Complete immigration forms upon arrival in the USA

Having arrived in the United States is one thing, the migration to immigration - according to all the stories we hear about it - is really another. The U. S. immigration services are, in fact, the subject of several clichés and we must have already been told that they are intractable and particularly severe.

But rest assured; the reality is quite different! If the authorities can be intransigent, because their work requires it, if everything is in order, you will have nothing to fear when it comes to the United States. As soon as you arrive on American soil, you will have to do three things:

  • Fill out forms, two to be more precise: one white and the other green.
  • Talk to the immigration officer.
  • Pass through customs.

Complete immigration forms upon arrival in the USA

When you arrive at the airport, you will be given two forms to fill out:

  • The first one, in white, is intended for customs services. You will find the usual questions regarding your luggage, if you have things to declare, etc.
  • The second, in green, is for immigration services. You will find questions such as:

Do you suffer from a contagious disease; physical or mental disorders; or do you use drugs and narcotics or are you an addict? Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime or offence relating to morals or a violation of the use of narcotics; etc.?

Some airlines will give you these forms when you check in your luggage in your country so that you can fill them out once on the plane. Please note that erasures are not welcome, so please avoid these forms.

The transition to immigration, a mandatory step upon arrival

It is not uncommon to wait more than an hour for American immigration!

When you get out of the plane, long before you can pick up your luggage, you will be guided to a room where you will be given a queue number. With your green form, you will have to queue up for your immigration. As much as you prepare for it, the queue will be long. It can be several hours before your turn arrives so don't complain, don't try to overtake others, in short, avoid getting noticed, as it could be much unseen.

The good news is that several counters are open and the waiting will give you time to prepare the necessary documents for your interview with the officer: passport, green form, airline ticket, hotel reservation, etc.

When your turn arrives, an attendant will tell you which your counter is. If you are alone, you will go alone in front of the agent. If you are with friends, you will pass one by one, but if you are with your family, you can all go together. The immigration officer will ask you about your stay in the United States. In this case, you will have to answer the following questions:

“Why are you coming to the United States?”

“Are you coming to the States for the first time?”

“Have you ever been to the United States before? Why are you coming back?”

“Why are you staying x days?”

“Are you married?” Etc.

Some tips to avoid problems with immigration

  • Answer naturally, without letting your stress appear even if you are nervous.
  • Answer with precise answers, never beating around the bush.
  • Answer frankly, and don't try to jokingly relax the atmosphere. It will only make things worse.
  • Answer normally, even if your level of English is a little low. Note that the officer does not expect you to speak like Americans. On the contrary, knowing that you are a tourist, he will understand your vocabulary deficiencies, your strange accent and your lack of speech.

After the interview, the immigration officer will take your fingerprints (for both hands) and take a picture of you. Let yourself be taken care of, this is the normal procedure and it is only at the end of it that you will be able to retrieve your luggage.

How do I get through customs in the United States safely?

The final step before leaving the terminal is the customs clearance. Once your baggage has been collected, you will have to pass in front of a customs officer to whom you will have to give your blank form. He will examine it quickly and if you have nothing to declare, he will let you go.

Other articles related to the same subject:

First Time ESTA VISA / ESTA USA Applicant?

Update your Travel Authorization?