What is Deferred Inspection?

Upon arrival to the United States at designated points of entry (POE), foreign nationals, including lawful permanent residents (LPRs), are inspected for admission. There are three (3) types of inspection: primary, secondary and deferred.

If the inspector requires more information, then you may be placed in secondary or deferred inspection. LPRs returning from vacations and travel outside of the U.S. are also considered returning aliens and must be inspected before they are admitted. A deferred inspection scenario occurs when the POE inspector cannot admit the arriving LPR at the time of entry because there exist legal problems or suspected violations with the immigration documents (visa). Typical problems involving LPRs returning to the U.S. include: remaining or residing outside of the U.S. for too long or having been convicted of crime(s) after becoming an LPR that now make the returning LPR inadmissible.

What should I do if I am a lawful permanent resident and have been ordered to appear at a Deferred Inspection?

If the POE inspector decides to place you in deferred inspection, there are several options, including taking you into custody if the officer determines that you may be a flight risk, or granting you "parole" to enter the U.S. Your I-94 (arrival and departure record) is stamped to show that you were "paroled" into the U.S., rather than admitted. This stamp will typically have a deference date of not more than 30 days. You will then receive a written notice from the immigration customs and border patrol for your appointment to appear at your local immigration office for a deferred inspection. You must attend this appointment in order to avoid the consequence of being placed directly into removal proceedings.

At the deferred inspection, persons are not 'officially' entitled to be represented by an immigration attorney. However, because the stakes are so high - being placed in removal proceedings, most inspectors will allow attorneys to formally represent applicants seeking admission and to attend their deferred inspections in order to assist in sorting out their clients' immigration problems. An experienced immigration attorney will obtain and provide to the inspector relevant documents and records supporting the applicant's admissibility. Moreover, a skilled immigration attorney oftentimes will ask for and obtain a continuance of the deferred inspection date in order to meet with and prepare the applicant for all of the relevant issues that will be covered at the inspection.


Stephen Eckdish is an active member in the following organizations:
American Immigration Lawyers Association (A.I.L.A.)
Association of Trial Lawyers of America (A.T.L.A.)
California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (C.A.C.J.)

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The responses and information are intended to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice, consult an experienced attorney. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, e-mail, articles or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. All contents copyright © © Stephen Eckdish, Attorney at Law 2001. All rights reserved.