Your legal status in the country may inform what you decide to do if you are selected for longer questioning when entering the United States. U.S. citizens have the right to enter the United States, so if you are a U.S. citizen and the officers’ questions become intrusive, you can decline to answer those questions, but you should be aware that doing so may result in delay and/or further inspection. The same is true for lawful permanent residents: you generally cannot be denied entry to the United States, but declining to answer questions may result in delay or further inspection. Refusal by non-citizen visa holders and visitors to answer questions may result in denial of entry.

If the officers’ questions become intrusive or improper, you should complain and ask to speak to a supervisor. (This goes for citizens, lawful permanent residents, or non-citizen visa holders and visitors.) Although CBP takes the position that you are not entitled to an attorney during primary and secondary inspection, we encourage you to have the telephone number of an attorney or legal services organization with you and ask to contact them if you feel your rights are being violated or if you have been detained for an unusually long period. For anyone attempting to enter the United States, if a customs officer or border agent informs you that you are under arrest, or if it becomes clear that he or she suspects you have committed a crime, you should ask to speak to a lawyer before answering any further questions — and if you wish to exercise your right to remain silent, you should say so out loud.

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