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List of US Port of Entry Questions, Interview by CBP Officer

If you travel to the US, your first entry point into America is called the Port of Entry (PoE). As part of arrival into the US, all the travelers go through port of entry procedures. During the US port of entry process, a Customs and Border Protection(CBP) officer asks some questions related to the travel to the US. This is mainly to check and validate your travel intent and verify your purpose of travel. In this article, we will review some of the common questions asked and the reason on why they are asked.

US Visa vs. CBP Officer Interview at a US Port of Entry

The US Visa issued at a US Consulate or Embassy only allows you to arrive at the US port of entry(POE); it does not grant you automatic entry into the US. The valid US Visa in your passport is an entry document you can show at the port of entry and request entry to the US.

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As a traveler, it is your responsibility to convince the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer by answering the relevant questions asked by them properly and convincing them to allow you to enter the US. If the CBP officer is not convinced, they may deny your entry and send you back to your home country.

What does CBP Officer want to validate at the US Port of Entry?

The CBP officer’s questions at the US port of entry are primarily targeted to verify the below details related to the person entering America.

  • Identity of Person: The CBP officer’s primary intent is to validate if you are the same person who applied for a US visa, and confirm your personal details like name, date of birth, nationality, and verify your fingerprints.
  • Purpose and Intent of Entry: They also want to verify the purpose of your travel to the US and your intent. They may ask questions to validate your purpose and intent. You need to answer properly so that the CBP officer can if your purpose and intent is in-line with your US Visa.
  • US Visa Supporting Documents: The CBP officer wants to ensure, you have all the supporting documents related to your US visa, and they are genuine. They may ask for documents related to your visa to validate the same.
  • Detect Fraud, and National Security Threats: The CBP officers also want to verify, if there is any fraud involved in the overall process of the US visa, if documents are genuine, or if there are any security threats related to the individual entering the US. These could be any intelligence reports they have regarding you and validating the same.

25 Common Questions asked by CBP Officers at US Port of Entry

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions at a US port of entry by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. These are not specific to a visa type and are very generic:

  1. What is the purpose of your travel to America?
  2. Why are you visiting or entering USA?
  3. Where are you staying in the US?
  4. How long is your duration of stay in the US?
  5. Where do you plan to stay in the US?
  6. How often do you travel to America?
  7. When was the last time you visited the US?
  8. What was your last US visit regarding?
  9. Please give me a copy of your Hotel reservation.
  10. What do you do in your home country?
  11. What is your primary job or occupation?
  12. How will you support your travel in the US?
  13. How much money are you carrying in Cash or travelers’ checks?
  14. Where is your next destination after the US?
  15. When do you plan to return to your residence country?
  16. Where do you live currently in your country of residence?
  17. Do you have any friends in USA?
  18. Do you plans to stay with your friends in America? If so, how long?
  19. Can you share details of your contacts in the US?
  20. What do you plan to do in the US during your stay?
  21. Do you have a return flight ticket to your home country from the US?
  22. Do you plan to work during your travel in the US?
  23. Did you travel to any African countries recently? What was your purpose
  24. Do you have anything to declare that you are bringing to America ?
  25. Why are you landing in this city, when your destination is another city ?

The questions at Port of Entry(PoE) vary by the visa type you are entering with. You can check US Port of Entry Experiences Tracker

What is Secondary Inspection at the US Port of Entry?

If the CBP Officer is not convinced with the answers to the questions or they sense something wrong due to some flags raised in their system, then you may be subject to additional screening, which is called as secondary inspection. When they take you to a secondary inspection, you may be asked to accompany them to a separate room, where they will do the secondary inspection.

During secondary inspection, they may check all your belongings and ask you more in-depth questions. They can ask you to show electronics, data, ask you to open any app and share details in them as needed. It can take an hour to few hours for a secondary inspection.

What was your experience at the US Port of entry? Share your questions asked.


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