Monday, July 27, 2015

What to Expect From Your Arrival at the U.S. Port of Entry

By Xiao Lu
World Education Services

Before your departure, double check that you have your:

1. Passport: Valid for at least six months
2. Visa: Make sure you have the correct visa type. Usually, an international student receives an F-1 visa.
3. I-20 form

When you get off the plane:
  • Claim your luggage. You can use your flight number to find your respective luggage claim counter. Also, double check that the luggage you take is yours, not one that doesn’t belong to you. If you can’t find your luggage, fill out a lost luggage report with your contact information. Airport staff will reach out to you once your luggage has been found.
  • Go to the immigration counter. There are two lanes, one for U.S. residents, the other for foreign passport holders. As an international student, you should line up on the non-residents lane.
  • At the counter, get your passport, I-20 and custom declaration form ready for the immigration officer. Then the officer will ask you some questions regarding your visiting purpose. They may ask: What is your visiting destination? Why are you traveling to the U.S.? Which school are you attending?
  • Don’t act nervous when you are answering these questions. A brief answer will be enough for a quick interview. After asking you questions, the officer will write down your permitted length of stay in the U.S. with a signature on your visa and I-20. For international students holding an F-1 visa, you are allowed to stay in the U.S. until you have finished your degree. So, it’s essential to make sure your passport is valid for another six months by the time you enter the U.S. port of entry.
  • Have your luggage checked by an officer. When the security officers tell you to open your luggage, do as you are asked. According to U.S. law, if a visitor declines to open their luggage, officers themselves still have the right to open it. There are various categories of items that shouldn’t show up in your belongings. In particular, meat, plants, dairy and fruits are strictly banned for epidemic prevention purposes. I know that foodies may miss their food from home, but now you can shop online to access these products.
  • After all of these steps, welcome to the U.S.!

1 comment:

  1. This is good information for students. I hired the agency for U.S. Entry Waiver.


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