What To Expect at the US Border

What To Expect at the US Border

The EVUS visa is a special electronic program for Chinese nationals who have business links in the US. The EVUS application form is simple and allows them to enter the US multiple times over a 10 year period. Even though you will have previously filled in information about your trip before departure, you will still be interviewed when entering the US.

So you’ve got your EVUS visa processed and you’re headed for the United States, then what? Well, just take a minute to prepare yourself for that unavoidable interview with a CBP officer. The CBP is the Customs and Border Protection Agency. The officers interview all foreign nationals attempting to enter the US. The tone of the interview is serious as they are trained to be suspicious.

You must answer the questions yourself, someone accompanying you cannot answer for you. They could, in theory, ask you any question but below are some of the most common port of entry routine questions.

Most Common Questions at US Customs

Here is a list of some of the most common questions that the CBP officers ask people entering the US on EVUS, together with useful advice:

  • Where do you intend to travel? You will need to give the officer details of your itinerary and may be asked to show tickets and reservations to back this up.

  • What brings you to the US? This is simply to establish that the reason for your visit as stated in your EVUS application is accurate. Remember that your luggage could be checked (without your permission) and so make sure nothing you are carrying contradicts your response. For example, if you are on vacation and then the officer finds a stack of CVs then this is suspicious.

  • Have you visited the US before? Did you overstay? Part of the aim of EVUS is to keep track of visits. You will be expected to give details of the previous times you have entered the US on your EVUS and the officer will want to establish that these preceding visits did not breach the terms, such as by staying for more than 6 months.

  • When will you be returning home? Remember that your EVUS visa only allows you to remain in the US for a maximum of 6 months per visit. You will, therefore, be expected to give a return date less than 6 months away.

  • What job do you do back in China? This is to make sure that you have a career to return to in your country and that you have not come to the US in search of permanent employment.

  • What is your itinerary? The EVUS is designed for people who have specific business objectives in the US. By asking you for details about your plans, the officer can make sure that this is the case.

  • How often do you come to the US? This is to check whether your travel patterns are consistent with the EVUS visa criteria and the frequency and length of your stays are not cause for concern.

Other Things to Remember at the US Border

Here are some other things which you should keep in mind on arrival:

  • The officers may search your luggage without your permission. Be careful what you are bringing into the US. Make sure that you have not packed any illegal items. This covers obvious things such as firearms but also less obvious items such as certain types of fruit or meat, such as dried meats or citrus fruit. As mentioned above, also be careful that nothing in your luggage contradicts what you have told the CBP officer. Another example would be excessive luggage if you have said that you are only intending to spend a few days in the US.

  • You can bring as much money as you like into the US, but if the amount is more than $10,000 then you will need to declare it. As with the previous point, the amount of money you are bringing should not contradict the stated purpose of your visit. If the amount is excessive for the length of time you are staying and what you have said you are going to do then this could cause concern for the officer.

  • You must answer the questions yourself and cannot use a lawyer or other representative.

Your interview on arrival at the US is nothing to worry about. The officer is not looking to deny you permission to enter and is just doing their job. Just answer the questions as fully and truthfully as you can and you will be fine and ready to enjoy your stay in the US.

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