 1-week trip (or less) can help manage how deep they tread down that rabbit hole. They would have to dig VERY deep before they ever found out that the resident he was visiting was in fact, overstaying a visa herself.

From those border security shows, they seem to hone in on people travelling with excess baggage. From the point of view of a Border Control Officer, if someone WAS to overstay their welcome visiting a significant other, one thing they would do is travel with a significant chunk of their belongings (multiple, heavy, bags).

So honestly, I'm thinking a clean-cut Canadian OP travelling with a 21" roll-aboard can scoot through an APC and then get in-out of the customs hall without saying practically anything. In some places (DFW is one), if you can manage carry-on only, you go through APC then walk practically straight past the customs agent on the way out the door, even without Global Entry.

More advice for the OP: A lot of data is shared between the US and Canada, if she overstays her visa in the US, there's a chance that may come back to haunt her if she visits Canada someday. Might be worth some digging into.
I'm confused by your reference to a customs checkpoint exiting baggage claim. The OP will be arriving from Canada and almost all Canada to USA transborder flights do CBP PRECLEARANCE just after checking in on the Canadian flight, before being permitted to board the flight to the USA. At that point, USA CBP officers will see the OP's luggage, checked and cabin stuff (although it's likely to just be a picture of the checked bag which the passenger identifies as part of the procedure). Then, upon arrival in the USA, everything is like a simple domestic flight, with no customs control after baggage claim as the bags will arrive onto a belt with other domestic flights.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 4:00 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I'm confused by your reference to a customs checkpoint exiting baggage claim. The OP will be arriving from Canada and almost all Canada to USA transborder flights do CBP PRECLEARANCE just after checking in on the Canadian flight, before being permitted to board the flight to the USA. At that point, USA CBP officers will see the OP's luggage, checked and cabin stuff (although it's likely to just be a picture of the checked bag which the passenger identifies as part of the procedure). Then, upon arrival in the USA, everything is like a simple domestic flight, with no customs control after baggage claim as the bags will arrive onto a belt with other domestic flights.

You are completely right, forgot about the CBP preclearance. I will crawl back in my hole now.
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