1. You will be given the Customs form to fill while in flight to USA (the I-94 is now electronic).
  2. Your Flight will land in the International Terminal.
  3. Take your cabin items and belongings from the flight.
  4. Wait in Queue for your turn.
  5. First Stop is Clearing immigration check.
          1. Have the Forms (Hand over the I-20, Customs Form and Passport).
          2. CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officer at Port of Entry will ask you a few questions.
            Keep your answers simple and direct. If they want more information, they will ask additional questions.
            They will ask you about your purpose for visiting the US.
            Your answer should be "Student".
            If they want to know the name of the school, tell them the name of the school, without any extraneous information.
            You may also be asked whether you are bringing in any food. Do not bring any food with you. Food you received on the plane should be left on the plane. 
          3. Immigration officer will stamp your passport, write D/S (Duration of Stay) in your I-20 and stamp your customs form, take a photo and finger print.

              • Then Proceed to baggage claim area and pick up your Checked-In Bags (all 3) (you may have to get a baggage cart).
              • Walk to customs officer.hand over the stamped customs form to CBP officer) (they may ask you if you are carrying any food items, tobacco or similar stuff) and they will let you go to next destination.
              • After you clear the Customs, you are officially in USA.

              • After landing in Port of Entry (if final destination is different from your port of entry)
                      1. Check in you bags again to the next flight (final destination).
                      2. Walk to your gate and board the flight to your final/next destination.
                      3. Find the Check-in counter of the specific connecting airline, It should be located right after you come through the customs. If you can’t find the  counter, speak-up and ask for help.
                      4. Go to their kiosk and check-in the bags for domestic flight (located in the same terminal as you walk out). 
                      5. Sometimes, they will give new boarding pass (or you might already have the boarding pass).
                      6. Gate number will be on the boarding pass. Also, check the Departure Monitor on the airport for right time and gate number. Gate number could change.
                      7. Also, while checking-in the bags, ask the airline agent, which terminal you have to go to catch the connecting flight. 
                      8. You may have to go to another/next  terminal/gate to board your next/last domestic connecting flight (could take 10 to 30 minutes of walk or air train or shuttle. 
                      9. If you are getting late to the connecting flight and there can be long queue in security area. In such case, request the TSA security agent to get you in front of the queue.
                      10. Show your passport and boarding pass at security area, you may have to go through security check again to enter the domestic terminal.
                        • There could de delay in flight that reached USA. If in case your flight is delayed, follow these steps -
                          1. Clear the Immigration and Customs.
                          2. Check in your bags to next destination.
                          3. Get the information about your next flight (if flight is different from your previous schedule).
                          4. Find a phone to call and inform the people who is going to pick you from the airport.
                                    • If Port of Entry is your final destination, then walk out and wait for your pickup.
                                    • Greet the person with smile who comes to pick you from airport, (No worries if you have to take a cab).
                                    • Help them to load suitcase in the car.
                                    • Enjoy the fresh air and smell of this new place.
                                    • Let them take you to your place of stay, then inquire how can you call back home. Now, Call Home.

                                      For more information see the US Customs Service web site, which includes the brochure Customs Guidelines for Visitors to the United States. Immigration laws can also be found at the US State Department web site.

                                    References -


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