Border Crossing Laws

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What do Border Crossing Laws Say About Exit and Re-Entry Into the U.S.?

In order to enter the U.S., it’s the person usually has to have a proper entry visa.  Entry visas allow the person to legally enter the U.S. at a valid entry port.  This must usually be accompanied with several other documents, such as a valid passport and an official photo ID.  Basically all visas are entry visas; the only difference is the length of time that the person can stay in the U.S., and whether or not they can leave and re-enter the country.

Exiting the country across the U.S. border will depend on what type of visa the person has.  Single-entry visas only allow the person to enter the U.S. once and stay for a specified period of time, after which they must return to their native country.   Multiple-entry visas allow the holder to exit and enter the U.S. an unlimited number of times within a given time period.  Generally speaking, the shorter the visa stay period, the less likely it is that it will be a multiple-entry visa.

What are Re-Entry Permits?

Re-entry permits are not technically a type of visa, but rather an individual type of document that allows the person to re-enter the U.S. upon leaving the country.  For example, if the person needs to return to their country of origin to address an emergency, they may be issued a re-entry permit so that they can return to the U.S. 

Once they re-enter the U.S., they can usually complete the remainder of their stay time according to the type of visa they have.  Thus, re-entry permits allow the person to re-enter without having to obtain a new visa or go through a lengthy re-application process.  They are generally issued on a case-by-case basis and are usually good for only one use.

What are Border Crossing Cards?

Border crossing cards are travel documents related to B-1 and B-2 visas.  They allow the holder to cross the U.S. border and remain outside the country for up to 30 days.  However, the person or persons must remain at least 25 miles from the border.  The trip may be done for either business or recreational purposes.  The availability of border crossing cards will depend on the background of each individual applicant.

What is CBP?

CBP stands for Custom and Border Protections.  This is a division that handles a wide range of security and health concerns in connection with border patrol and border crossing laws.  The division investigates matters such as illegal immigration, drug trafficking and smuggling, and economic trade.  Many immigration violations are reported as a result of CBP investigations. 

Should I Hire a Lawyer if I Have Legal Issues Involving Border Crossing Laws?

Immigration and border crossing laws are often subject to frequent change.  If you or your loved ones have any questions related to immigration or border crossing laws, you should speak with an experienced immigration lawyer.  Your attorney can provide you with the most up-to-date information on visa and immigration laws.  Also, if needed, your lawyer can represent you in a court of law during formal hearings.   

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Last Modified: 10-19-2012 11:13 AM PDT

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