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Six ways to cruise through customs and immigration

female traveller texting at airport check-in desk
female traveller texting at airport check-in desk

For most of us, a trip through customs and immigration can be dreary and intimidating. To make your journey through this process less stressful, here are some valuable tips.

Understand the difference between customs and immigration – Customs will question you about what you are carrying on you. For example, items like food from another country. While immigration will question you about your citizen status, why you are visiting a country and what you will be doing during your visit.

Figure out what happens to your luggage during your connections – If you are booking a flight online or through a travel agent, find out if your luggage will be interlined through your connecting flights. This will let you know how much time you will need to board your next flight.

Get a seat near the front of the plane – The sooner you get off the plane, the shorter the customs and immigration lines will be.

Have a pen handy – Filling out your customs forms in the immigration hall can be troublesome. Instead, fill your forms early or on the plane before you land.

Don’t forget to note your purchases – Make a note of souvenirs and gifts you have purchased. You can look at a sample of a US declaration form to give you an idea of what to include.

Be aware it is a 2 – 3 stage process – Remember that the entire process will involve the following and will require your patience.

Get off plane

Go through immigration/passport control

Go to baggage claim, get your bags

Go through customs

Check back in for your next flight if you are connecting


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