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Airports & Immigration for the Move to America

06 November, 2013 08:46  Erin Erin

In this series, we have followed a Brit in her quest to become an expat in America. She has recently joined her American husband in Ohio and is continuing to share tips on life abroad. At EasyExpat we try to provide you all the latest and greatest in Expat News and Resources, but sometimes a personal journey can best explain the unique challenges and triumphs involved in moving abroad. Meet Molly and follow along on her adventure in the Move to America with new posts the first Wednesday of every month.

Move to America airport As of October 4th 2013, I officially became an expat. I finally made the move from UK to USA and can now start my life with my husband after four very long years apart.

In this article, I am going to share what my experiences were of being in the airport and then arriving and going through immigration. I hope it gives anyone contemplating, or just about to make the big move, an idea of what to expect. Not everyone's experiences will be the same, but this is how it went for me …

Arriving in a US Airport as an Immigrating Expat

Upon arrival, I had to check-in with the assistance of a staff member as I had to have my visa run through their system (everyone else was using the self-service check in computers). Once I was put through the computer and my boarding pass printed, I joined the queue to have my bags checked-in and weighed.

Whilst waiting in the queue, an official checks your passport and why you are flying. Once I mentioned I was emigrating, I was asked if I had the correct visa and if I had my envelope containing the relevant paperwork. When I confirmed I did, I was asked to hand over the envelope so they could check the information attached to the envelope (there is a sheet with my photograph and various details) against the details on my visa. When this was checked and all was ok, I was allowed to continue on to have my bags checked.

The next step was going through security and waiting for the gate to be opened, which was the same for everyone travelling and no different when emigrating.

Once the flight was over I proceeded to the area where your passport gets checked, and this differed in only one respect from everyone else. I had to go through 'visitors' immigration checks  (having digital photograph and fingerprints taken), and then join another queue to get processed as an incoming migrant.

I was seen fairly quickly and had to hand over my passport and envelope containing the documentation I was required to submit upon entry (you are not allowed to open this envelope and doing so will invalidate your visa). My paperwork was checked briefly by a very professional, friendly and efficient border official and a fingerprint was taken and a form filled out (for my green card). The official checked my husband's details with me (phone number and address) and then stamped my passport.

It did not take too long as they were really checking the information. I was told my passport acts as my ID and green card until I receive the actual card (no time frame was given for this) and I was welcomed into America!

I went to pick up my bags, went through customs and went to meet my husband in the arrivals lounge. I was so relieved it was an efficient process for me, as my husband and I have been waiting so long to be together it was nice this part of the process was relatively smooth.

Thank you for reading my first expat experiences, I hope you have found them useful. If you want to follow along or read more about how I continue to adjust to life in the USA , you can visit my blog, themovetoamerica.wordpress.com.

For more from Molly and her move to America, follow our series on Moving Abroad. Find other expat bloggers in the US or abroad in the BlogExpat Directory and find the best advice for you to move abroad in our comprehensive Expat City Guides.

 

   



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