Homeland Security SealAfter a lengthy flight, the last thing you might need is a long line of tired motionless passengers stood in front of you as they head towards the immigration officer’s desk.
If you act responsibly, have the correct documentation, you will soon be picking up your baggage.
If however, you get a little irritable, there’s a very real risk of joining your plane for a very quick return home!

While excited, tired and perhaps irritable travellers pass through airport security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers have a very tough job.

They take their role seriously, with very good reason!
Our guide will help you through the tiring process without a hitch.
Homeland Security – The First Impressions of America
Before we look at the best way to sail through immigration, let’s just think about why those stern faced officials rarely break out into vacation chat and laughter.
Simply put, this checkpoint is the one and only opportunity to prevent entry to any passenger that is intent on causing damage to the nation.
Homeland Security (and that particular officer) bears the personal burden if they allow illegal passage through their borders.
They will truly appreciate you having the correct documentation and full co-operation during entry into the United States.
Travel Documentation is Everything!  Make sure it is Correct!
Appropriate travel documentation is essential.  Without it, you will not be offered free passage into the United States.
All travellers should seek advice from the booking agent or consul before travelling.
Documentation varies, dependent upon the traveller’s nationality.
Check out the Dept of Homeland Security’s Web Guide for travel documentation;
Dept of Homeland Security – Crossing US Borders – Guide
Example documentation requirements may include;
  • Valid e-Passport with at least 6 months still remaning
  • A valid Esta or Visa
  • Accommodation address for your stay in the USA
  • Completed Customs Declaration Form (Usually provided by Cabin Crew)
Refusal of Entry into the USA
Entry into the USA is not automatic, even if you possess the correct documentation.
Entry is purely at the discretion of the immigration officers at the border control point.
The most common reason for refusal may be due to behavioural issues on the plane or immigration holding area.  Guests that are heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol may also be refused entry.
If refused entry, you will be held ‘airside’ until the first available flight back to your original point of departure.
Most often than not, this will be the ‘turnaround’ flight for the actual plane that brought you to the USA.
Travellers should be aware that full planes may mean an uncomfortable wait for further flights if that plane is without spare seats.
If however, you have committed a crime against during your journey or have been refused entry through illegal means such as document forgery or disorderly behaviour, you may be arrested on US soil and detained by the US authorities pending prosecution and deportation.
Top Tips for Clearing Immigration at Orlando International Airport
  1. Get through sooner if your seat is near the front of the aircraft!
  2. Ensure all documentation is valid and ready for inspection
  3. Never drink excessively, before or during your flight
  4. Be polite and helpful to all staff during the immigration process
  5. Do not make any ‘jokes’ about drugs/bombs etc you WILL be arrested!
  6. Ensure that you are not bringing fruit/vegetables/dairy or other prohibited products
  7. Ensure that weapons are not in your baggage
  8. Be patient, there’s no alternative.  The line is long, but it does move steadily.
  9. Ensure kids behave well, tired passengers arguing will cause delays if staff intervene.
  10. Finally, never ever argue with staff or try to give them a piece of your mind!
    You may simply be sent to the back of the line to cool off, or worse still, refused entry!
  11. Ensure that you are not carrying any prohibited or restricted items.
  12. If you have young kids with you, it pays for one adult to leave the line and make a restroom stop well before you reach the front.
  13. Take a few small treats and bottled water to help the wait.  Don’t drink too much or nature may call just as you need it least!
Our final thoughts on clearing Immigration!
Our guide makes the whole process of immigration seem very serious.
That is no error on our part.
We sympathise with tired guests, desperately trying to reach their dream destination, but without the rigorous immigration systems, America would not be the safe place that it is today.
Over recent years, the staff have worked hard to be more welcoming towards visitors and that is greatly appreciated by regular travellers.
One fact always remains; this isn’t an easy job and the staff are determined to ensure that the Orlando airports are safe borders for the benefit of US citizens and legitimate visitors alike.
Other Articles you may be interested in:
 
Link to official guidance on restricted and prohibited items
Our Blog article about the travel industry lobbying to improve immigration delays!