Port of Entry (POE)

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A Port of Entry (POE) is an officially designated place where people enter a country legally. A port of entry can be a international airport, a road or rail crossing on a land border or a seaport. There are more than 300 ports of entry in the U.S. You can locate a port of entry at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.


In the United States, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  are responsible for border security, which includes major international airports. Both returning U.S. citizens and foreign visitors will be screened at ports of entry.  For U.S. citizens, they are automatically admitted upon verification of citizenship. For temporary visitors and immigrants, they will be interviewed and granted admission at ports of entry with required documents (passport, green card or visa). The CBP officers determine their admissibility and  how long the visitors are authorized to stay.

What happens at a port of entry?

Once you arrive at a port of entry, you will have to pass through the CBP station. The first thing you need to do is hand all your travel documents to the officer. The officer will verify your identity and travel documents and ask you a few questions about your purpose of travel. If you are admitted, they will take a picture of you and have your fingerprint scanned. Your passport will be stamped with the date of entry and duration of stay.

Wait time at land ports of entry

If you drive or walk to a Canada border port of entry or a Mexican border port of entry, check the border wait times at CBP website in advance.

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