So I've got my ESTA and passport. I will be getting my flight ticket, travel insurance and vaccinations soon. My current 'employment' is that I care for my dad who is disabled. But I've arranged that I have someone look after him for the 2 weeks that I'm away. I've read how people could get turned away at the border because they mention they are visiting their girlfriend or SO to the CBP. And the CBP assumes they will overstay ect... What are the chances I will get turned away even though I have to go back in 2 weeks to care for my dad again?

If anyone could give me some advice or anything because I'm starting to stress myself out. Edit: Thank you for all the advice that I was given. My experience. When I got the to LAX airport, the CBP Officer basically asked me to look into a camera, took my fingerprints and then asked for my passport. He asked me a few questions. Reason for my visit. Who I'm visiting. Where I'm staying. How long I'm staying. How much funding have you got. Asked how my girlfriend and I met and if we've met in real life. Asked what I done for a living. Then let me through. Once I got through immigration. Another CBP officer pulled me aside and asked why I only had carry on luggage. My response was I'm staying with my girlfriend who has access to a washing machine, so 5 sets of clothing was plenty. The officer then took my passport went through my luggage. And then let me on my way. Enjoyed my trip. Absolutely sucked when I had to leave. But because it was my first time travelling to the usa by myself I was super nervous and anxious about the possibility of being denied entry. But from my experience I was definitely over worrying.

  • Welcome to TSE. This question might help travel.stackexchange.com/questions/135928/… Where will you be staying?
    – Traveller
    Jun 5, 2023 at 0:43
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    If it's your first time visiting the US, and you have a reasonable itinerary, funds to cover your stay and a return flight in a few weeks' time, your interview will be very short and you'll be fine. "Why are you here?" "Tourism." "How long are you staying?" "Two weeks". Don't volunteer information, just give short but truthful answers. Jun 5, 2023 at 0:44
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    Have you met your GF IRL before, or is this the first time? (It's completely normal to meet your future wife online these days, almost everyone does, so there's no stigma at all in this.)
    – Fattie
    Jun 5, 2023 at 12:41
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    @lambshaanxy it's an incredibly difficult issue. IF like say me, or perhaps you, one is incredibly experienced at "these are not the droids you're looking for" getting past border officials, if you've done it 100s of times in 10s of countries, then yes, you can (possibly) take an approach like "I'm a tourist!" But then what happens if the official immediately says "Who are you visiting?" What's the next part of the script? If OP is a first-timer he'd (appropriately) turn in to jelly at that point. It's a very difficult issue.
    – Fattie
    Jun 5, 2023 at 12:45
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    If you get questioned over & above the level described by @lambshaanxy in a comment, keep in mind that you need to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent. Typically that means demonstrating a reason(s) that compels you to return home at the end of your planned trip. See travel.stackexchange.com/questions/103826/… Having some official document(s) with you that proves you are a carer for your father and shows the date when his temporary care will end should be helpful.
    – Traveller
    Jun 5, 2023 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


First piece of advice: try not to stress too much. It won’t help, and looking stressed and anxious as you await/go through your entry interview might even make things worse by attracting more attention.

Second: prepare well. You may not always be able to use your smartphone during entry into the USA, so gather all your documents together and put them in a plastic folder to keep with you in your carry on luggage:

  • Passport, printed copy of your ESTA and your flight booking, travel insurance (put the policy number and relevant contact numbers in your phone), AirBnB booking.
  • Invitation from your girlfriend to stay at her home, which should include her address, contact number, and the dates of your planned stay.
  • Recent/latest bank statement showing sufficient funds to cover the entire cost of the trip (make sure you have enough in case the plan to stay with your girlfriend doesn’t work out)
  • Proof of ties to the UK that demonstrate you are a Carer for your father and that the arrangements you have made for cover are temporary during your absence in the US
  • A prescription or doctor’s letter if you’re carrying any medication.

Third: remember that out of the millions who visit the US every year only a small % are denied entry and generally only the travellers who have had bad experiences on arrival at the border post about them. The main purpose of the entry interview at the border is to rule out any immigration intent by travellers who do not hold an immigrant visa. Typical questions in the entry interview include:

"Why are you visiting the USA?"

"How long are you staying?"

"Where will you be staying?"

"What's your first address in the States?"

"Who are you visiting?"

Answer briefly, accurately, and truthfully (for example “Tourism and visiting a friend”). Produce relevant documents only if asked for them.

  • You mention bank statement. What if I was using a travel money card which I've aquired from the post office?
    – Scotty
    Jun 6, 2023 at 19:06
  • @Scotty Take evidence of the funds on the card.
    – Traveller
    Jun 6, 2023 at 19:11

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