Every person who arrives to the US needs to go through Customs and Immigration checkpoint, just as you will go through the Emigration checkpoint at your country of departure. Note that there are separate lines for Greencard and US Citizens, so be sure to use them if you are eligible. It will save you time and effort compared to those travelling on other visas. The immigration officers will ask you questions about your reason for visiting the US. You must have your passport and original i20 handy at all times. Those are the 2 documents without which you will not be allowed to enter the US. For all travelling on F1 visa, the purpose of visit will be to study in the USA and you will be travelling on “Student Visa”. Keep your answers straight, simple, and direct. Never go on a rant and answer only what is asked of you without sharing any extra or supportive information to the questions. If they want more information, they will ask additional questions. For more information see the US Customs Service web site, which includes the brochure Customs Guidelines for Visitors to the United States. Immigration laws can also be found at the US State Department web site.
You may also be asked whether you are bringing in any food. Do not carry any perishable or unpacked items with you. It is forbidden to bring perishable foodstuffs, such as fruit, vegetables, and meat, or plants into the US. You must always say that you have ‘Packed’ food items with you. The officers will confiscate any spices, open jars, roti’s, theplas, etc. and other such items that are not factory packed upon inspection.
You will also be given a declaration form on your flight before landing into the US. If you bring in more than US$10,000 in US or foreign currency you must declare the amount on there. Always keep Forex exchange receipts handy if source of currency is asked.
For any medicines, insulin, syringes, creams, medical drugs that you carry, you must have a signed prescription from your physician with the medicine. Check the US Customs website to make sure you are not carrying any drugs that are deemed illegal by the US.
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