US Airport and Border Entry Processes

December 13, 2018

Philadelphia immigration lawyers report on the entry processes to expect at airports.Airport security processes can be intimidating for individuals entering the United States from other countries. They can be confusing, even for the most experienced travelers. The correct procedures can become even more bewildering when the regulations change, which is often.

Depending on the country they are from, immigrants may need a current passport, visa, and other documents. Although different airports can have various steps for immigrants to take upon arrival, there are general guidelines that can be of help.

Allow Extra Time

Expecting the immigration process to move quickly is not realistic. Preparing for it ahead of time and arriving very early are both beneficial. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website offers a Trusted Traveler program, which may help applicants avoid long lines; but it is only open to certain low-risk countries.

Also, if the traveler wants to bring a large amount of money or goods that are not approved, they still must wait in line.

Immigrating travelers will also have to wait to have their name checked in security databases. If issues arise, an individual may be refused entry.

Types of Visas

There are many kinds of visas throughout the world, and in this country there are two main categories:

  1. Immigrant Visas: Most of these are used for family members and intended family members of U.S. Citizens. This includes spouses, fiancés, adoptive children, and other relatives. These visas can also be sponsored by an employee, for religious workers, certain U.S. Government employees and translators, and returning residents.
  2. Nonimmigrant Visas: This list is longer, and may be obtained for athletes, au pairs, business visitors, diplomats, domestic employees, journalists, medical professionals, religious workers, and students.

There are many other types of nonimmigrant visas available, which can be viewed online.

Have All the Answers

CBP officers greet immigrants as they enter the United States to verify paperwork, documents, and identities. Immigrants need to have all of their documents in order, and ready for inspection. Those holding immigrant visas must have them in unopened, sealed envelopes.

This is also when the questioning begins. Oftentimes, the first question will be the reason why the individual is visiting the United States, and this answer should correspond with the visa. One example: If it is a student visa, the respondent must say that they are in the U.S. to go to school or to study.

CBP Officers also inquire about length and location of the visit, how often the person visits the United States, and if they have been there before. Looking the officer in the eye while responding honestly and clearly is recommended.

What Not to Bring

All immigrants should be aware that their luggage and personal belongings can be searched without their permission. If a traveler is unsure about bringing any item, they should leave it behind. This includes items like firearms, plants, fruits, illegal drugs, certain animals, and pornography. Personal property that is legal in one country may not be legal in the U.S.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at The Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Represent Clients with Immigration Issues

Even if you have everything in order, you may still encounter problems entering the United States. If you have questions about visas, naturalization or other immigration issues, we can help. Contact an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC today at 215-496-0690 or contact us online. We are located in Philadelphia, and serve clients in Pennsylvania, the tri-state area, New Jersey, and Nationally.