Attorneys Banned from Secondary Inspection at Ports of Entry

Multiple reports from attorneys across the country have indicated that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a new policy prohibiting attorneys from entering secondary inspection areas at U.S. ports of entry (POEs) to meet or accompany clients. Although there has been no official statement by CBP in this regard, these reports have been consistent to establish that, in almost all circumstances, attorneys will not be allowed into areas where secondary inspection is conducted.

Background: Secondary Inspection

Secondary inspection is a procedure used by CBP when an immediate decision concerning admissibility cannot be made at a POE and the inspecting officer believes that additional questioning or further review of the person’s file is warranted. In these cases, the inspecting officer requires the individual to proceed to a secondary inspection area for further questioning.

Apparent Across-the-Board Ban on Attorneys in Secondary Inspection Areas

A foreign national who has not yet been admitted to the United States generally does not have the right to be represented by an attorney. Even prior to this apparent new directive from CBP, attorneys generally were allowed into secondary inspection only on a case-by-case basis. Now, however, it appears that a blanket policy has been instituted to prevent CBP officers from entertaining such requests from attorneys.


Under the Trump Administration, the CBP appears to be taking a more hardline approach to its practices related to the screening of foreign nationals requesting admission to the United States. Applicants for admission should understand the risks associated with travel, especially if there are any gray areas that could delay or prevent admission to the U.S., and plan accordingly.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.