With international travel, you'll come across customs and immigration checkpoints along your journey. These usually take place at airports upon arrival into a new country (during a layover or at your final destination), but can also take place when crossing a land border. To make this process as efficient as possible, we have some tips to share with you:
- Passport and visa: Always have your passport easily accessible at these checkpoints for a smooth experience. If your tour requires a visa (learn how to find out if you need a visa), have that information available as well.
- Checked bags: If you're checking a bag, we recommend asking an airline staff member at the check-in counter if you'll need to recollect your luggage at any point of your flight journey or if your bag will be checked through to your final destination.
- Entry forms: If your destination has a required entry form, try to complete this online in advance (if possible) or on the plane so you're prepared when you land.
- Long lines: Customs and immigration lines can be long, so we recommend making your way straight there once you've landed, especially during layovers. If you need to use the restroom, try to do this on the plane before you land.
- What to expect: Typically, customs and immigration checkpoints are handled separately. In most cases, you'll first go through immigration (this is where you may get your passport stamped). If you're at your final destination, you'll then collect any checked luggage from baggage claim and clear customs right before exiting the secured area of the airport into the arrivals hall.
Please note that every airport, airline, and country have different procedures in place for these security checkpoints. Airport and airline officials will have the most up to date information available on what you can expect during your travels.