Me and my friend are coming to the states from Feb the 1st to April the 11th, so two and a half months, to travel, we are 23 and 22 years old, male and female.
We are just wondering about US immigration, i have been to FL once before for a two week holiday (FL is where were starting and flying back home from), and i remember standing in the immigration queue for about 3 hours, then had like a little 15 minute "interview" with the guy, asking me lots of questions etc etc, you know how it is.....
My friend has never been to the states, or anywhere.
Well, this time we are going travelling, neither of us have any criminal convictions or anything (although i do have 6 points on my driving licence, for driving without car insurance, they are over 3 years old), no other convictions or anything, were clean!!
We will only have place to stay for 2-3 weeks (hotel), then we just want to go and stay where ever we want, we will also have a 60 day Amtrak rail pass, and a return plane tickets for the end of the trip.
So are basically taking $4500 each in cash, which works out at about $50 to $70 a day for the whole trip.
So i guess my question is, will we be fine getting through immigration? We both have permenant addresses back here in England, ive lived in my address for the past 15 years.
Will be ok getting through customs, right? Im sure lots of young people go travelling in the states.......
So long as you didn't violate your visa (presumedly visa waiver) then no probs. Just tell them what you're doing. You will be fingerprinted and photographed (standard) and on your way. You must also have machine readable passports, but if they are British passports and issued within the last 5-6 years then you will be fine.
The main thing they want is a contact address in the States! Make sure you can provide one, whether it is your first hotel or whatever. They need to be able to get a hold of you once you have entered (obvious reasons).
What happened when you were in Florida before, hasn't changed much. I was there in September 2006 and was waiting to get to the passport desk for about 2 hours, then you get the whole terrorist going over and treatment like you are the countries worst enemy. Like kevandshan said, you must put down an address of your first hotel/hostel. That is one of the things I can not figure out why the hell they ask for it, because unless you were only coming for a week to honeymoon in Miami or staying with a family member, you won't be staying at that address for more than a few days anyway, so it isn't an applicable address. Most RTW backpacker travellers don't even know where they are staying in a city, they just turn up and find a hostel to stay at.
America has got to the stage with their paranoia that they have probably got satellites up there high above the earth, tracking every movement of anyone who has got one of those new microchip passports in their posession. They'd be using it like a GPS navigational system, to spy on your daily movements in the place whilst you had the passport in your bag or person.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 6, 2007, at 6:31 PM by aharrold45 ]
Hey guys, thankyou.
Everything was fine last time i was in FL, the guy at immigration did treat me like i was a terrorist, in a way. But they did to everyone there.
Ok, i will make sure the 1st hotel is booked before we get there, and will have the address ready to give to them, also, i have a very good friend who lives in FL, who said i can have his details to give to them aswel, and if they call him, he will verify that i can stay at his house if i get into any trouble money wise.
But i have never been in trouble with the law anyway apart from my driving offence, so im hoping it will be ok and they will just let us through.
What is immigaration like when entering from Mexico/Canada? What happens if you are entering from the borders and are living in a campervan for example and will not have a hotel booked? Do the same immigration processes apply when coming in via the border, i.e. Fingerprints taken (i am not particularly keen on this). When you say a machine readable passport do you mean like the boimetrics type or are they similar to the traditioanl type passports (my passport was issued in 2004 i believe)?
The US/Mexico border shouldn't be any different than any other border - theoretically. Fingerprints should not be necessary, unless you have criminal convictions in Mexico maybe, in which case I don't even think you're getting into the US anyway.
The campervan idea has got to go - or at least, don't admit to it. If you're already in the van when you cross the border, an address for a campground or RV park may help.
Electronically readable passports have a "chip" in them. They look like ever other passport, except they have a little symbol on them showing that they are, indeed, machine readable. Unfortunately, I do not know whether Mexico has this technology yet and when it was implemented - I renewed my US passport last year and was surprised to hear about all this.
I think the US/Mexico border will always be stricter than, say, if you were on an international flight landing in New York. Remind the border guards that you're visiting only, have some set travel plans and a set departure date, and smile and be respectful.
For those citizens of nations considered US allies, don't feel bad if you're not treated with big welcomes and smiles by custom officers. A friend of mine, a US citizen of Pakistani descent and a Los Angeles Police officer of many years, was detained by immigration even though he had proper documents (US passport, LAPD badge) when returning from a vacation abroad. He had to call his boss to come in and explain things to the immigration.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 9, 2007, at 9:26 AM by Dezafinado ]
We are now camping in state parks, were not staying at a hotel, were camping.
Will customs still be ok with us?