Do the customs officers at the airport in the U.S. make you nervous? Me too. But there is no need to be. Just be prepared and calm, and use the tips in this lesson to make your experience much smoother and less stressful. Learn the words and phrases they will use when they ask you questions, and learn how to answer. If you answer incorrectly, you may be shot. Don't forget to practice with the quiz before you fly!
Hi. I'm Adam. Welcome back to www.engvid.com. Today's lesson is a little bit specialized. We're going to talk about going through customs at a U.S. airport, more specifically, at an airport.
Now, before I begin, why am I doing this lesson? Not too long ago, I flew… I had to go out of town and I had to fly through the States. I flew through Detroit, it's a big hub. In case you're ever flying through a hub, a hub is a central area where many flights come and connect to other flights. And I was in line at the customs, and ahead of me was a couple, they were tourists, I think. And I could see the panic on their faces when the custom guy… Customs guy started speaking to them and asking them questions, and they were so nervous, and they could barely speak. And the more nervous they became, the more questions they got from the customs guy. So, I want to make going through customs as easy as possible for you by giving you a few tips.
First thing you have to remember when you come to the customs guys: have all your forms completed properly. So, if you're coming into a States, you're going to be given a form, I think it's an I-94 form with all kinds of questions. Fill out everything correctly, properly. If you're not sure what something means, ask a flight attendant to help you, they will. Fill everything before you get to customs. Have all your documents; your passport, your return flight ticket. If you're going as a student, have your Visa. If you're going there to work, have your Visa, your work permit, whatever you need. All documents ready, all forms complete, ready to go.
Then the most important thing that you can do when going through customs at an U.S. airport is relax. Okay? Very important to relax. Now, one thing you will notice about American customs officers, they never ever smile. They will never smile. They are always going to look mean, and tough, and questions, questions, questions. That's their job. They're nice people. Don't think anything badly of them. They're doing their job, they want to scare you so that you give them the information that they need.
So, relax. Answer all their questions quickly and as short as possible. If they ask you a yes/no question, answer yes or no. Almost… In most cases, in 99% of the questions, don't say: "I don't know." You do know. You know everything that they're going to ask you. Yes, no, there, there, this long, that person, done. Okay.
So, they can ask you any number of questions, but here are a few of the more common questions that they might ask you. Okay? So, be prepared, answer them quickly, go on your way, enjoy your vacation in the U.S.
What is your final destination? It means: where are you going? Where is your last stop? So, if you're flying in to New York and then you're catching another flight to Kentucky, your final destination is Kentucky, not New York. So, you're going to Kentucky. If you're going to another country, so for example I was coming back to Canada. What is your final destination? Toronto. I was just flying through the U.S.
How long will you be staying in the U.S.? Again, never say: "I don't know." You do know. You have a return ticket out. If you have an open ticket, say you have… "I have a one-year open ticket. I'm not sure when I'm going to go back, but within one year." Have that ticket ready to show him or her. Okay?
How long will you be staying? Two days, a week, two weeks, whatever.
What is the purpose of your visit? Why are you here? To visit family, work or business, tourism, vacation, or transit. Okay? I was there, just transit. Transiting. I was just catching a flight to my next place, which is Canada. I was just here to transit. No problem.
Where will you be staying? Now, this is a very important question. If you are staying in the U.S., make sure you have your hotel address ready to tell the customs officer. If you're staying with a friend, have your friend's address ready to tell the customs officer. If you're staying in a dorm, if you're a student, say the name of the school, the dorm, have the address ready. Never say: "I don't know. I haven't figured it out yet." They want to know where to find you if they need to find you. Okay? Make sure you have an actual place to stay.