In International Travel

Whenever you are entering the United States there are some critical things to know when you are speaking to Customs and Border Protection Officers “CBP” (those sweet people that greet you with a smile). What happens at the border with that officer will determine your entry into the United States. Therefore, it is important for you to know the following to secure a safe, easy entry, and stay in the United States.

5 critical must know tips before presenting yourself at the US border!

  1. If you are coming into the United States as a visitor, or on any temporary work visa, NEVER say that you are “moving” to the United States. You are only coming temporarily to the United States to do what your visa allows and then leaving.
  2. Always know what you plan to do in the United States. If you are coming in on a work visa, know your employers name, address, your job title and what your duties are. If you are coming in to visit make sure you have an itinerary (with as much detail as possible) describing what you are doing and where you are staying. Also, bring with you any tickets purchased for events you are saying you are attending, and reservations for hotels. ALWAYS HAVE A ROUND TRIP PLANE TICKET!
  3. Based on the visa you are entering with, know how long you have a right to stay in the United States (especially with a work visa). For every status, the CBP officer has the discretion to give you an amount of time, however, they do not need to give you the maximum allowed. Know what is the maximum allowed under your work visa, and make sure you are given what you are allowed. If you are given less time, politely ask why. This will save you the hassle of fixing a mistake made at the border on your I-94. A good example is if you enter on an E visa. Anyone who enter the US with an E visa is supposed to be given a 2-year stay. A lot of times, the officer will only give you until the end of your visa validity. This is incorrect. Make sure you are given what you are supposed to be given.
  4. BE POLITE but ADVOCATE. Make sure to be respectful at all times, but do not be afraid to ask a question or advocate for something that you know is correct. There are many changes constantly occurring at the borders, and sometimes CBP officers do not get or don’t remember policy changes. So long as you are respectful you should speak up if you know what they are saying is incorrect.
  5. CHECK YOUR I-94 immediately upon entry to verify that you were given the proper status and proper length of stay in the US. Mistakes happen all the time, and to avoid having to get your I-94 corrected, or even worse overstay because you thought you knew when you were supposed to leave, CHECK YOUR I-94. Check out “HOW DO I FIND MY I-94” if you are not sure how to find your I-94 online.

It can be stressful when entering the United States, but it is important that you stay focused, take a deep breath, and follow the above. HAPPY TRAVELING!

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