There is recent news that there is an interview process added for people coming to the USA from other countries.

I am a student studying in the USA. I am going to India in December for vacation and coming back in January. When I come back, what should I expect?

2 Answers 2


These questions are not extra "customs and immigration" interviews when you get to the US. They are extra questions by the airline before you board your flight to the US, and they apply to everyone coming to the US regardless of their citizenship.

There seems to be some confusion around whether everyone needs to be interviewed and exactly what they're asked. Here are articles from a Canadian TV Network, and Time USA.

They don't seem super onerous: did you pack your bags yourself, are you carrying anything for someone else, that sort of thing. But it seems to vary around the world in these first few days of the new setup.

  • 6
    I experienced this kind of interview in June 2015 when flying Delta from Zurich to New York, so not something new
    – Crazydre
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 23:43
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    I experienced this kind of interview already 15 years ago when flying to the USA from Argentina, so I'm surprised this is news. Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 2:04
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    @Crazydre Until recently only the US carriers did this. If you purchased your ticket on Air France or Swiss you would not have had an interview.
    – Calchas
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 2:32
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    I was questioned like this in 2002 in Amsterdam before flying to Boston.
    – user4188
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 7:43
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    "Did you pack your bags yourself" and "are you carrying anything for anyone else" are stock questions domestic in-USA travelers get asked by TSA, and have since 2001. It's part to educate "don't let strangers mess with your bags"... and if there is contraband, to snare you and deny you any "I didn't know that was there" defense. Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 16:18

The questions asked of travelers coming to the United States are not new. These questions began appearing to help curtail plane hijackings and smugglings that were happening in the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. I've been asked questions about who packed my bags, did I visit a farm, how long was I gone, where did I stay, and where will I stay in the U.S., etc. for decades whenever going back and forth to Canada. I remember the first time I heard them when returning from Europe (London) was in 1990. (The questions in London included asking if I was carrying any batteries. I said No but when I got on the plane I realized I was wearing a battery in my watch, my camera had a battery, and my toothbrush had a battery. I have to assume they knew most people don't think about what uses a battery.) For some sample questions asked of persons entering the U.S. see https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/entering-us-what-expect-airport-29797.html. This is a good explanation page.

It is a good idea to look through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website and specifically at "Know Before You Go" information. See https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/know-before-you-go so you are prepared before leaving with the proper documentation for returning with personal used items that may normally require duty and for what items can be brought back or not brought back from your travels.

Since you are a student, you should know the following information at "What travel documents and identification are required for a foreign national to enter the U.S.?" (https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/572/kw/students). "Continuing students who are going to travel outside of the United States must see their foreign student advisor and obtain an endorsement from the DSO or RO. The endorsement will be made on page 3 of the SEVIS Form I-20 or page 1 of the DS-2019. When returning to the United States, a continuing student/exchange visitor must present a valid SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019 with the DSO or RO signature showing that the student is active and in good standing with the school or program." For more information, see the "Student and Exchange Visitor Program" at https://www.ice.gov/sevis.

Have a great visit and a safe journey.

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    The farm question has nothing to do with hijacking.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 13:44
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    I didn't say it did. It is an example of one of several kinds of questions asked when entering the country. They are testing your response time and judging your honesty. When crossing the border by car once I was asked if I was bringing in a kitchen sink. I had the back of the car filled with things for the cottage. I asked why the question about the kitchen sink and he said many Americans bring a replacement sink for their cottage. The answer is the questions aren't a new process. They've been around for some time, weren't always asked, but became more prevalent after several travel incidents Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 14:21
  • Yes, but the questions you describe are asked on arrival by US customs and immigration. this question is about questions asked before departure by airline staff. There is a difference. Your last paragraph is very interesting for the OP; good work there. Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 15:34

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