I am presently in a dispute with a US-based computer company over abusive charges they want me to pay for a very basic service. As I am not sure the dispute will be resolved before I travel to the US (no criminal charges have been filed as the amount is quite small, USD 1,200.00). Could this prevent me from traveling by air to a vacation in the US?

  • 10
    It would be quite a pain if people involved in civil suits couldn't enter the country. – Azor Ahai -him- May 15 '19 at 19:28
  • 1
    A civil dispute is typically not a criminal dispute. "no criminal charges have been filed" sounds like you're confusing the two (as long as you're not being legally pursued by your Canadian CC company or payment processor). It's not like you're Gerry Cotten's widow and QuadrigaCX. – smci May 16 '19 at 2:17

Personal service of court papers could be made while you're in the USA. However, doing so successfully would require the opposing party to know where you'd be at a particular time, and then to physically find you at that place and time, and then to approach you with the documents.

It's a big country. It's not clear that the opposing party would have any of that information, or be able to execute on it.

Further, I've never heard of the US immigration authorities involving themselves in civil law disputes of any kind, or even asking about them. None of their paperwork asks about this sort of thing, and a visitor needn't (and shouldn't) volunteer the info.

Source: I'm a lawyer.

  • 4
    While this is excellent and helpful information, it doesn't seem to address the (implied?) question of whether the asker could be denied admission to the US because of this litigation. Also, couldn't personal service of court papers be made in Canada? Presumably they know where the asker lives. Does vacationing in the US actually increase the risk of being served? – phoog May 15 '19 at 16:52
  • 3
    @phoog I agree, it doesn't. Early in my participation here, I made the same objection to someone else's Answer, and was promptly rebuked on the grounds that the answer expanded the OP's knowledge of the field, and by "furthering the answer" was therefore OK. I think this information is sufficiently related and useful to clear that bar. – DavidSupportsMonica May 15 '19 at 16:57
  • 2
    Sure, it's okay. I'm just suggesting that you add a sentence saying that there won't be any impediment to entering the US. Then it would be better :-) – phoog May 15 '19 at 17:00
  • 1
    I thought about that, but while I think and am certain that the US immigration authorities won't know or care about this sort of thing, I can't assert that from any personal knowledge or experience. But sure, in for a penny in for a pound. I'll add it. – DavidSupportsMonica May 15 '19 at 18:01

No it will not. US companies do not have the ability to prevent someone from visiting the US just because you are disputing payment or are in a legal dispute with them.

  • 1
    Would there be a chance of court papers being served in person? – o.m. May 15 '19 at 15:58
  • 1
    A chance, yes, but how are you going to find them to serve them?? As mathematicians say a zero probability event is not impossible :) – chx May 15 '19 at 18:18
  • 1
    @chx A zero probability event might not be impossible. It depends on the event. ;) – Calchas May 15 '19 at 18:39
  • 3
    What is the probability that a zero probability event is not impossible? – DJClayworth May 15 '19 at 18:46
  • 1
    @Brilliand What is it with people using "finite" to mean "not zero"? It means "not infinite". – David Richerby May 16 '19 at 16:36

No, because you haven't committed (at least seemingly) any crime in the U.S. They can't just request for you being tracked and sent in court for this thing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.