Credible Fear Screenings


§ 235(b)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorizes DHS to immediately remove certain aliens who DHS has determined to be inadmissible under §§ 212(a)(6)(C) or 212(a)(7) of the INA. This is known as expedited removal.

Categories of Aliens Subject to Expedited Removal Include:

  1. Arriving aliens coming or attempting to come into the United States at a port of entry or an alien seeking transit through the United States at a port of entry.
  2. Aliens who are encountered in international or United States waters and brought to the United States by any means. This category does not include aliens interdicted at sea who are never brought to the United States.
  3. Aliens who have been paroled under §212(d)(5) of the INA on or after April 1, 1997, are subject to expedited removal upon termination of their parole.  This provision encompasses those aliens paroled for urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons, including those paroled in between May 1, 2000 and October 29, 2000 pursuant to the Visa Waiver Pilot Program Contingency Plan. This category does not include aliens paroled into the United States prior to April 1, 1997, or those who return to the United States pursuant to a grant of advance parole obtained prior to their departure from the United States.
  4. Aliens who have arrived in the United States by sea (either by boat or by other means) who have not been admitted or paroled, and who have not been present in the U.S. for two years prior to the inadmissibility determination.
  5. Aliens who have been apprehended within 100 air miles of any U.S. international land border, who have not been admitted or paroled, and who have not established to the satisfaction of an Immigration Officer that they have been physically present in the U.S. continuously for the 14-day period immediately prior.

Exception for Aliens Seeking Asylum:

If the individual indicates an intention to apply for asylum, expresses a fear of persecution or torture, or expresses a fear of return to his or her country; however, he or she must be referred to an Asylum Officer for an interview to determine whether the individual has a credible fear of persecution or torture. Individuals found to have a credible fear of persecution or torture are then given an opportunity to seek asylum before an immigration judge. This puts them on the “defensive” path to asylum. Those found not to have a credible fear of persecution or torture may request that an immigration judge review the negative determination. If an individual does not request review by the immigration judge or the immigration judge upholds the negative determination, the individual may be removed.

Aliens attempting to enter the United States at a land border port of entry with Canada must first establish eligibility for an exception to the Safe Third Country Agreement, through a Threshold Screening interview, in order to receive a credible fear interview. If they do not fall within an exception to the Safe Third Country Agreement, they may be returned to Canada without consideration of their request for asylum in the United States.

For more information on Credible Fear Screenings, please see the Credible Fear FAQ.

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