Immigration, Customs, and Boarding for International Travelers Flying to the U.S.

Airport procedure for international travelers flying to the U.S.

First time traveling to U.S.A.?

Make sure you’re fully prepared for all pre-takeoff airport procedures, before flying to the U.S.

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the general airport procedure for international flights.

1. Get Cleared by Immigration Before Flying to the U.S.

If you are traveling to the U.S., then you’re first in for an immigration check before takeoff.

Stand in line for the Immigration Check. Proceed when they call you. In some countries, this is handled by police officers. Proceed immediately when they call you and keep your handbag near you. They will check your passport and ask questions about your journey and its purpose. After this, ask at the counter where to go next.

2. Go Through a Customs Check for Flying to the U.S.

Next, all international flights to U.S.A. require a mandatory customs check before boarding. So find your way to the Customs Check line, if you aren’t directed anywhere else.

Here, they will ask you if you have anything to declare. Normally, you won’t have anything to declare: just clothes and personal belongings. Then, ask at the counter where to go next. Many times, the immigration and customs counter is the same where the formalities are done together.

3. Get Ready for Boarding Your International Flight

For boarding an international flight, proceed toward the gate number they gave you when you checked in. The gate number is also on the boarding pass. Often, all gates will be on the lower level.

Now, you might end up with time on your hands before actually getting on that plane and flying to the U.S.

In that case, you will find places to sit, and shops to browse through while you wait.

Next, go to the Security Check. Here, they will scan every person (men and women separately) and X-ray hand baggage. Next, you will wait in the hall for the boarding announcement.

Normally they seat people in the following order: handicapped, first-class, business class, last rows, middle rows, and front rows. Keep your boarding pass ready and enter the plane. The flight attendant may help you locate your seat; if not, ask them. Put your hand-baggage in an overhead compartment or under your seat. There will be blankets on each seat. If they are not there, ask the flight attendant for one.

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