So to keep it short but detailed, I am Canadian and been travelling to the USA over the years for pleasure.
A few years ago, I wanted to visit a friend in Saudi Arabia, so I booked a flight that was going from Canada to the US(layover) and then saudi airline from USA to Saudi Arabia. After going through security and all that and about to board the plane in Canada, they tell me that you are not allowed to go to Washington DC where the layover is.

I filed a FOIA asking why I was denied entry to the U.S but all I got was my travel entries into the USA, no detail why I was told I can't go to the USA.
My question is does anyone know what the reason could be? If I was not able to go to Saudi, would that make sense why the USA denied my entry to Washington because USA would be a layover destination?.

Feel free to ask me questions, my son is in the USA working and I would like to visit him so trying to find an solution.
Am I able to just book a flight to the USA and see if it happens again?

  • One thing you might try is flying from the US to Saudi Arabia, crossing the land border into the US. This would shed some light on why and where you're being denied, but it's probably a very expensive test in both money and time.
    – phoog
    May 18, 2016 at 20:10
  • 6
    Were you denied entry by US immigraiton officers when you went through US preclearance in the Canadian airport? Or did the airline refuse to let you board?
    – user102008
    May 18, 2016 at 23:49
  • 5
    Different take: did you have a valid visa for Saudi-Arabia?
    – mts
    May 19, 2016 at 9:59
  • @user102008 the response to your comment is in the comments for the answer, so I doubt you'll get a notification.
    – phoog
    May 19, 2016 at 14:13
  • The Saudi visa question is a good one. If you had been refused entry to the US you would have found that out either at check-in for the IAD flight or at preclearance inspection. The gate denial is from Saudi Airlines, which probably only got your passport info when you checked in in Canada.
    – user38879
    Jun 2, 2016 at 20:21

2 Answers 2


(not knowing any more details than what you give us)

Maybe you are one of many cases of duplicate identity in the Homeland no fly list that will generate a false positive.

You need to get as much official documentation of your citizenship you can get your hands on and check with airlines (or maybe the DHS or the Canadian equivalent) to see if you are on the no fly list and if possible to get out of the no fly list. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Fly_List#False_positives

Good luck with that.

  • I don't think I'd be on the no fly list because I was flying to the states before that. This is the first time I got denied.
    – A.MN
    May 18, 2016 at 20:35
  • Also, phoog I already had the flight from USA to saudi arabia and got denied, but I was travelling fine to the USA and also to Cancun through the USA. That is why I am thinking that it has something to do with going to Saudi Arabia and the USA denied entry cause it's being used as a stop before going to Saudi
    – A.MN
    May 18, 2016 at 20:36
  • 2
    It isn't just because you were going to Saudi Arabia, because, as you say, Saudi Airlines flies direct from DC. If the US government banned anybody who traveled to Saudi Arabia, that flight would be empty every single day. Unfortunately, you've been ensnared in something that caused them to deny you entry. Did they truly have no reason at all? You can, of course, try again, perhaps to visit your son. If that fails, the US has a program called TRIP for people who have been flagged to try to deal with the problem. They are not known for being super helpful though. May 18, 2016 at 20:48
  • @A.MN did you travel to the USA or through the USA after your attempt to go to Saudi Arabia? It's possible that your trying to take that flight was the cause of your trouble entering the US, and if so, it would be likely to cause you trouble on subsequent flights to the US.
    – phoog
    May 19, 2016 at 3:55
  • I didn't say the USA banned everyone going to Saudi Arabia. I am saying maybe for some reason I wasn't allowed to go to Saudi Arabia and that is why the USA denied entry as well cause I was passing through USA to go to Saudi?
    – A.MN
    May 19, 2016 at 12:14

There are a number of reasons why Canadians are denied entry to the US. First and formally is due to a criminal record. If you have one, the US border officers have access to it and will refuse you entry even if you are only transiting through American soil. Have you previously overstayed on a visit the to US? That's another reason why they can deny you entry. There is actually a huge bunch of reasons: medical conditions, no fly list, etc. Either way, now that you've been refused, you will need to get an entry waiver. You can read my blog about my experience obtaining and utilizing an I-194 waiver. http://uswaiver.blogspot.ca/ Good luck, good travels.

  • It's not at all clear from the OP's post that he/she was found inadmissible or that a waiver is the right thing to get. Normally you would have some ground for inadmissibility (e.g. criminal record) that you would seek to have waived. The OP doesn't have that and wouldn't even know what documents to submit because they haven't been found inadmissible. Also, he/she was denied boarding at the gate, not denied admission by CBP (either in the US or a Preclearance airport). The DHS TRIP program is probably a better bet based on what we know about this story. Jun 2, 2016 at 18:50

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