Last week CTV News did a story about a Canadian who applied for admission to the US at Point Roberts. This traveler was not only denied admission to the US, but barred from applying for admission for five years. At approximately the same time, I learned of a similar case at the Pacific Highway port of entry. In both cases, travelers were found inadmissible due to “immigrant intent.”
Everyone applying for admission to the United States is presumed to be an intending immigrant (8 USC § 1184(b)). If an applicant for admission fails to rebut this presumption, he or she is inadmissible to the US (8 USC § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)). Anyone inadmissible to the US under this provision is subject to expedited removal (8 USC § 1225(b)), which automatically results in a 5-year bar from applying for admission to the United States (8 USC § 1182(a)(9)(A)). Canadians subject to a 5-year bar must seek permission to reapply for admission to the U.S. by filing Form I-212 with Customs and Border Protection if they want to travel to the U.S. before the bar expires. Customs and Border Protection charges a filing fee of USD $930 for Form I-212.
Until recently Customs and Border Protection followed a more compassionate procedure. Rather than making an inadmissibility finding and issuing a 5-year bar, officers would exercise their discretion to allow an applicant to withdraw his or her application for admission, as authorized by 8 CFR 235.4. As a result, travelers would not be subject to a 5-year bar, and often could re-apply for admission to the U.S. with evidence of ties and equities to Canada. To mitigate this risk Canadian visitors to the U.S. should proactively assemble ties and equities evidence before making their application for admission.