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How do we rectify this US travel passport problem?

14 replies

GoldStarAngel · 17/02/2022 11:03

Over a decade ago dh and I were in the US and we lost his passport. It sounds crazy but we were able to fly home without a passport - we just kept getting waved through at the airport and told to present ourselves when we landed in the UK, which we did, filled out a form and were allowed back in. Unbelievable, but true! (They did have his details up on screen etc - all biometric innit, and we were returning home not going somewhere).

Anyway it means the exit visa thing never got given in as we left the US. So it is entirely possible the US still think he is there as an illegal immigrant.

We have not been back since but we are planning an US holiday next year. I have of course been nagging him for the past ten years to contact the embassy and sort this out.

So.... who should he contact? Just the visa dept? If they do not think he is there illegally then this raises his name as an issue? But I will be livid if we book a once in a lifetime holiday to the states and he is turned back at the border.

Any advice?

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hedgehoglurker · 17/02/2022 11:11

If he won't contact the Embassy, perhaps try applying for the Visa Waiver, ESTA?

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GoldStarAngel · 17/02/2022 11:54

Oh that is a good plan - presume he could apply for that without actually having a trip booked? And if all okay then we can assume he would be okay next time?

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NotMrsTumble · 17/02/2022 11:59

You might not need 2nd Esta for your trip, as Esta is good for 2 years ie expires after 2 years (or when your passport expires if it has got less than 2 years left).

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AttilaTheMeerkat · 17/02/2022 12:06

He likely used Emergency Travel Documents to get through the airport on the return so there should be no problem now in he re-entering the USA.

I would try applying under their ESTA visa waiver scheme to see if they accept his application. Also his lost passport would have likely expired by now so he would be issued with a new passport number.

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gogohm · 17/02/2022 12:17

Apply for a esta, it's $14 or so, you'll know for sure. You don't need immediate travel plans though I think I had to put a rough date in

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EmmaStone · 17/02/2022 14:06

Something similar happened to a family member of mine, except he didn't lose his passport, just on one trip, it seems his exit wasn't recorded. It's slightly complicated by the fact that he did used to live (and work) in the US. After a few uneventful trips, when he had no issues coming and going, he then had 2 trips where he was hauled into immigration and shouted at for several hours before eventually being released with no apology (as none of this is his fault, but he gets treated like a criminal). He will now never return to the US (despite many family and friends there).

He was told a note had been made on his 'record', but it happened after the first time, and he's not going to risk it happening again. He was told there was little point in going to the embassy.

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notimagain · 17/02/2022 14:26

I suspect worse case it will off to “secondary” (as EmmaStone mentioned) for a brief discussion..and from what I’ve heard from people who have had these/similar issues I agree with the comment that there is little point going to the embassy - they don’t seem to generally be able to change records or issue anything that will have any sway over individual border officers.

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GoldStarAngel · 17/02/2022 15:29

This is all v helpful thank you. We had no emergency travel documents. We literally turned up at airport and every desk said go to the next one and they will deal with it and before we knew it we were on the plane totally disbelieving we’d been allowed to board! (This was 2010 so v much in modern terrorism times!). But he did get a replacement passport and new passport number shortly after which he has travelled on since although only in Europe. Applying for an esta an excellent idea, and will help me relax a little. Thank you

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greengraydoor · 17/02/2022 22:54

Just be warned if the ESTA is declined it can take months to get an interview and then be able to travel. I appreciate you aren’t going until next year but I’d. It book anything until this is sorted. Good luck.

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Freetodowhatiwant · 17/02/2022 23:00

I didn’t lose my passport but for some reason once when leaving the US my exit wasn’t registered. I have forgotten how someone got in touch, maybe it was when I tried to go back there, but I just had to prove I had a life in England (I forget how: home, bills and even links to social media I think) and they were fine about it.

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underneaththeash · 18/02/2022 08:17

@Freetodowhatiwant

I didn’t lose my passport but for some reason once when leaving the US my exit wasn’t registered. I have forgotten how someone got in touch, maybe it was when I tried to go back there, but I just had to prove I had a life in England (I forget how: home, bills and even links to social media I think) and they were fine about it.

Same thing happened to me. We travel to Florida fairly often often and assume the correct button just hadn't been pressed the last time we went.
So, yes hauled into immigration and grilled. But they were fine about it, I think it helped in getting me out quickly, that the children were quite little and DS 2 was screaming "I want my mummmy".
I think it was in the days pre-email on your phone, so I think I just gave them a few numbers to call the next day and then left.
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GoldStarAngel · 20/02/2022 22:25

Thank you. I am going to get shot apply asap and then hopefully book holiday for a year’s time

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ZZTopGuitarSolo · 20/02/2022 22:36

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GoldStarAngel · 23/02/2022 14:39

Yes, exactly that! Thank you

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