I'm hoping to get some good advice on my case. I am a Dutch citizen, living in the Netherlands. I usually travel under the Visa Waiver Programme and it has never given me trouble before. In 2007, I did an intership in Florida under a J1 visa. No troubles either.
In January 2009 I applied for a visa to stay for 6 months. I was sent back home with the request to provide more information, like bank statements and my current enrollment letter of college. I was also given a letter saying what I needed to bring with a quote on the bottom saying: "If you fail to take action within one year of the ... decision, your application will expire".
My situation changed and I decided to just go for 3 months. I did not return to the Embassy because I figured my application would just expire. Nor did the embassy contact me about anything not matching up on my record or what might have been wrong. No warning not to travel.
On April 19th 2009, I flew to Orlando, FL on my Visa Waiver Programme to stay for 3 months, the allowed time for the VWP. Everything seemed to be fine talking to the first POE officer, until he put my passport aside and told me I needed to go through secondary screening.
At first, one of the officers looked at my passport and asked me: "How did you ever get into the US before? Is this even you?" After this, they told me that I was denied a visa before and repeatedly asked me why I filled out "No" on my I94 question 'ever been denied a visa?'. I told them I was not aware of being denied because they told me to come back, that's why I didn't say yes. I had no clue.
After being interrogated and treated disrespectfully, comments made and questions asked which had nothing to do with my case, I had to go back home. First after a couple of questions they said I was denied, and then followed the useless questions and comments. They didn't try to contact the embassy or call around, nothing. I was put back on the plane home, allowed to call my friend whom I was visiting only for 2 minutes. My parents had no idea where I was and were needless to say very concerned.
Now, I have spend a lot of money on my ticket traveling there which was a waste. I was told I could come back but I had to get a visa. So that is exactly what I did.
I went to the Embassy and I was told that in the system at the POE I was denied, without any explanation. Therefore they could not have known whether I was denied because I was an intending immigrant, or simply because I needed to provide more information. The latter means that I was technically NOT denied, correct? So the officer asked me a couple of questions which I answered, and told me he issued my visa and I would receive it in a couple of days. NO questions about my paperwork, he didn't need to see a thing. No bank statements, nothing. I was issued a 10!! year B1/B2 visa. 10 years, without questions, not 1 year/2/3/5, 10 years, I think it's weird. And my previous visa of my internship was expired (which caused no problems before anyways) and stamped: "Cancelled without prejudice".
Now my questions:
- I am traveling to Orlando again on June 2 2009, for 2.5 months until I go back to college. What can I expect at POE? Will I be denied entry again, will they have any reason for this or should I not be concerned?
- I was not treated properly or respectfully and honestly, I'm traumatized by it and already scared of what to come. Is it likely that I will get a secondary screening again?
- I spent a lot of money on my ticket. I want to claim someone for my losses because I feel that technically I was not denied and even if I were, I had no knowledge on this. I feel like there was a mistake between the embassy and the system at the POE.
I want to get a reimbursement for my ticket and the traumatic experience. Because I honestly think there was a mistake made with the whole "denied visa" without being technically denied.
Who do I claim for this?