I have written detailed step by step process for What happens right after you land in Port of Entry in USA.

Let me add few more details in addition to steps listed in above post.

You could have connecting flight from Port of Entry to your final destination within USA.

If flight reaching USA is delayed, don’t panic, airlines will get you on next available flight.

There could de delay in flight that reached USA. If in  case your flight is delayed, follow these steps

  • Clear the Immigration and Customs
  • Check in your bags to next destination
  • Get the information about your next flight (if flight is different from your previous schedule)
  • Find a phone to call and inform the people who is going to pick you from the airport.

Booking Flight Tickets

JFK – Security Check Point – Image By Flickr dougletterman

In the above post, read the comments posted by Vijay. His travel agent misspelled his first name. Make sue such mistakes doesn’t happen when you book the flight tickets to USA.

After Port of Entry and Clearing US Immigration

  • Clearing the immigration is the first step you will do after entering USA.
  • Immigration officer will stamp your passport, write D/S in your I-20. D/S – Duration of Stay.
  • Stamp your Customs Form.
  • Then collect your checked-in suitcases.
  • Walk to Customs Officer, give the customs form.
  • Customs officer will ask you of you are carrying any food items, tobacco or similar stuffs.
  • After you clear the Customs, you are officially in USA.
  • Next, you have to check-in your bags to final destination.
  • Go to counter of that specific connecting airline. For instance, you will be flying in British Airways from India till New York. Then connecting flight will be American Airlines or Delta (or others)
  • Go to their kiosk and check in your bags.
  • Sometimes, they will give new boarding pass (or you might already have the boarding pass)

Now, you are all set to reach final destinations. for example, you are in New York (JFK). I think International Terminal is #3. After you walk out of customs, to your left side, you will see the counter to check-in your bags to final destination.

Next, you will have to go to other terminal to catch the next flight (via AirTrain). So, when you check the bags, ask the airline agent, which terminal you have to go to catch the connecting flight.

In my case, I had to go to Terminal 8. Took about 20 minutes to go from Terminal 3 to 8.

At Terminal 8, you will have to clear the security. Essentially when you walked out of Terminal 3, you are outside secured area. So, you will have to go through the security to get into Terminal 8 (or other terminal).

Show your passport and boarding pass at security area, then go through the security check, then you are inside the terminal area. Then find the gate number, and walk to your gate.

Gate number will be on the boarding pass. Also, check the Departure Monitor on the airport for right time and gate number. Gate number could change.

Long Security Queue

If you are getting late to the connecting flight and there can be long queue in security area. In such case, request the TSA security agent to get you in front of the queue.

Clear the security check. Walk to your gate and board the flight to final destination.

Hope, I have explained port of entry process in detail compared to previous post. If you have additional question, post the questions below.

Related : 25 Air Travel Tips From India to USA


  1. Balawant on August 11, 2017 at 9:19 PM


    We will be travelling through Newark, EWR and we have long overlay at EWR. Whether we will be allowed to leave terminal after we check in bags for next flight? This way, we may be able to meet with friends in Newark and importantly kill time.


  2. Seamus on July 3, 2017 at 10:50 PM

    My first Port of entry will be in Atlanta then will connect to Denver. Is it possible to collect all my luggage in Atlanta and then Change my final destination to Miami instead of Denver…What do l do???

  3. Sujana on June 3, 2017 at 12:03 AM

    Hi I had a flight from Kathmandu Nepal to Dubai to Seattle to Denver. But the person in Kathmandu airport put the baggage final destination as Seattle which I didn’t have any attention in. And when I reached Seattle I did all my costumes and baggage and went for my connecting flight and came to Denver but couldn’t get my luggage. I didn’t pay attention becoz it was my first international flight. Now what can I do to get my luggage back.

    • Raghu on June 4, 2017 at 8:06 AM

      Your airline should fix this. Did you talk to them?

  4. Sandeep on November 28, 2016 at 4:33 AM

    I have a connecting flight in about two and half hours at the port of entry.Will the time be sufficient for clearing the Immigration process at Philadelphia – the port of entry ?

    • Raghu on November 28, 2016 at 5:34 PM

      That should be sufficient.

  5. SHRUTI on October 11, 2016 at 1:02 AM

    Thanks Yash. Your blog served my purpose.

  6. Achal Shah on July 23, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    if i am coming from mumbai canada to Usa ..where will be my customs conducted.. planning to fly from mumbai to Milwaukee, WI but i have a halt of 7 hours in ON, Canada..will there be customs n immigration

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 23, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      It can be in Canada or MI depending on how customs is setup. But, it shouldn’t be any issues for you.

  7. Bala on July 10, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    Can u bring ext hard drives with movies and songs? Will they be checked and asked for piracy?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Don’t bring Hard Drive. You could be asked to throw it away.

      • aamir on July 30, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        Dude are you sure they would ask you to throw the harddrive away?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on July 31, 2014 at 8:39 AM

          From TSA Official Blog : Electronic devices are already screened daily, but now, security officers might ask that you power up your devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft, so itโ€™s important to have them charged prior to going through security.

  8. santosh on March 4, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    y son is going to boston by continental airlines from mumbai.his first destination is newark international airport where he have only 1hr15minutes to next flight ( continental airlines).i want to ask that his immigration check will be at newark or boston? if it is at newark than 1hr 15 minutes will be sufficient? if not he will miss his flight to boston than what to do? please give me answer as he is flying on 8th march

  9. Subham on October 25, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    In JFK..I think the terminal number varies according to the airlines…Air India, for example is at Terminal 4. There is free AirTrain between all the terminals (also the same airtrain goes outside into New York City..bu for that, u need to pay $5…airtrain is free only between terminals of the airport.
    Also, u have to BUY a trolley for collecting suitcases..costs 5$.
    (this comment I guess is a bit irrelevant to the post…but since it mentions Airtrain and switiching terminals, I thought it would be OK to post ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  10. Vamsi on October 24, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Hi Yash,

    Request you to put the same article in your own words for our better understanding ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. raiaan on October 24, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Learn english dude!!!!>yash garg

  12. yash garg on October 24, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    frankly speaking i didn’t understand a single step…..

    • prathamesh on October 24, 2011 at 11:04 AM

      this is strange, if Mr Yash can t understand this how is he going to understand the us visa procedure, or other details whn he is in usa. strange!!!!!!!

    • Suresh on October 24, 2011 at 11:44 AM

      If you did not understand a single step then you do not deserve to study in any University even in India leave alone in USA.


    • bharath on October 28, 2011 at 6:24 PM


      Actually the article is written so complicated …

      Let me say 3 simple steps of what it says…

      1. Complete your formalities as required at the first air port at USA (called the port of entry)
      immigration checks
      baggage collection
      customs check

      and even if you are missing the next flight from tr, due to security checks , immigration checks etc. DON T PANIC (its a common thing here ๐Ÿ™‚ )

      2. If you missed , Go to your next flight counter/Help desk and inform them that you missed the flight , so they will give you the details of your next flight.

      3.You will give new boarding pass , with new time ,fight NO and terminal no etc.
      check the details, and proceed to boarding.

      4. If you are not sure where the nxt terminal is….. seek assistance, they are very helpful.

      Rest all the details written are the detailed description of what goes on,just follow instructions time to time,as you receive them.

      I think only thing left in the article is if the author had written the details of length of the airport ,no of counters , no of ppl checking ,,,,, all that data is not required rite!!


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