If you find yourself consistently being detained for secondary screenings at U.S. entry ports when returning from international destinations, you should probably contact the Department of Homeland Security’s Travel Redress Inquiry Program (“DHS TRIP”).
The above statement also applies to travelers who:
- Often face problems at ports of entry
- Were delayed or denied entrance on an airplane
- Were denied or delayed when trying to enter or exit U.S. ports of entry or border checkpoints.
- Feel that they have been improperly or unfairly: denied, delayed, or required to undergo additional screening at national transportation hubs.
The reasons for these additional screenings can be anything from being confused with someone else, or past convictions. Fortunately, for those who fall into any of the above categories, there are steps you can take to ease your entry and exit through these ports.
Step 1: Figuring out why you are repeatedly selected for additional screening
If you do not understand why Customs and Border Protection (CBP) keeps singling you out for additional screening, you should to find out why. That task is not particularly difficult since the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows you to request copies of all information CBP has on you. The information on DHS databases go as far back as 1982, so by submitting a FOIA request on CBP.org, you should be able to pinpoint why you are being targeted at entry ports.
Step 2: Correcting erroneous information on your DHS files
Once you figure out why you are often made to undergo additional screening by CBP, you can file an inquiry through DHS TRIP to have incorrect information corrected. It’s a straightforward process that only requires a computer and internet access.
Simply head to the online form, and fill out the required information.
If you found erroneous information in the copies you received from your FOIA request, you should address that in the appropriate part of the form. Make sure you include details and any other information that can help clear things up.
You’ll also be required to send in copies of some documents with your inquiry like your passport. Copies of these can be sent via snail mail or scanned and sent to TRIP@dhs.gov.
Once your inquiry is accepted, you will be sent a Redress Control Number. This allows you to check up on the status of your inquiry and for booking flights once your inquiry has been resolved.
So, if you find yourself getting consistently singled out at U.S. entry ports and would like to avoid more of the same in the future, the above steps should point you in the right direction. However, you should note that resolving issues on your DHS files does not automatically exempt you from additional screening in the future. The selection process for determining which travelers are singled out depends on many other factors like random selection and travel patterns.
Generally speaking though, a positive outcome from your DHS TRIP inquiry should make it a lot easier for you to enter and exit U.S. ports. One should seek the advice from an attorney to increase the probability of success through the DHS TRIP.
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