US urges visa care after Langton refused entry

Australian - 21st February 2003
Author: Jim Buckell * Higher education writer

TRAVELLERS to the US have been warned to take care when filling out visa applications and entry cards.

The warning follows the US's refusal at the weekend to grant entry to Aboriginal academic and activist Marcia Langton after she allegedly supplied false information on her entry papers.

US embassy spokesman Matt Conoley said a stricter interpretation of guidelines was in place since the September 11 attacks.

"There has been no policy change or additional laws but what there has been is stricter implementation and enforcement,'' he said.

Visa applicants, or those entering the US on the visa waiver program, could be rejected for supplying false information or because authorities believed they posed a threat.

"There is no one-size-fits-all rule here. Every visa application is judged on its merit,'' Mr Conoley said.

Visitors to the US are asked the question: ``Have you ever been arrested or convicted for any offence or crime, even though subject of a pardon, amnesty or other similar legal action?''

The answer to this question is believed to have caused difficulties for Professor Langton, who is back in Melbourne but refusing to comment after being denied entry at Los Angeles airport on her way to present a lecture at the University of California on Sunday.