I have a Canadian Student Visa. I did not know that I am supposed to get a C-1 visa for a stopover in LAX for 2 hours. I did not need to change airport so I thought that a visa was not required. I booked with Japan Airline with a connection at LAX to Canada. However, I was detained in LA and the officer told me that I would be deported back to the Philippines where I came from. Luckily, I explained to them my situation and they made me just pay a visa waiver fee of $585. They also told me that Japan Airlines (the airline that I took) would be penalized for allowing me to board the plane without checking if I had a transit visa.

My question is: is Japan Airline liable for allowing me to board their plane without checking?

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    I think the real question here is a duplicate of Must airlines warn passengers about changes of required travel documents? – Dmitry Grigoryev Sep 2 '19 at 11:03
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    I'm surprised by the on-the-spot visa waiver, it's the first time I hear about that one. – jcaron Sep 2 '19 at 11:55
  • @jcaron I'm not surprised by that, as CBP can decide to allow anyone in who manages to get to the border, whether they have a visa or not (though it's pretty rare). I'm surprised by the $585 charge! – Michael Hampton Sep 2 '19 at 17:16
  • @MichaelHampton found a few forms with filing fees in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, though none which seemed to match the situation exactly yet. They probably shoehorned the case in another form. – jcaron Sep 2 '19 at 17:20
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    @jcaron That's what I am thinking. But there are so many different things that have a $585 charge that I can't begin to guess what happened. – Michael Hampton Sep 2 '19 at 17:21

JAL is liable to the USA, but not to you. There is no chance that JAL will refund the amount you paid and they might even attempt to get back the money they paid as fine to USCBP.

For the USA, there is no sterile airside transit like in many other countries. Every person transiting has to clear the passport control and customs before catching their onward flights. This probably has something to do with the US policy of not having exit immigration controls.

Regarding penalty, yes. You should have been denied boarding by JAL. Due to their mistake, you are allowed on board. Like every country, the airline will be penalized for allowing you on board. You are just lucky that they didn't deport you, as is generally the case.

There might be consequences for your future flight with JAL.

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    Liable towards the USA, yes. Not liable towards OP. I think this should be clarified. – ugoren Sep 2 '19 at 6:16
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    The problem with this answer is that OP might read it as if the airline is liable toward them, and should compensate them (e.g. for the 585$ visa waiver fee). – ugoren Sep 2 '19 at 7:45
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    JAL’s T&C Administrative Formalities Passports & Visas 16B(2) state: JAL shall not be responsible for any loss or damage incurred by a Passenger, and the Passenger shall indemnify JAL for any loss or damage incurred by JAL, in connection with the Passenger's failure to comply with this Article. jal.co.jp/en/inter/carriage/index.html – Traveller Sep 2 '19 at 8:08
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    Please don't just put "edit: ..." at the bottom of your post. Instead, edit it fully (as I've done) so that somebody reading it for the first time will get the right understanding. Anybody who cares about how the post has changed (which nobody will) can check the edit history. – David Richerby Sep 2 '19 at 11:07
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    @jcaron do you have any source to support the assertion that the ATV is to prevent the exploitation of holes? I always thought it had to do with limiting opportunities for asylum requests. – phoog Sep 2 '19 at 13:19

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