Question about doc checks for entering US from abroad

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sunny_sc, Jun 17, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sunny_sc
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    sunny_sc Silver Member

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    On the last few international trips I've taken, the checkin staff has wanted to see my papers for entering the US. I work/live in the US legally on a work permit (not a visa), so I posess a Canadian passport and no GC. The checkin staff always seem bewildered that one can work via a work permit and I always seem to get delayed for awhile while the staff chats amongst themselves about whether or not I can checkin/board. The work permit itself is just a stamp in my passport (rather than a visa sticker)... which creates even more confusion.

    There's no possible way that people in other nations know what all the rules are for the US, so why do they have to check them? Besides, even if I was just visiting the US, I still wouldn't need a visa.... but I wouldn't really expect everyone to know that either.

    Does anyone know why this doc check exists? I've been lucky so far that I have convinced the staff that my documents are in order, but I'm a little worried that I won't always be so lucky.
     
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  2. wombat18
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    wombat18 Silver Member

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    It's been this way for a while. With the increasing use of Electronic visas (eg. ETAs to visit Australia), you frequently have to give proof of your visa at check-in. If you don't have a visa, then there is sometimes a procedure to issue one then and there.

    Then, I think it was in Canadia that we started seeing immigration being done at departure rather than arrival. I seem to remember clearing US Immigration in the Edmonton airport as early as at least 10 years ago.

    As with many things, the U.S. matches what they now do to foreigners arriving in the U.S.with what happens to U.S. citizens abroad. NAFTA complicated it all the more.

    And, a big part of it is now Homeland Security - they match your visa status with your boarding pass details before you get on-board. Folks without visa status are often red flags.
     
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  3. sunny_sc
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    sunny_sc Silver Member

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    I think the main problem is that Canadians do not require visas to enter the US, but none of the airline employees (outside of Canada) know this. How do I convince the airline employees that I can legally enter the US, when I know that this is a special situation?

    Is there anything I can do to make this easier on myself? I have been bringing my work permit paperwork with me to show official looking documents issued by the US gov't, but I also worry that they're going to deny me boarding because they think I need a visa.

    Yes, I believe in most of the big Canadian airports, you go through US pre-clearance in Canada, and you will do a immigration/CBP interview. For instance, in YYZ and YVR, after you pass through the CBP station, your flight will basically be a "domestic" flight, and when you land, there is no further checks for immigration.
     
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  4. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Could you clarify the specific status you are in in the U.S., when you say work permit? Are you in the U.S. in TN status? That may help me offer you a suggestion, I have employed several Canadians in TN status and handled their immigration issues.
     
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  5. sunny_sc
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    sunny_sc Silver Member

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  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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  7. sunny_sc
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    sunny_sc Silver Member

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    I'm confused... I thought visas would always come with a sticker? For Canadians, we never get the sticker, just the I-94 with a stamp from the POE.
     
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  8. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The US would not always be consistent would it? :eek: IIRC most long term US visa do not come with the sticker. I am not at all certain though because the rules have changed so much in the last couple of years. Maybe somebody else knows?
     
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  9. sunny_sc
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    sunny_sc Silver Member

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    I suppose if we are not even sure... how can we really expect the airline employees in other countries to know :-( I am hoping the next time I go, that PDF will be helpful.
     
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  10. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    That is an excellent point. I used to have a similar problem before I had Brazilian citizenship, when I had a plastic card that said I was a permanent resident. In Europe there was no problem, but in the US they often could not understand that that was the equivalent fo a visa. Now the only problem is convince some US GA's that I could enter the US on a US passport and leave fro Brazil without a Brazilian visa. Showing two passports is just too odd for soem of the smaller US stations. Zero problem in MIA, JFK, but the interior is another matter entirely.:rolleyes:
     
  11. KVS Tool

    KVS Tool Z Representative

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    That's why airlines use the TIMATIC system, which lists the relevant requirements:

    [KVS Availability Tool 6.2.0/Diamond - TIMATIC: Visa/Entry Requirements]
    Code:
    21JUN11 / 2105 UTC
    National Canada (CA)            /Residence USA (US)
    Embarkation United Kingdom (GB) /Destination USA (US)
    
    [Visa Information - Destination] USA (US)
    
    [Information For Normal Passports]
    Passport required.
    - Those residing in USA can enter with travel documents valid
      on arrival. 
    - Nationals of Canada may enter with passports valid for
      period of intended stay.
    Passport Exemptions:
    - Residents of the USA if holding: 
     - Permanent Resident/Resident Alien Card (Form I-551);
     - US "Permit to Re-Enter" (Form I-327); 
    - Holders of a Form I-512 ( Authorization for Parole of an
      Alien into the United States"). 
    - Holders of a Temporary or Emergency passports.
    - Holders of a Transportation Letter:
    
    VISA NOT REQUIRED.
    
    Minors:
    - Children, up to/incl. 15 years of age, excluding nationals
      of the USA and nationals entitled to travel under the US
      Visa Waiver Program (V.W.P.), are allowed to travel on their
      parent's passport. A person included in the passport of
      another may not use the passport for travel unless he/she is
      accompanied by the bearer. 
    - Visa required, except for minors seeking residency; provided
      minor is under 2 years of age, and [[TIDFT/US/VI/MI/ID34839]]
      
    Additional Information:
    - An expired Permanent Resident/Resident Alien Card (Form
      I-551) with a 10-years validity at time of issuance, is
      acceptable only if the alien has not been absent from the US
      more than 180 days.
      Note: [[TIDFT/US/PA/AI/ID29816]] 
    - If the passport shows a stamp "processed for I-551 temporary
      evidence of lawful admittance for permanent residence valid
      until receipt of I-551 employment authorized , such stamp is
      to be considered Form I-551.
    
    
    
     USA (US)
    
    No vaccinations are required to enter the USA from any
    country. 
    
    Warning:
    - Those entering on a K-1 or K-2 visa must hold a medical form
      FS398 and X-ray plates of chest (full size not necessary).
      To facilitate handling upon arrival considerably, passengers
      are advised to have these health documents ready in their
      hands as they must have them at hand for the health control,
      which takes place immediately after disembarkation.
    
    CHECK [[TINEWS/N1]] - IRELAND (REP. OF): SHORT STAY VISA WAIVER
    PROGRAMME
    

    [KVS Availability Tool 6.2.0/Diamond - TIMATIC: Country Information: Visa]
    Code:
    21JUN11 / 2109 UTC
     USA (US)
    
    Visa required.
    
     Visa Exemptions:
    - Nationals of the USA and Canada. 
    - Residents of the USA if holding: 
     - Permanent Resident/Resident Alien Card (Form I-551);
     - US "Permit to Re-Enter" (Form I-327); 
     - Employment Authorization Card (Form I-776), provided
       endorsed "Serves as I-512 Advance Parole" or "Valid for
       Reentry to US";
     - US "Refugee Travel Document" (Form I-571).
    - A max. stay of 90 days for nationals of Andorra, Australia,
      Austria, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Denmark, Finland,
      France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland (Rep. of), Italy, Japan,
      Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand,
      Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain,
      Sweden and Switzerland (SEE NOTE 42904) (SEE NOTE 42905)
      (SEE NOTE 42906) (SEE NOTE 42907).
        NOTE 42904: Passenger must hold ESTA authorisation
       (submitted via [https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/]). 
        NOTE 42905: Passport issued on or after October 26, 2006
       must be biometric (i.e. e-Passport, containing an
       integrated chip).
        NOTE 42906: Passport issued on or after October 26, 2005,
       but prior to October 26, 2006 must:
       - be machine-readable and contain a digital photograph; or
       - be biometric (i.e. e-Passport, containing an integrated
       chip).
        NOTE 42907: Passport issued prior to October 26, 2005 must
       be machine-readable.
    - A max. stay of 90 days for holders of biometric passports
      issued to nationals of Czech Rep., Estonia, Greece, Hungary,
      Korea (Rep. of), Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovakia (SEE
      NOTE 42904).
        NOTE 42904: Passenger must hold ESTA authorisation
       (submitted via [https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/]). 
    - Holders of a Certificate of Indian Status (Form IA-1395)
      issued by the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs together
      with an identification (usually a tribal certification)
      which proves to having at least 50% American Indian blood.
    - Citizens of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana
      Islands.
    - Holders of passports issued by the government of Marshall
      Isl., Micronesia and Palau. 
    - A max. stay of 90 days for holders of British passports
      endorsed  British Citizen  (SEE NOTE 42904) (SEE NOTE 42905)
      (SEE NOTE 42906) (SEE NOTE 42907).
        NOTE 42904: Passenger must hold ESTA authorisation
       (submitted via [https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/]). 
        NOTE 42905: Passport issued on or after October 26, 2006
       must be biometric (i.e. e-Passport, containing an
       integrated chip).
        NOTE 42906: Passport issued on or after October 26, 2005,
       but prior to October 26, 2006 must:
       - be machine-readable and contain a digital photograph; or
       - be biometric (i.e. e-Passport, containing an integrated
       chip).
        NOTE 42907: Passport issued prior to October 26, 2005 must
       be machine-readable.
    - A max. stay of 90 days for holders of British passports
      containing  Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of
      Abode" issued by the United Kingdom (SEE NOTE 42904) (SEE
      NOTE 42905) (SEE NOTE 42906) (SEE NOTE 42907).
        NOTE 42904: Passenger must hold ESTA authorisation
       (submitted via [https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/]). 
        NOTE 42905: Passport issued on or after October 26, 2006
       must be biometric (i.e. e-Passport, containing an
       integrated chip).
        NOTE 42906: Passport issued on or after October 26, 2005,
       but prior to October 26, 2006 must:
       - be machine-readable and contain a digital photograph; or
       - be biometric (i.e. e-Passport, containing an integrated
       chip).
        NOTE 42907: Passport issued prior to October 26, 2005 must
       be machine-readable.
    - Holders of British passports endorsed  British Subject ,
      provided residing in the Bahamas and clearing CBP
      pre-inspection prior to boarding in the Bahamas.
    - Citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda.
    - Nationals of the Bahamas, provided clearing CBP
      pre-inspection prior to boarding in the Bahamas.
    - Nationals of Mexico holding normal passports and a US
      machine-readable Biometric Border Crossing Card (Form
      DSP-150), for tourist or business purposes. 
    - Nationals of Mexico (incl. accompanying spouse or dependent
      family members under 19 years of age) holding diplomatic or
      official passports who are military or civilian officials of
      the Federal Government of Mexico, for a stay of max. 6
      months. This waiver does not apply if the passenger is
      assigned as a permanent employee to an office of the Mexican
      Federal Government in the USA. 
    - Holders of a Form I-512 ( Authorization for Parole of an
      Alien into the United States").
    - Holders of the  Transportation Letter :
     - issued to nationals of the USA; 
     - issued to residents of the USA. 
    - Those admitted to the USA on a single entry visa, returning
      to the USA after a visit of max. 30 days to Canada or
      Mexico.
      Passengers travelling to Canada or Mexico for stays of 30
      days or less must return within the initial period of stay
      granted by the US Immigration at the time of their first
      entry into the USA and must retain their original USA entry
      copy of Form I-94 (05/08) (white). This copy of Form I-94
      (05/08) (white) contains the entry stamp of the US
      Immigration officer and is dated to show the period of stay
      granted under the single entry visa. Failure to present this
      copy at time of re-entry will result in fines and possible
      denial of entry. 
    
     TWOV (Transit Without Visa):
    - If flying Cathay Pacific (CX) between Hong Kong and Toronto,
      via Anchorage, Alaska: 
      A Transit Passenger Inspection Pilot Program (TPIPP) has
      been introduced for passengers travelling between Hong Kong
      and Toronto, Canada that operate via Anchorage, Alaska. This
      does not reinstate the TWOV or ITI program and currently,
      only Cathay Pacific (CX) is a signatory to an In-Transit
      Lounge Agreement at Anchorage.
      TPIPP passengers are not permitted outside of the sterile,
      Federal Inspection Service (FIS)/CBP area.
      The In-Transit Lounge agreement between the CBP and Cathay
      Pacific applies to alien passengers who are seeking to pass
      through the USA in an immediate and continuous transit,
      without a stopover and whose scheduled travel includes a
      single stop within the USA at Anchorage International
      Airport (ANC), due to the flight routing. Transfer of
      passengers to another aircraft is not permitted.
      However, the TPIPP program is not available to nationals of
      Cuba, Iran, Korea (Dep. People's Rep.), Sudan and Syria.
      The carrier must provide 100% Advance Passenger Information
      (API) in advance of the aircraft's arrival at Anchorage for
      all TPIPP passengers. If less than 100% information is
      provided, those TPIPP passengers for whom information is
      insufficient or unacceptable, must be presented to the CBP
      for full CBP processing, which may also include an
      inspection of their baggage. 
    - All in-transit passengers and passengers on progressive
      flights will be inspected at the first US port of arrival.
      All passengers arriving from abroad, except those
      pre-inspected in Canada, must deplane the aircraft and
      proceed to either the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) area
      for inspection or to a CBP- (Customs and Border Protection)
      approved in-transit/progressive clearance lounge and go
      through CBP inspection. Passengers who are inadmissible
      aliens will be subject to processing for removal under
      existing policy. Carriers will be subject to compliance
      measures including fines for transport of inadmissible
      aliens. 
    
     Merchant Seamen:
    - Merchant Seamen should travel to the USA with a type C-1
      (transit) visa or a type D (working crewmen) visa (or a
      C-1/D combination visa) and a Letter of Guarantee from the
      shipping company. 
    - Nationals of the USA holding a ''US Merchant Mariner Card''
      provided traveling on duty.
    
     Crew Members:
    - Visa, symbol D, is also valid for entry of air crewmen
      arriving in the USA on a flight of their own company and
      solely for the purpose of picking up a flight as active
      crew. These air crewmen must be listed as "crewmen" on the
      general declaration/arrival manifest.
      However, in case such an air crew member is arriving in the
      USA on a flight of another carrier, for the purpose of
      boarding a flight as active crew, he must hold a valid C-1
      visa.
      On arrival a Form I-95 must be filled out. 
    
     Military:
    - Visa is not required for holders of a Military ID Card but
      only in combination with movement or travel order issued by
      a NATO country. For US Armed Forces also with leave orders
      and either holding Military ID Card or wearing uniform. 
    
     Additional Information:
    - Passengers not having proof of sufficient funds for length
      of stay and outward travel may be refused entry.(SEE NOTE
      42957) 
        NOTE 42957: Exempt are nationals of Marshall Isl.,
       Micronesia and Palau. 
    - US visas of category A-1, 2 and 3 issued to nationals of
      Libya are revoked, unless issued for United Nations
      purposes.
    - Nationals of Iraq may use unexpired visas affixed within the
      "M" or "N" series passports only together with a valid "G"
      or "H" series passport.
    - Transit visas: those entering on a C1-transit visa are
      allowed to transit the USA to a third country as long as
      this trip is 29 days or less and then enter again to
      transit, as long as this trip also takes 29 days or less. 
    - The US Visa Waiver Program applies to:
      - nationals of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei
      Darussalam, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland,
      Ireland (Rep. of), Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
      Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San
      Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
      Czech Rep., Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Korea (Rep. of),
      Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovakia; or
      - holders of British passports endorsed  British Citizen  or
      those containing  Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of
      Abode" issued by the United Kingdom.
    - The following applies to those traveling under the US Visa
      Waiver Program:
     - Each passenger must hold own passport (incl.
       Emergency/Temporary passport) and travel for tourist,
       business or transit purposes. 
     - A return/onward ticket (or electronic ticket record) must
       be to a final destination country other than Canada, Mexico
       or contiguous (adjacent) countries/islands situated in or
       bordering the Caribbean Sea[[TIRULES/R37]] If passenger
       holds proof of residence in, or is transiting to such a
       country/island: onward/return tickets to that country is
       accepted. 
     - Passenger can make side trips to Canada, Mexico or
       Caribbean countries/islands, provided first entering the
       USA on a carrier participating in the VWP. No additional
       time is given (extension) based on the departure to
       contiguous (adjacent) territory[[TIRULES/R37]] 
    - A passenger may enter the USA with a valid visa in an
      expired passport, provided: 
      -  the page which contains the valid US visa in the expired
      passport, has not been invalidated or mutilated in a manner
      as to make the visa illegible. If there is doubt concerning
      the validity of the visa due to illegibility or mutilation,
      consult the nearest US embassy or consulate.
      - the passenger has also a valid passport of the same
      nationality;
      - a handwritten annotation does not appear in the passport
      that passenger has been advised to obtain a new visa in a
      valid passport.
      Transfer of a valid visa to a valid passport is highly
      recommended in all cases. 
    
     Minors:
    - Visa required, except for minors seeking residency; provided
      minor is under 2 years of age, and  
      1- Minor is born to the accompanying parent after issuance
      of an immigrant visa to the parent but prior to the parent's
      initial entry to the USA on that immigrant visa. Or 
      2- Parents hold a Permanent Resident/Resident Alien Card
      (Form I-551); and 
      -minor is accompanying the parent who is entering the USA as
      a returnig resident for the first time after the birth of
      the child, and 
      -minor holds own passport or is mentioned in parents
      passport, and 
      -parent is in possession of an original birth certificate
      with English translation. 
    
     Warning:
    - Passenger must hold ESTA authorisation (submitted via
      [https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/]).
    - Visitors not holding return/onward ticket and documents
      required for return or onward destination could be refused
      entry (SEE NOTE 42957).
        NOTE 42957: Exempt are nationals of Marshall Isl.,
       Micronesia and Palau. 
    
    CHECK [[TINEWS/N1]] - IRELAND (REP. OF): SHORT STAY VISA WAIVER
    PROGRAMME
    
     
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  12. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    And a quick look tells us why many GA's don't know what to do. The tool is not a paragon of user-friendliness, is it, especially for harried GA's who must deal with so many diverse hassles.
     
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  13. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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    H1B makes perfect sense but of course it is a visa, so perhaps confusion comes in if you tell a gate agent you have a work permit but not a visa.

    I had guessed TN status because (1) that is technically not a visa and (2) because it's available to Canadians.

    But H1B definitely is paired with a Visa, if you're in the US legally working under an H1B then you certainly do have a visa :)
     
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