The Top Questions Asked at a U.S. Port of Entry

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By working with a California immigration lawyer, you applied for a visitor visa and it was successful or you were able to obtain a visa through the Visa Waiver Program. You have a flight purchased, hotels booked, and big plans to travel through the United States. All of the highlights in California are on your list, including Yosemite, Hollywood, La Jolla in San Diego, and the wine country of Napa.

Now, as you pack and finalize other details of a holiday in the U.S., there is just one major hurdle before your passport is stamped and the road trip or city exploration begins – immigration at a U.S. port of entry. You can’t visit the U.S. without speaking to a U.S. immigration or customs officer. Even U.S. citizens are required to speak with an immigration officer, even if briefly, before returning home.

These important individuals are tasked with reviewing all of your documentation for entry to the U.S., verifying its accuracy and your reason for visiting, and ultimately admitting you to the country. During this process, a U.S. customs officer can ask you a variety of questions. What questions should you prepare to answer during the immigration process at the airport or other port of entry? These six questions are often asked.

#1: What Is the Nature of Your Visit?

As part of your U.S. visitor visa application or request for a visa waiver, you are required to answer questions about your reason for visiting the U.S. Alternatively, if you are coming to the U.S. for a purpose other than holiday, visiting friends or family, or approved business reasons, you had to provide evidence of employment sponsorship or university admittance to obtain one of these visas.

A U.S. customs officer can question your purpose for arriving in the U.S. In many instances, the officer is looking for confirming the information on your visa. For example, you say you are studying when entering the U.S. on an F-1 visa student visa. However, this question should be simple for any non-immigrant to answer. Therefore, if a person shows nervousness or hesitancy in the answer, it is a red flag to the officer.

#2: Where Will You Stay During Your Trip?

Both on your visitor visa application and at the U.S. border, immigration and customs officials appreciate when you can provide details of your trip. This includes hotel reservations, AirBnB confirmations, and other evidence of where you will go and stay during your time in the United States. You are required to have some of this information for your visitor visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate, but you should also bring a digital or printed copy of any bookings to the airport.

Best practice is to have a few confirmed bookings for your time in the U.S. and to have these details available at immigration. Vague or incomplete answers, such as, “at a friend’s in Los Angeles,” will lead to additional questions or requests for information from a customs officer.

#3: How Long Do You Plan to Stay?

Another question that should have a definite and clear answer is how long do you plan to stay in the U.S. This question is meant to confirm two major aspects of your trip. First, that you have a return flight to your home country if coming on a visitor visa, and second, that you understand the terms and duration of your U.S. visa.

Answering questions about the length of your trip also show that you intend to follow any restrictions and time limits attached to your visa. Frequently, a one-year visa or multiple entry visitor visas only permits the individual to stay for a specific amount of time on each trip. A customs officer will want to verify that this duration restriction is understood and followed.

#4: Who Will You Be Visiting?

While questions about friends and family are most common when this is the purpose of your visit, an immigration officer may have other reasons for asking this question. Perhaps you mentioned staying with a friend or expressing some uncertainty about when you will return home because you know people in the U.S. While these responses don’t always raise red flags for a customs officer, they do lead to more questions.

#5: Is This Your First Trip to the United States?

Today, a U.S. customs officer has a lot of information about your travel history and prior trips to the U.S. So, questions about your travel history, including, “is this your first trip to the United States?” aren’t asked to learn your prior experiences, but confirm them. The U.S. customs officer will be flagging lies during this line of questioning and ensuring that you aren’t abusing the system under a visitor visa or otherwise.

Someone who previously overstayed a visa, failed to follow immigration laws in the U.S., such as working on a visitor visa, or makes multiple trips to the U.S. in a short period of time will be questioned more thoroughly. As well, all of these are grounds for the immigration officer to refuse you admittance to the U.S.

#6: How Much Money Are You Bringing to the U.S.?

The U.S. restricts the movement of goods and currency across its borders. This includes activity and movement by private citizens, even if for a private purpose. You can’t bring meat, plants, or plant materials through any port of entry. There are other restrictions on currency. But more than likely a U.S. customs officer doesn’t ask this question to ascertain if you are bringing too much money, but to determine if you meet minimum requirements.

You must be able to support yourself while in the U.S. When you apply for a visitor visa, a California immigration lawyer helps you prove financial stability through bank statements and other documentation. A customs officer is tasked with confirming this amount and verifying that it is still true. Usually, this is done just through a couple questions, but you may be required to show evidence of your financial status if the officer believes the amount you state is a lie or exaggeration.

Talk to a California Immigration Lawyer

Questions about entry into the U.S. can be directed to a California immigration lawyer. Often, this is the same attorney that helped you with a visitor visa, employment visa, or other application, but not always. Whether you already have your visa or still need to complete that process, you can contact Greco Neyland with questions about the U.S. border and port of entry. Call our LA office at 213-295-3500.

The Top Questions Asked at a U.S. Port of Entry

inne-rpage-seperator

By working with a California immigration lawyer, you applied for a visitor visa and it was successful or you were able to obtain a visa through the Visa Waiver Program. You have a flight purchased, hotels booked, and big plans to travel through the United States. All of the highlights in California are on your list, including Yosemite, Hollywood, La Jolla in San Diego, and the wine country of Napa.

Now, as you pack and finalize other details of a holiday in the U.S., there is just one major hurdle before your passport is stamped and the road trip or city exploration begins – immigration at a U.S. port of entry. You can’t visit the U.S. without speaking to a U.S. immigration or customs officer. Even U.S. citizens are required to speak with an immigration officer, even if briefly, before returning home.

These important individuals are tasked with reviewing all of your documentation for entry to the U.S., verifying its accuracy and your reason for visiting, and ultimately admitting you to the country. During this process, a U.S. customs officer can ask you a variety of questions. What questions should you prepare to answer during the immigration process at the airport or other port of entry? These six questions are often asked.

#1: What Is the Nature of Your Visit?

As part of your U.S. visitor visa application or request for a visa waiver, you are required to answer questions about your reason for visiting the U.S. Alternatively, if you are coming to the U.S. for a purpose other than holiday, visiting friends or family, or approved business reasons, you had to provide evidence of employment sponsorship or university admittance to obtain one of these visas.

A U.S. customs officer can question your purpose for arriving in the U.S. In many instances, the officer is looking for confirming the information on your visa. For example, you say you are studying when entering the U.S. on an F-1 visa student visa. However, this question should be simple for any non-immigrant to answer. Therefore, if a person shows nervousness or hesitancy in the answer, it is a red flag to the officer.

#2: Where Will You Stay During Your Trip?

Both on your visitor visa application and at the U.S. border, immigration and customs officials appreciate when you can provide details of your trip. This includes hotel reservations, AirBnB confirmations, and other evidence of where you will go and stay during your time in the United States. You are required to have some of this information for your visitor visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate, but you should also bring a digital or printed copy of any bookings to the airport.

Best practice is to have a few confirmed bookings for your time in the U.S. and to have these details available at immigration. Vague or incomplete answers, such as, “at a friend’s in Los Angeles,” will lead to additional questions or requests for information from a customs officer.

#3: How Long Do You Plan to Stay?

Another question that should have a definite and clear answer is how long do you plan to stay in the U.S. This question is meant to confirm two major aspects of your trip. First, that you have a return flight to your home country if coming on a visitor visa, and second, that you understand the terms and duration of your U.S. visa.

Answering questions about the length of your trip also show that you intend to follow any restrictions and time limits attached to your visa. Frequently, a one-year visa or multiple entry visitor visas only permits the individual to stay for a specific amount of time on each trip. A customs officer will want to verify that this duration restriction is understood and followed.

#4: Who Will You Be Visiting?

While questions about friends and family are most common when this is the purpose of your visit, an immigration officer may have other reasons for asking this question. Perhaps you mentioned staying with a friend or expressing some uncertainty about when you will return home because you know people in the U.S. While these responses don’t always raise red flags for a customs officer, they do lead to more questions.

#5: Is This Your First Trip to the United States?

Today, a U.S. customs officer has a lot of information about your travel history and prior trips to the U.S. So, questions about your travel history, including, “is this your first trip to the United States?” aren’t asked to learn your prior experiences, but confirm them. The U.S. customs officer will be flagging lies during this line of questioning and ensuring that you aren’t abusing the system under a visitor visa or otherwise.

Someone who previously overstayed a visa, failed to follow immigration laws in the U.S., such as working on a visitor visa, or makes multiple trips to the U.S. in a short period of time will be questioned more thoroughly. As well, all of these are grounds for the immigration officer to refuse you admittance to the U.S.

#6: How Much Money Are You Bringing to the U.S.?

The U.S. restricts the movement of goods and currency across its borders. This includes activity and movement by private citizens, even if for a private purpose. You can’t bring meat, plants, or plant materials through any port of entry. There are other restrictions on currency. But more than likely a U.S. customs officer doesn’t ask this question to ascertain if you are bringing too much money, but to determine if you meet minimum requirements.

You must be able to support yourself while in the U.S. When you apply for a visitor visa, a California immigration lawyer helps you prove financial stability through bank statements and other documentation. A customs officer is tasked with confirming this amount and verifying that it is still true. Usually, this is done just through a couple questions, but you may be required to show evidence of your financial status if the officer believes the amount you state is a lie or exaggeration.

Talk to a California Immigration Lawyer

Questions about entry into the U.S. can be directed to a California immigration lawyer. Often, this is the same attorney that helped you with a visitor visa, employment visa, or other application, but not always. Whether you already have your visa or still need to complete that process, you can contact Greco Neyland with questions about the U.S. border and port of entry. Call our LA office at 213-295-3500.

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