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Port Entry Procedures for USA Visitors

Entering the United States can be a bit of a process, especially if you’re coming from another country. There are a few things you need to do before you even set foot on U.S. soil, and then there are additional procedures to follow once you’re at the port of entry. 

What is a Port of Entry?

A Port of Entry (POE) is an official entry point for people and goods entering the United States. There are more than 300 Ports of Entry in the US, including airports, seaports, and land borders.

All visitors to the US must pass through a Port of Entry. When you arrive at a POE, you will be required to present your passport and other documents as required by US immigration law. You will also be interviewed by a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.

The CBP officer will ask you questions about your travel plans and reasons for visiting the US. They may also search your belongings and request that you take a secondary inspection if they have any concerns.

Once you have cleared customs, you will be able to enter the United States and continue with your travel plans.

Who is Required to go through a Port of Entry?

If you are a foreign national entering the United States, you will need to go through a port of entry. This includes airports, seaports, and land borders. You will need to have the proper documentation with you, which we will discuss below.

All foreign nationals who wish to enter the United States, regardless of their country of origin, must go through a port of entry. This includes those who are coming for business or pleasure. If you are coming from a Visa Waiver Program country, you must have an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before you can board your plane.

You will need to present your passport and other required documents to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry. They will then determine if you are admissible to enter the United States. If you are found inadmissible, you will be returned to your point of origin or placed into removal proceedings.

The following items are required for all foreign nationals entering the United States:

  • Passport- All foreign nationals must have a valid passport when entering the United States. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay in the United States.
  • Visa- If you are not a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country, you will need a US visa to enter the United States. There are many different types of visas, so be sure to apply for the correct one based on your purpose of travel.

What are the Procedures for a Port of Entry?

When you arrive in the United States, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will ask to see your passport and US visa. The officer will also ask you some questions about your trip. Be prepared to answer these questions truthfully and completely.

After the CBP officer has finished asking questions and has reviewed your documents, he or she will stamp your passport and let you know if you need to see another officer for further screening. If so, please follow the officer’s instructions.

If the CBP officer determines that everything is in order, he or she will give you a baggage claim ticket and allow you to proceed into the United States.

What Documents are Required for a Port of Entry?

When you arrive at a port of entry into the United States, you will need to present the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • A visa (if required)
  • An I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
  • A completed customs declaration form

If you are traveling by land or sea, you will also need to present a valid I-20 form if you are coming from abroad to study or a DS-11 form if you are coming from abroad to work.

After the Port of Entry

Now that you’ve made it through the port of entry, there are a few things you’ll need to do  to complete your trip. First, if you’re traveling by air, you’ll need to claim your baggage and go through customs. Next, if you’re staying in the United States for more than 90 days, you’ll need to register with the Department of Homeland Security. Finally, if you’re planning on driving while in the United States, you’ll need to get a driver’s license from the state in which you’re staying.

Not Speaking English at Port of Entry

If you are seeking entry into the United States, it is important to be able to communicate with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers who will be processing your entry. While CBP officers are trained to communicate with a wide variety of international travelers, they will primarily use English when speaking with you. If you do not speak English, the CBP officer may request the assistance of an interpreter to help facilitate communication.

It is also important to remember that all documents related to your entry into the United States must be in English. This includes your passport, US visa, and any other forms or paperwork that you may need to present. If you have difficulty translating any of these documents yourself, the CBP officer may be able to provide some assistance or refer you to resources that can help.

Sample Letter for Port of Entry for Longer Stays

If you are planning to stay in the United States for a longer period, you will need to follow the proper procedures at the port of entry. These procedures vary depending on your country of origin, but all visitors will need to have a valid passport and US visa.

Visitors from certain countries may also be required to have additional documentation, such as a tourist card or an I-94 form. Once you have all of the necessary documents, you will approach the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry. They will ask you some questions about your travel plans and the reason for visiting the United States.

After your identity has been verified and your documents have been checked, the officer will stamp your passport and allow you to enter the country. You should then proceed to baggage claim and collect your belongings. From there, you can continue to your final destination in the United States.

Itinerary for a Longer Stay

If you’re planning a longer stay in the United States, you’ll need to follow a few different procedures at your port of entry. 

  1. First, you’ll need to have a valid passport and US visa. 
  2. You’ll also need to fill out an I-94 form and present it to the Customs and Border Protection officer. Once you have all of your documents in order, you’ll approach the CBP officer at your port of entry. They will ask you some questions about your trip, and then they will stamp your passport and I-94 form. Be sure to keep your I-94 form with your passport, as you’ll need it when you leave the United States.
  3. After you’ve been cleared by the CBP officer, you can proceed to the United States. If you’re staying for more than 90 days, you’ll need to register with the local police department within 10 days of arrival. 
  4. And finally, if you’re staying for more than 180 days, you’ll need to apply for a formal extension from USCIS before your US visa expires.

 

Authorized Stay and Extension

When you enter the United States, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will stamp your passport and give you a paper I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. The CBP officer will also determine the length of your authorized stay in the U.S. Your I-94 indicates the date by which you must leave the United States. If you want to stay longer than the time indicated on your I-94, you must apply for an extension before your authorized stay expires.

If you are granted an extension, it will be reflected on a new I-94 with a new departure date. You are not required to leave the United States and reapply for admission if you receive an extension of stay before your original I-94 expires. You may apply for an extension of stay at any time before your authorized stay expires. However, we recommend that you apply as soon as possible so that there is no gap in your authorization to remain in the United States.

If you are applying for an extension of stay based on employment, please be prepared to show evidence of your employment, such as a letter from your employer or pay stubs. If you are applying for an extension of stay based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, please be prepared to show evidence of your relationships, such as a copy of your marriage certificate or joint bank account statements.