It was a pleasant start of my US tour last Dec20, 2014. Flying Saudia from Riyadh to Washington DC direct. Our plane landed in Dulles at noon time were no other flights landed made immigration clearance quicker and smoother. CBP officer was nice and welcoming. As a first timer in the states and reading all those negative experiences arriving in the US airports from other blogs, the CBP officer really made me feel I am welcome in the USA. The CBP asked me the following:
– what is the purpose of your visit?
– which city did you came from?
– where are you going to stay and how long?
– do you have family or friends here?
– how much cash are you bringing in today?
I even asked him if I need to declare the dates (dried) I brought from KSA as gift for my friends as I’m aware that some food items are not allowed and may cause delay at customs. After the CBP stamped my passport with entry clearance, next is to wait for my luggage. In Riyadh it is mandatory to wrap US-bound baggage (I don’t know the real reason why) and you need to pay SR20 per bag. So claiming your bags from the carrousel when you arrive in the US is quite tricky as every bag looks the same, it is hard to identify your bag instantly. But the whole process took me less than 20mins from deplaning to exiting the airport. I had the best Christmas holiday in the US for 26 days and visited Maryland, DC, Virginia and New York. JFK was my airport of departure.