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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

The ABCs of Immigration - Inadmissibility - Seeking Admission Without Proper Documentation
by Greg Siskind and Amy Ballentine

Depending on how a person is seeking to enter the US, different documents are required before the INS will admit the person. A person seeking to enter as an immigrant will not be admitted unless they have a valid unexpired immigrant visa and a valid unexpired passport. Those seeking to enter as nonimmigrants must have a valid nonimmigrant visa or border crossing card, and a passport valid for at least six months past the date of entry. For many nonimmigrants, the documentary requirements can be waived.

The most obvious examples of people seeking to enter the US without valid documentation are undocumented border crossers. They are considered to be immigrants not in possession of a valid immigrant visa. Other circumstances when this rule applies are when returning residents have not complied with documentary requirements, such as a person in the middle of adjustment of status who seeks to reenter without an advance parole document, or a lawful permanent resident who has not obtained a reentry permit, if one is required.

If the documents that a person is using in seeking entry to the US are not valid or are not properly issued, the person is inadmissible. Fraudulent documents, of course, fall under this provision, as do documents that were obtained by fraud. A person seeking entry on a nonimmigrant visa that an INS inspector determines in fact wants to remain permanently in the US is inadmissible as an immigrant not in possession of a valid nonimmigrant visa. Also, if a person is in possession of a immigrant visa and it is determined that they were not in fact entitled to it, they are inadmissible even if the visa is otherwise valid.

There are a number of waivers of and exceptions to the documentary requirements, especially for nonimmigrants. The following groups of nonimmigrants are excluded from the documentary requirements: uniformed members of the US armed forces seeking entry on official business, Native Americans born in Canada, people entering the US from Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, certain NATO personnel, and certain employees of the International Boundary and Water Commission between the US and Mexico. Any national of Canada and Mexican nationals who have a valid border-crossing card are not required to have a visa. Perhaps the largest waiver for nonimmigrants is the Visa Waiver Program, under which citizens of 29 different countries can enter the US for up to 90 days without a visa.

There are also a number of situations in which waivers can be granted on an individual basis. These waivers can be granted only by the District Director of the INS office with jurisdiction over the port where entry is sought, and are primarily granted in emergencies.


About The Author

Gregory Siskind has experience handling all aspects of immigration and nationality law and has represented numerous clients throughout the world. Mr. Siskind provides consultations to corporations and individuals on immigration law issues and handles cases before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State, the Department of Labor and other government agencies. Gregory Siskind is also committed to community service. He regularly provides free legal services to indigent immigration clients and speaks at community forums to offer information on immigration issues.

After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, Gregory Siskind went on to receive his law degree from the University of Chicago. For the past several years, he has been an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and he currently serves as a member of the organization's Technology Committee. He is the current committee chair for the Nashville Bar Association's International Section. Greg is a member of the American Bar Association where he serves on the LPM PublishGregory Siskind has experience handling all aspects of immigration and nationality law and has represented numerous clients throughout the world. Mr. Siskind provides consultations to corporations and individuals on immigration law issues and handles cases before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State, the Department of Labor and other government agencies. Gregory Siskind is also committed to community service. He regularly provides free legal services to indigent immigration clients and speaks at community forums to offer information on immigration issues.

Greg regularly writes on the subject of immigration law. He has written several hundred articles on the subject and is also the author of the new book The J Visa Guidebook, published by Matthew Bender and Company, one of the nation's leading legal publishers. He is working on another book for Matthew Bender on entertainment and sports immigration.

Greg is also, in many ways, a pioneer in the use of the Internet in the legal profession. He was one of the first lawyers in the country (and the very first immigration lawyer) to set up a web site for his practice. And he was the first attorney in the world to distribute a firm newsletter via e-mail listserv. Mr. Siskind is the author of the American Bar Association's best selling book, The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. He has been interviewed and profiled in a number of leading publications and media including USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Lawyers Weekly, the ABA Journal, the National Law Journal, American Lawyer, Law Practice Management Magazine, National Public Radio's All Things Considered and the Washington Post. As one of the leading experts in the country on the use of the Internet in a legal practice, Greg speaks regularly at forums across the United States, Canada and Europe.

In his personal life, Greg is the husband of Audrey Siskind and the proud father of Eden Shoshana and Lily Jordana. He also enjoys collecting rare newspapers and running in marathons and triathlons. He can be reached by email at GSiskind@visalaw.com

Amy Ballentine is an associate in Siskind, Susser & Haas's Memphis, Tennessee office. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Rhodes College in 1994. While in law school at the University of Memphis she was a member of the law review staff as well as a published author. She also worked with the local public defenderís office in death penalty cases. In May 1999, she graduated Cum Laude from the University of Memphis Law School. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She can be reached by email at aballentine@visalaw.com



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