In August 2019, I attempted to enter the US from the UK (I am a UK citizen) and was swiftly denied admission after the border control officers discovered that I had previously worked as a prostitute in my home country. My photo and fingerprints were taken and the date and airport at which I was denied entry was recorded in my passport (which I have since replaced).

I understand that gaining entry into the US in the future will be extremely difficult given my poor record. I’ve made peace with this. My issue is whether or not this will impact my travel to other countries. I know that Australia, Canada and New Zealand share biometric information concerning travellers with the US, so I’ve ruled those countries out.

Are there any other nations which would be able to see my record of deportation at the border through scanning my passport? If no, then I feel I could get away with simply not mentioning it as most of the countries I want to visit don’t explicitly ask tourists to disclose any prior deportations (other than ones which occur at the country in question). If I were to visit Japan for example, would they be privy to my mishap in the US through scanning my passport chip? What information does scanning a passport pull up? Which nations (other than those mentioned) share biometric information with the US?

Thanks for anyone who knows the answer to this question. Just want to ascertain just how thoroughly screwed I am.

  • 9
    When you say "discovered I had worked as a prostitute", do you mean you have a criminal record, or did they find out some other way? Prostitution is illegal in almost all of the US & Canada, but it's legal in Australia and NZ. However, if they suspect you're coming to a country to work in any job (sex work or otherwise) without a work visa, that's also enough to deny entry. Oct 29, 2020 at 9:56
  • 4
    I'm not sure that being denied entry to the US automatically rules out Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
    – jcm
    Oct 29, 2020 at 10:00
  • 7
    @wowowowow Your passport number changes, but your biometrics do not. Typically renewing a passport does little or nothing to erase an adverse immigration history
    – Traveller
    Oct 29, 2020 at 13:13
  • 3
    @wowowowow No, there is no international database of deportations.
    – MJeffryes
    Oct 29, 2020 at 19:01
  • 19
    Just to set the record straight: What happened to you was an entry refusal, not a deportation. Being deported means that you first enter the country somehow, commit an immigration violation, the ICE tracks you down, arrests you and puts you on a plane home. That's a much more severe immigration violation than just a refusal at the border, because in the latter case there's no harm done to the country you tried to enter. Keep this in mind when filling out various visa applications, sometimes they're really only interested in real deportations.
    – TooTea
    Oct 30, 2020 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


It seems safe to assume that any country which can access the information about US entry refusals and cares about them when making its own entry decisions would also inquire about entry refusals as part of their paperwork. This is because on the one hand, this gives the applicant an opportunity to lie; and on the other hand, an opportunity to explain what happened. Thus, for any country which does not ask about entry refusals, don't worry.

When it comes to countries who do ask, the standard advice here is to never lie on the forms. It is not that unusual for a person to have been refused entry in the past, and still be allowed to enter. Keep in mind that in general, being refused entry means "We are not convinced that you meet our entry criteria.", not "We are convinced that you are a bad person." However, if you do get asked about previous entry refusals, do expect the follow-up question "Why did they refuse entry?". The only thing you did wrong was not knowing about sex work being grounds for inadmissibility to the US. Thus, I would not expect much troubles with any reasonably enlightened country.

To summarize, the only countries to avoid are those with regressive attitudes about sex work which also ask about past entry refusals.

Addendum: As TooTea stresses in the comments, you were refused entry. As far as bad travel history is concerned, this is the least bad case. You haven't actually violated immigration rules, you just didn't get in. A deportation is more severe.

  • In the case of Japan, as with most countries, Immigration Officials would only deny entry if they believe that you intend to violate their laws during your visit to their country. Countries that share such information, will also share the reason for refusing entry. Reasons from countries where the Presumption of guilt is based on events outside of their jurisdiction (and where it is not a crime in the jurisdiction where the event took place), will most likely be ignored. Dec 11, 2022 at 5:08
  • "regressive attitudes about sex work" is awfully judgemental and offensive to many people.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 13, 2022 at 16:32
  • @FreeMan I agree, regressive attitudes about sex work are awfully judgemental and offensive. Joking aside, "regressive attitudes" is me being as descriptive and polite as I can be, a lot more colourful language came to my mind first.
    – Arno
    Dec 14, 2022 at 1:06

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