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How Frequently Can a Foreigner Visit the U.S.?

According to statistics compiled by the World Tourism Organization, France is the country that gets the most annual visits, and this is probably because the magic of Paris is irresistible to international visitors. There was a time when the United States used to attract even more tourists than France, and the last time that happened was before President Donald Trump took office in early 2017. Nonetheless, American ports of entry continue to be the busiest in the world when you include tourists, foreign workers, business visitors, artists, students, asylum seekers, officials, pass-through travelers, and immigrants. 

Even with the draconian immigration policies and strict border controls enacted by the Trump administration, there’s no real limit as to how many visits to the U.S. are considered to be too many. It should be noted that American border and immigration agents, whether they’re assigned to checkpoints, airports, or seaports, follow the doctrine of admissibility. A visa approval document plus a clean passport doesn’t guarantee entry into the U.S. The final determination is always made at the border, and it can be made numerous times under some circumstances.

Individuals who carry passports issued by visa waiver countries as well as travelers who have been approved for the Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS programs could, in theory, visit the U.S. several times. As long as travelers have registered in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and are deemed to be admissible, they could leave before their visa expires (typically within 90 days) and return to the U.S. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is a bit ambiguous in this regard, because their guidance only mentions allowing a reasonable amount of time to pass until the next visit, but what happens when a Canadian passport holder who isn’t registered with NEXUS returns to the U.S. after a few months abroad? For expert guidance about reentry and similar issues, seek advice from the best immigration lawyers in San Diego.

As previously mentioned, admissibility plays a crucial role in the determination of how often a visitor is allowed to reenter the U.S. If a border or immigration agent believes a frequent traveler is border hopping and trying to live in the U.S., an inadmissibility determination could be made on the spot, effectively denying entry. The CBP is known to follow a rule of thumb in this regard: if the visa waiver visitor is returning before 91 days have passed, he or she may be subject to a secondary inspection and inquisitive questioning. Stumbling through answers at this stage could result in a denial of entry. Something else to consider when visiting the U.S. frequently is that every entry and departure is recorded, which could in turn catch the attention of border agents. 

Foreigners who need to frequently visit the U.S. should check with an immigration lawyer in San Diego as to the type of visa they should apply for and the program they should register in. Depending on the circumstances, a B-2 tourist visa that can be extended for 180 days might work out better than the visa waiver program.

If you have any questions about traveling to the United States or which type of visa is best for your circumstances, rely on the team at KS Visa Law for expertise you can trust. Give us a call today at 858-874-0711.

August 2019
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