New passport and traveling in America
July 26, 2008 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Question about a new passport and getting into the United States

My girlfriend had a British passport that she used to get into America on a tourist visa twice, both times for a little less than 90 days, and the two times were two weeks apart. The second time she got sent to secondary inspection where they basically told her that after this time, she'd have to stay away for 6 months in Europe before she'd be allowed back in. She left about two weeks ago for Europe, so she shouldn't be allowed back in till January 09.

Now that she's in Europe, she's applied for naturalization from another EU country (Belgium) and they're going to issue her a new passport in the next few weeks. Will the passport system link her old passport to the new one, or is she free to come back in less than 6 months?
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
I guess she travelled on the Visa Waiver Program. It sounds like they're worried that she's abusing the programme (I'd guess they're right). She should probably apply for a visa to do this properly and avoid any risk of being turned away. They will presumably have her name, date of birth and fingerprints on file so plenty of information to link her to her other identity.
posted by TrashyRambo at 4:05 PM on July 26, 2008

VERY risky! Don't try it, because 20 years down the road, this can become a major problem.
posted by ChabonJabon at 4:09 PM on July 26, 2008

don't do it
posted by matteo at 4:17 PM on July 26, 2008

Rule one of immigration is DO NOT FUCK WITH THE IMMIGRATION PEOPLE. Especially if this girlfriend has long-term or marriage potential (and you are a dude).

If you need to see her before January, hie thee to Britain or Belgium.

Or both of you fly to Canada, or whatever.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:33 PM on July 26, 2008 [3 favorites]

The passport changed. The passport number changed.

I'm pretty sure she still has the same fingerprint though.
posted by genghis at 8:09 PM on July 26, 2008

Don't try it. She might get in, or she might get bounced back to Europe. But there's a very real possibility she would get in and you'd think you were in the clear and the next time around she'd be banned for 10 years or more.
posted by K.P. at 3:31 AM on July 27, 2008

n-thing the "don't fuck with the immigration people" - if you're in a long term relationship and one day plan to get married, and you are the one that can't emigrate, her being banned from the country is going to really mess up your future together.

Put it this way, they told her to not return for 6 months, not her passport.

> "I'm pretty sure she still has the same fingerprint though."

And the same face and name and date of birth. People get pulled over for having the same name as folk on the "do not fly" list. She's now probably got a note next to her personal information that they'll check whenever anyone else with similar details passes through American immigration.

This is one of those times when it's nigh impossible to beat the system.
posted by saturnine at 5:28 AM on July 28, 2008

Immigration is a major issue this year, due in large part to the Presidential election. It's also becoming a hot-button issue on both sides of the political aisle. That means that immigration ministries and workers are under the microscope, and trying to make themselves look as good as possible, not least because there's going to be a new boss in January, and there's all sorts of jockeying for position going on.

This year is very definitely not the year to test something like this and see if it works, because the consequences are pretty dire. You do not want her to become a high-profile "let's make an example of her" case, and the odds of that happening this year are higher than normal.

You asked what she and you should do: you should visit her until she can visit legally. The cost of a plane ticket is much less than the cost of trying to fight the immigration authorities and undo the long-term damage of a 10-year ban.

Besides, the beer is awesome in Belgium.
posted by scrump at 12:01 PM on July 29, 2008

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