I thought I'd just post my POE experience through Atlanta. It may be useful to those entering via Atlanta,GA. We entered on 2 Mar 2006.
FORMS The process was actually quite straightforward. Before leaving the plane all we needed to fill in was the customs form (1 per family). We took the I-94 forms anyway (one for each member) because the official on board the plane insisted we do so even tho it clearly states its only required for non-immigrant visas.
UPON ARRIVAL Once we got to Passport control, the officials were very helpful as we were travelling with little kids. One of the them again insisted that we fill in the I94. I did not object as they actually volunteered to help with filling in the forms for us.
We were then escorted to an immigration officer. He tore up the I94's - said they were not required. He only checked our passports and our package from the US Consulate. He did not open it. We told him we wanted our mailing address for the GCs to be changed.
He just struck off what was on the summary sheet and wrote in the new address on each envelope. Five minutes later we were on our way to Customs & Imm. They looked at our passports and took us aside for futher processing. They took the brown envelopes from the US consulate and asked us to take a seat while they processed them.
The lady at the counter opened each of them and began "entering stuff" on her PC whilst we kept the kids busy. After 15 mins she fingerprinted my wife a! nd myself (index finger only) and asked us to sign a form. She stamped our immigrant visas and said they would serve as temp GCs for the next 12 months.
She said our GC's may take up to 3 months to arrive - maybe sooner, but in the event that it did not arrive within 6 months she gave us a form that we could fill in and mail to the Texas Svc Center to query the status of the GCs.
Twenty mins later were on our way - new US Perm Residents :-)
GEN COMMENTS ATL is a great airport the enter via especially if you have kids.
The SAA arrival concourse is rarely busy and people are very friendly. The only downside is that you have to pick up your luggage and then recheck it after going Customs. You then have to pick it up at baggage claim at the main concourse. Just make sure you have dollar bills ($3) for a luggage cart :-). You can use a credit card to get a cart as well.
AFTER ENTRY Three days after we arrived we went to our local SSA office to apply for SSN for our kids. You can find your nearest office on (www.ssa.gov
). I took all our passports, full birth cert and our full marriage cert. I did not take the kids with me.
All they wanted to see was our passports. The official did ask for our I94's but I told her we did not require one as we came in on an immigrant visa.
I was surprised that she did not ask for our marriage cert or the kids birth certs. She did ask for my wife's passport though. My wife and I did not apply for SSN's as I have one and she applied for one when we filled in our DS230.
Kids under 18 cannot have one automatically assigned to them. Our kids got their SSN's and welcome letters within a week. We're still waiting for ours.
We called the SSA toll free number and they said we should wait a week and then check back with them.
I hope this helps.