Can I Be Detained and Deported, Even Though I Have a Valid Visa?

The simple answer to this question, unfortunately, is Yes!, and it happens a lot more often than you think.

Most people think that having a valid visa makes them immune to immigration issues, and for the most part, it does. However, there are certain circumstances where even having a valid visa is not enough to keep someone from being sent back to their home country.

What most people do not know, is that even if you have a valid visa and you do not use it in the right way, you could experience immigration consequences. For instance: you are a native and citizen of the Bahamas, you have a valid tourist visa, but you come to the United States and don’t clear customs properly, you are in danger of being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and sent back to the Bahamas because the Bahamian national did not enter at a valid port of entry and clear customs appropriately, ICE may apprehend him, detain him, and send him back to the Bahamas. If this happens, the Bahamian national, will not only lose his visa, but he will have a bar from returning to the United States for five (5) years.

To a lot of us, this seems unfair. “He has a valid visa!” people would exclaim. Is there any way to avoid this scenario and save him from these severe immigration consequences?

Depending on the circumstances, there may be a way to stop the deportation from happening. One possibility is that the visa holding national, could show their documents, assert their status, and request that the officer allow them to “withdraw their application for admission”. Even though the person did not enter through a valid port of entry, by nature of them having a visa, they have constructively been “admitted” to the United States. If the officer allows them to withdraw this “admission” voluntarily, the national could simply return to their country without consequence and later reenter properly, using their visa. However, if you encounter an officer who is not so accommodating, the situation becomes more difficult to resolve. Also, when a visa holding national is placed in expedited removal proceedings (a process by which low-level immigration officers can quickly deport certain noncitizens who are undocumented or have committed fraud or misrepresentation), things become more complicated, and legal help is needed/recommended.

Our experienced immigration team has the skills, experience, and know-how to help you resolve this issue!

If you or someone you know, finds yourself in this position, contact Franco Law Firm.

Angelica Rice
Associate Attorney

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