How to avoid Immigration problems at US Port of Entry

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The Port of Entry usually called POE is the immigration check counter at the US airport where you land first on getting to US. At the POE, the immigration officer will ask you some questions and stamp your passport.


Step-by-step process of entering USA


Arrive at the US airport

As soon as you get to the US airport, join the other passengers going to "Immigration" and stand on the queue.


Stand in line for US immigration

For individuals visiting USA on a temporary visa, they are required to stand in the non-US citizen line. Your passport and US customs form should be brought out ready for inspection. (Starting from May 2013, the arrival departure form I-94 is now automated and no paper required to be filled.)


US immigration check

Some documents will be checked by the immigration officer like your passport, US visa, and customs form, and the officer may ask you questions related to the type of visa you have. Questions related to the purpose of your trip might be asked, who is your employer, what work do you do, how long do you plan to stay, etc. You are expected to answer questions confidently. The immigration officer will then take your fingerprints and a digital picture, stamp the passport with the date of arrival, end date of stay & the visa class, create an electronic I-94, and your passport and customs form will be returned to you, and let you in.

The date stamped on your passport shows the duration of your authorized stay in this country and not the date on the visa. You should immediately indicate if there are any mistakes made in the date given by the officer, so the officer can correct it. If you notice the error later, contact your local CBP (Customs & Border Protection) office or call 1-877-CBP-5511 Monday-Friday between 8:30am and 5:00pm EST.


Fingerprinting and digital photograph

The immigration officer then takes your fingerprints and a digital picture, stamp your passport with the date of arrival, last date of stay, the visa class and return your passport along with Customs form to you, and let you in.


Baggage claim

Locate where the baggage claim area for your flight is, pick up a trolley from nearby to carry the baggage.


US Customs

You are to go through the customs with your luggage. An officer will take your customs form and may ask a few questions about your luggage. Some items like fruits, vegetables, plants, and dangerous items are not allowed to be carried in.


Exit the airport

After all the above, you can the airport. If you are going to be picked by someone, look for the person. You have arrived at your destination, and you are now in USA!

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