Flying to America to see your child after a long time? I am sure you must be excited and anxious all at once. The expectation of seeing the apple of your eye after such a long time is unparalleled. However, you might be travelling to a foreign land for the very first time, which could be the cause of some major apprehension.
What can help you deal with that anxiety is to prepare yourself for what to expect during the journey and what you need to do immediately on landing. Following my own experience with my parents, here’s a step-by step guide of 10 things parents travelling to USA should immediately do on landing in America.
Things to Do on Landing in America
1. Fill the Immigration Form:
When the flight lands in the US, travellers need to clear the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) check at the port of entry. Onboard the flight, every traveller is given an I-94 form, an important customs and immigration document that needs to be filled before you present yourself at the customs and immigration facility.
2. Keep Your Legal Documents Handy:
Once you have landed and make your way towards the exit, you’ll have to clear certain areas that will ask you for the legal documents you are carrying, such as your passport. Make sure you have them in hand to save time.
3. Follow the Directions:
Do you know that if you gaze around too much at the airport, officers will consider you suspicious? On leaving the aircraft, just follow the directional signs that will lead you to customs and immigration.
4. Present your Passport:
The immigration officer will check and scan your passport for validation. The officer will also retain the I-94 form you had filled and validate and return the customs forms.
5. Pickup your Luggage at the Baggage Claim Area:
Now, you have to go get your checked-in baggage. Even if you have a connecting flight afterwards, you’ll still need to claim the baggage. The carousel number assigned to your flight will appear on a screen and bags will appear soon afterwards.
6. Clear Customs:
After clearing immigration and collecting your luggage, the next thing you’ll need to do is proceed through the customs area before being allowed to exit the airport. Proceed to the green lanes marked “Nothing to Declare,” if you do not have any items to declare; otherwise move to the red lanes marked “Goods to Declare.” Give your customs form here. Don’t worry about the time it will take. Sometimes, the entire process can be completed in just a few minutes.
7. Buy Calling Cards:
In the US, calling rates can be pretty high. It is, therefore, advisable to use pre-paid calling cards for phone calls. These cards can help you stay in touch with your loved ones when you are travelling abroad and to make calls to hotels, airlines, restaurants and other places within USA. Visit this link to know the various options for international calling cards.
8. Call Your Loved Ones:
The use of cell phones is not allowed in the immigration areas upon landing in the US. Once you have cleared the immigration, find a telephone booth at the airport, call your loved ones, using the calling card to let them know you’ve reached safely.
9. Charge Your Mobile Phone:
Calling cards are a great option if you have decided to stay in the US for a short period of time. However, if the duration is long and you’ll need to make lots of calls while in America, it is advisable to use your own cell phone. You can opt for an international SIM card for this purpose.
10. Find a Taxi:
Now that you have exited the airport, proceed to taxis, rental cars, shuttles or other ground transportation to reach your loved ones.
The process might be a long one, but it doesn’t need to be a difficult one. All you need is a little preparation.
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