The Blog

We provide these educational blogs to acquaint readers with overviews of complex topics, such as family law and litigation.

The Mian & Associates Law Firm blogs are written as educational material and do not constitute legal advice. We write these to familiarize readers with basic legal concepts and relate relevant information from our practice areas. For individual legal advice, we recommend you consult an attorney.

What To Expect During Your Holiday Travels

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We wanted to follow up on the information provided in the LIVE video. In the video, we spoke about how extensively the Border Patrol can search your items, what items are subject to search, how long these searches may take, and how common are these searches.

Today’s blog will give provide more information on the Secondary Inspection that may come from the initial inspection at the Port(s) of Entry (POE) by the Border Patrol Officers.

What is Secondary Inspection:
In general, inspection of green card holders at the U.S. Port(s) of Entry is as follows: Permanent residents returning from foreign travel to the United States are inspected at ports of entry (POE’s) by Border Patrol officers who determine their admissibility. U.S. citizens are automatically admitted upon verification of citizenship. Noncitizens are questioned and their documents are examined to determine admissibility based on the requirements of U.S. immigration law. All noncitizens, including green card holders, bear the burden of proving admissibility and may be searched without a warrant at any POE. Cell phones, laptops, and personal property may also be searched. Permanent residents do not need to produce a Form I-94.

How Long Does Secondary Inspection Take:
 Individuals whose admissibility cannot be immediately decided by a Border Patrol officer at the POE will be directed to a separate interview area for further inspection, also known as secondary inspection. Secondary inspection allows an inspector to look into immigration status and verify identification in detail. A secondary inspection may take from a few minutes to several hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the inspection and the personnel available at the interview facility. Connecting flights may be missed by green card holders required to undergo secondary inspection.

Here, an applicant for admission has no right to an attorney unless she/he becomes part of a criminal investigation and has been taken into custody or she/he requested an asylum in the U.S. on the basis of credible fear.

What questions can be asked for Secondary Inspection: 
Questions that applicants receive in secondary inspection normally center on the applicant’s identification, maintenance of immigrant status or nonimmigrant status, travel plans and purpose of visiting the United States. Applicants may be challenged regarding any significant absence from the U.S., especially for the purpose of work abroad. Applicants should be prepared to state and document a residence or intending residence and a job or intending job in the U.S. Permanent residents, even those who own property in the U.S., must maintain strong work and family ties to the U.S.

What documents can prove strong ties in the U.S.:  
For green card holders who have spent significant periods of time outside of the U.S., documentation that shows an applicant’s ties to the U.S. should be prepared and presented in secondary inspection. Documentation of this kind includes recent U.S. tax returns, evidence of ownership of a U.S. vehicle or a U.S. house, a letter from a real estate agency establishing a client relationship with the applicant, other major assets, proof of family members residing in the U.S., proof of children attending school in the U.S., a residential lease agreement, and any U.S. employment.


Written By: Nimra Khan