I plan to travel out of the country with a family member person who doesn't know that I am married (we're both U.S citizens). When we go through U.S custom to scan passports, would the border patrol ask anything about my marriage, like

'Where is your wife?'


'Why is she not with you on this trip?'

Do they have access to this information? My wife and I have traveled abroad before so I don't know if the officials have kept a record of our travels together as a couple.

It would be awkward and a disaster since this family member person doesn't know about my marriage yet.

I know my passport doesn't show this information but I wonder if the officials have it their system and might ask.

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    I've never been asked anything like this. It seems highly unlikely. Surely immigration officers speak every day to hundreds of married people who are traveling without their spouses.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 6:10
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    Essentially you are asking several yes/no questions and I can see @MarkMayo has fielded them (please mark it accepted if nobody else answers). You may want to frame any follow-up questions along the lines of should the interview go in that direction how to shut it down real quick.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 6:50
  • Chances are they might ask are you travelling alone ? Then it is upto you.
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 9:39
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    Every country I entered I always approached the immigration officer alone. Unless this is different in the USA, that other person will not even hear a single word of your conversation. Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 11:06
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    Do you think they have access to marriage status when they scanned your passport? I thought that they usually only run check against terrorist or criminal checklist or deny entries checklist...
    – user209663
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 13:37

2 Answers 2


Is this trip for business or pleasure? Many colleagues travel together, so customs is likely to wonder if it's that. However we can't guarantee what they could ask. The most common questions would certainly be about your trip and your purpose, but frankly, they can ask whatever they want if they think it's useful to them.

There's some pretty out there examples on reddit as well about questions asked, so long short short, you can't guarantee.

In addition, as a commenter has pointed out, you generally can approach the counter individually anyway. Any conversation is usually out of earshot of the other passengers.

If it's at all a topic you plan on broaching with this person, it might be worth doing so before the trip, to avoid any awkward surprises.

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    It's a pleasure trip. We are leaving the U.S to go to another country for a short vacation.
    – user209663
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 13:13
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    I suspect that the computer test is far less likely to be administered to US citizens, since their admissibility is not in question. Certainly nobody has ever asked me about my work when I was entering the US. Questions asked of US citizens are about the kind of customs inspection they'll be subjected to.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 1:32
  • @phoog I'm a US citizen, and a US CBP officer asked me about my work when I crossed the Rainbow Bridge on a bicycle. Then again that was probably the strangest thing that happened to him all day, so... Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 2:42
  • @MichaelHampton in my experience, and from what I've read here and elsewhere, the scrutiny on the Canadian land border is much stricter than elsewhere, at least than airports in the northeast. I've been taken to secondary inspection only once and asked probing questions only once, both times entering NY from Ontario with my wife. In the 2nd case, the officer asked what I had been doing in Turkey. I wanted to say "none of your business" but had a plane to catch. I suspect he may have wanted to find out what my wife had been doing in Turkey but wasn't supposed to ask because she has a G visa.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 4:03
  • @MichaelHampton No doubt the Mexican border is stricter still, but I've never crossed it. Was the bicycle relatively new?
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 4:07

They asked me that question. After I said he is waiting for me outside they sent me for secondary inspection. Once I went in the private room (without a female officer) I was questioned strictly about my marriage. “Are y’all in an open marriage” “How much older is your husband” “Just trying to figure out why you would be traveling alone” “is this an arranged marriage” and so on. This was at Bush airport in Houston so it may be different elsewhere.

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    Without knowing the other circumstances in this occurrence — e.g., the age of the parties, their gender, their national origin, their airport of departure, their appearance and manner, etc. — the answer is no more useful than "Yes, sometimes those questions are asked." Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 2:12
  • Welcome to the site. You can edit your answer if you like. It would indeed be helpful to know some of the things suggested in the previous comment, or whether you have any other idea why they might have been suspicious of you (or whether you suspect that they had reasons other than suspicion for interrogating you).
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 4:10

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