An Australian woman says she was denied entry to the US over house-sitting plans

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Madolline Gourley with one of the cats from her recent pet sitting trip around the US.
Madolline Gourley with considered one of the cats on a previous house-sitting journey in the US.

  • An Australian woman says she was not allowed to enter the US as a result of she supposed to house-sit.
  • Madolline Gourley stated she had traveled to the US to take care of properties and pets in the previous. 
  • TrustedHousesitters stated it disagreed with border steerage that house-sitting breached visa guidelines.

Madolline Gourley was touring from Australia to Canada through Los Angeles in June to go house-sitting, however she wasn’t in a position to achieve this as a result of she acquired despatched again.

She made headlines after revealing that immigration officers requested her if she’d ever had an abortion. While the intrusive questioning attracted a lot media consideration, it was not the motive why Gourley was denied entry to America. Rather, she believes it was due to her plan to house-sit.

House-sitting has grow to be a popular means of low-cost journey in recent years. Users of apps equivalent to TrustedHousesitters enroll to both have somebody take care of their house and pets, or to take care of them for others. 

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“All of those questions pertained to house sitting, where I find these opportunities, how long I’ve been doing it for,” Gourley advised Insider. “And the second officer said, ‘will you be doing this house sitting in Canada?’ And I said ‘yes’.”

While US Customs and Border Patrol would not touch upon particular person instances, a spokesperson stated house-sitting breached visa tips.

“Under the Visa Waiver Program, nonimmigrant foreign nationals visiting the United States as tourists (visitors for pleasure), engaging in unauthorized employment is not allowed,” the spokesperson advised Insider. “For example, working as a house and animal sitter in exchange for room and board.”

Gourley had been utilizing the TrustedHousesitters app. A spokesperson for the firm stated it did not know why the Australian had been deported as a result of officers had not given any clarification for his or her choice. 

“Having taken legal advice from immigration lawyers we have been advised that, as the primary reason for travel is leisure, pet sitting with TrustedHousesitters doesn’t contravene immigration guidelines,” the spokesperson stated, including that vacationers ought to examine the visa necessities of the international locations they have been visiting. 

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The spokesperson stated TrustedHousesitters gave clients letters written by immigration attorneys to current to border officers: “It is essential to us that all of our members are in a position to explain to immigration officials the nature of the TrustedHousesitters platform, and that is why we provide our members with information on this issue.”

Gourley, who has previously written about house and pet sitting for Insider, stated she has been in a position to keep in New York for a month with out paying for lodging utilizing her $150 annual membership with TrustedHousesitters.

She says she wasn’t warned of the dangers of house-sitting on a vacationer visa by the firm, and feels she is now paying the worth in the type of what she referred to as a journey ban from the US.

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“TrustedHousesitters should be fixing this for me, but TrustedHousesitters should also be informing all of its members about the risks,” Gourley stated. “While it might not happen to you, it could happen to you, and I think members deserve to know about that.”

A TrustedHousesitters spokesperson advised Insider: “All our members are fully informed about the requirements for international sitting.” 

Last yr, TrustedHousesitters gained $10 million from traders to develop into the US market, Private Equity Wire reported. 

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