Entering the United States, how are the CPB officers? Is it a breeze, or will they be angry?

Hi, I'm travelling to America for the first time in a month or so. I'm a British national and just wondering what to expect when I land i.e the questions and customs etc.. google isn't much help on this subject as I would like it to be, my family who have been there a few times before have conflicting answers also. My Brother says I'll be aggro'd and basically interrogated where as my Mum says it's a breeze and they'll just let me through???? I want to see my Girlfriend so it makes me all the more nervous, will I get through???? Lol, just what do I expect.. don't wanna get sent home (probably over reacting but it's nice to have things cleared up) My Brother resides in the USA also but there isn't much contact between us since he has a family and career going, he'll also be in the UK while I'm away.

I appreciate any input and advice, thanks

Top Answer:

Clearing customs anywhere is a bit of a crap shoot. Unless you either scream "SEARCH MY stuff I AM AN ONVIOUS SMUGGLER, " --OR -- get randomly selected for a search, you just get waved through. If you get searched, you do not want to be smuggling stuff or bringing illegal stuff into the country. If you are not, then I just takes 15 minutes or so extra time for them to look through your stuff. (Googleing what is allowed will take you a few minutes.)

Answer question honestly, remain calm and freiendly, don't give them reason to decide you must be hiding something they haven't found yet.

Customs is a breeze 15 times out of a hundred and only a minor nuisance the other few times, unless you have contraband.

Note that is separate from clearing passport control and immigration. Here, they will examine your passport and any associated paperwork ( visa, which as a Brit you won't need, and ESTA paperwork, which last I looked you WILL need -- Google that stuff and get it done. If you have a return ticket, my impression is that they learn this from the airline and don't bother you about it. If not they may ask about how you plan to go home and ask you to demonstrate that you have the means to get a ticket home. You will need to note down an address where you will be staying while in the country -- you don't need every place you will stay for the whole trip, just an address where you will be at some point. They will ask purpose of your visit, 'I'm going to visit a friend, so a little sightseeing just visit," is fine.

Remain friendly but don't tell funny jokes like "I am here to blow up stuff and kill people, hur hur hur. Allah snackbar, mate."

In general, don't smuggle stuff or act like a douche, you'll be fine.

Other Answers:

Currently in the same position as him. Visiting USA for three months from October through to the New Year. Spent an age reading up on the whole customs lark.

As a British national you can apply for something called an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) which gives us 90 days VISA free in the USA.

You ARE NOT required to bring your ESTA paperwork with you to the Immigration Control people, however the website recommends that you do. (The application and necessary information is held on the website regardless)

You will have to fill in a Customs form on the plane. I can't remember what's it called, but it'll be in plain sight.

As far as the customs questions etc are concerned, I was speaking to my father who has regularly traveled to and through the USA for work. The questions he was asked were "What is the purpose of your visit", "How long is your visit", "How much money do you have with you" (If you bring over $10000 you MUST declare it, and they will also require evidence that you will be leaving the USA before the 90 days is up.

In regards to your brother saying you'll get "interrogated", that's a load of stuff. Just don't act like a shifty bastard, don't try and smuggle stuff in. You'll be fine.

Do they ask for proof that you're leaving the UK even if you're American?

You'll fill out a customs declaration while on the plane, nothing to it, you'll have nothing to declare (right?). Just don't lie. You'll arrive at the International terminal and go through immigration first, they'll ask you what is the purpose of your visit, and as long as you don't spill your spaghetti, they'll stamp you in (30 day visa free I think). You pick up your bags at baggage claim, then go through customs. I don't remember if everyone's bags get scanned or only some. As long as the bomb you're carrying doesn't look too big or you aren't missing your mandatory gun, you're out. Each CBP officer is different, but they're professional and shouldn't hassel you unless you give them reason to.

Be honest
I have a dangerous driving offence to my name for literally manoeuvring around some cones on the road, in August 2015 but the court was heard on the 5th May this year and that's when it was put to my name. Do I mention this or not? I surrendered my licence at the same time to make it look better.

Did you do time? Do you have your license back? Do not mention it unless asked, if asked minimize it -- "I drove around some cones once and got a citation." You should be fine, that does not sound like the kind of thing they worry about, which are mostly violent crimes and crimes of "moral turpitude."

The US and Canada share access to each other's criminal files online, which can mean stuff like that saws up for us and them when crossing the border, and can give the officers something to hassle you bout if they are bored. They do not have British traffic court records at their finger tips, but can go to the trouble of getting them if you make yourself seem sketchy enough. So don't do that.

No, no time. Just a court decision to charge me for dangerous driving and a fine. Thanks for your reply and everyone else, I appreciate it all.

Yeah, don't volunteer that. Just answer the questions in as few words as possible.

You're gonna screw this up, aren't you?

I hate to interrupt this thread but I'm an American traveling to the UK one way, didn't buy a one way ticket because I don't have a definite return date since I'm planning on traveling all across Europe
Is this going to be a problem?
I keep hearing how they want you to have proof that you can fund your vacation and how no round trip ticket might set off alarms but I'm no third worlder
What's the best way to enter the UK hassle free?
My base will be England since I have a friend who lives there
Advice? Tips?

they will not refuse entry over that.

Over not having a round trip ticket?
I was wondering if I should take 10k in cash as proof, I was planning on leaving it in the US and accessing my money through partners of my US bank, which remind to ask what's the best bank to do that sort of thing with? Don't want to be raped by fees
I'd rather not carry that much cash

You sound exactly the type to overtalk. No one wants illegal immigration, so act like the tourist you are without as little detail as possible, not someone would overstay, and there ya go. (Protip, you should have a return ticket, and not be broke. You're staying with a friend, not a girlfriend, because obviously that looks suspicious as hell, you two being committed and all, yet live in different countries.....)

You're staying with a friend, not a girlfriend, because obviously that looks suspicious as hell, you two being committed and all, yet live in different countries.

You'll get leeway, beong a brit, but what the above person said is a red flag. Not because LDRs are suspicious, but because people are more likely to overstay if try have an international LDR. The USA has a separate visa for fiancés, but this is usually a bigger flag for third worlders who don't get visa on arrival. They often will be forced to apply for the fiancé visa

I've smuggled some minor stuff out of france, never had any trouble. Just wrapped it in my shirt in my luggage, never hassled once

While the process is longer and admittedly hotter than European customs, its really just additional questions and papers. They're not gonna stop you

get off the plane
walk up to customs
"hi i'm british and visiting the greatest country on earth"
customs officer tosses you a 6 pack of budweiser, marlboro reds, and an M-16

What's the weather like in Chicago around October-November? I'm in a massive debate with myself with what kinda clothes to pack. America is hot as balls right?

October average high of 17 low of 8.
November average high of 9 low of 1.

In rest of the world units.

Pretty chilly dayo. You don't know much about the US, do you?

America likes cheese and engages super patriotic freedom mode whenever they see someone in the army.

My knowledge stops there.

Army vet living downtown Chicago here. I lol'ed because of how awkwardly true that is. Anyway, Chitown doesn't become a frozen hellscape of icy madness until about February. It will be really chilly in November though, so bring a couple pair of jeans, some thermal tees to go under button downs with light jacket when you're feeling stylish, and hoodies and light jacket over hoodie when you dont care. Also, welcome to Chicago! It's the best city in this country by a long shot. Everyone is super nice like Canadians, and we have food that will make you want to never go back to the UK. It will also make you fat.

Go Bears

November in Chicago is probably going to have lows around freezing and a bit of snow. But record high is 27'C and record low is -19'C, so no one can say for sure...

Customs should be fine, don't be a drug smuggler, money launderer or terrorist. Or make jokes about being one. Just be a tourist on a visit.

Oh and learn to recognize the bad parts of town. Chicago can be a rough city, but most likely you'll never go near any of those areas.

You're fine, every American except the stuffposters on /int/ love Brits you'll be as welcome as a Canadian

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