March 9, 2022. 
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

What to expect at the U.S. Port of Entry?

To legally enter the United States, obtaining a visa is not the last step in the process. Even if you have a visa, nonimmigrant or immigrant, you still have to go through a check-up at the U.S. port of entry. The CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officer will ask you a couple of questions to confirm your intentions of coming to the United States.

Arrival at the U.S. Port of Entry

First off, make sure that you have all your paperwork ready. The officer will look at your passport and verify that you have permission to enter the United States. Keep in mind that you might have to wait for some time before you get to screening at primary inspection, so be prepared for long lines. There will usually be two or more lines separating the U.S. passport holders and citizens from other travelers.

The length of the process also depends on the officer that will screen you and conduct an interview, if they deem it necessary. The CBP Officer interview can be a stressful experience, especially if you haven’t gone through it before. Furthermore, your English language proficiency contributes to your confidence. Good command of English makes you less nervous, which in turn helps you navigate through the process more easily. However, the most important thing is your documentation and travel intent. 

Questions You Can Expect

If you end up having an interview, the CBP Officer will ask you a couple of questions related to your background and your entry into the United States. Be honest and truthful when answering, and try to be as relaxed as possible. The officer may ask you some of the following questions:

  • Why are you visiting the United States? 
  • For how long do you plan to stay?
  • Where do you plan to stay?
  • Who are you visiting?
  • Have you been to the U.S. before?
  • What do you do for a living/what is your occupation?
  • How are you financing your visit?

If you’re unable to answer one of these questions, you may have to go for a secondary inspection. You’ll also go through a luggage search and medical screening. And lastly, if the officer determines that you’re eligible to enter the country, you’ll go through a fingerprinting process and have your photo taken.

Final Words

The priority of CBP is to prevent terrorists and criminals entering the U.S. It is a rigorous procedure that every visa applicant needs to go through. For any additional information, feel free to contact us, we're happy to help.

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