This is my first time traveling by myself. I'm aware that I have to go through Immigration the moment I set foot in the United States, but the State I arrive in is just a stop. Do I have to go through security at the airport at my destination?

Also, when I'm leaving, do I have to do it again? I have two stops before I leave the USA.

my country > DFW > PIT
PIT > ORD > DFW > my country

  • The TSA is the security screening before you get on to the plane. When arriving in the US you'll pass through Immigration. Not the same thing.
    – brhans
    Jan 16, 2018 at 18:41
  • ok sorry for the mistake, so, do I have to pass through immigration on each stop?
    – Frodo
    Jan 16, 2018 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


Entering the United States, you'll go through immigration and then TSA security when you arrive at DFW (unless you are coming from a Preclearence airport, where you'll go through US immigration and customs before you fly).

Arriving at DFW on your way in, you'll go through immigration, baggage claim (where you must pick up any checked luggage), customs, baggage-drop off (where you'll return any checked luggage for your next flight), and security before heading to your gate for the flight to Pittsburgh.

Leaving the US, you will not have to pass through immigration at all, and would only have to go through security at your first airport unless you need to change terminals and the airport in question doesn't have a way to do that within the secure area. In your case, you will not need to go through security again while leaving, as DFW and ORD allow you to move between terminals without exiting the secure area (setting aside ORD's terminal 5 bus situation, which won't apply here).

In short:

  • On your way into the US: immigration, customs, and security at DFW, nothing at PIT
  • On your way out of the US: security at PIT, nothing at ORD or DFW

First you will pass security in your home country. When you land in the US for the first time, you will do immigration. Depending on the airport layout, this sometimes forces you to leave the secure area as you also must pick up your suitcase to take it through customs. In such case, you will need to come back into the secure area and therefore go through security before boarding your next flight.

Some airports let you go through immigration and customs at once and remain within the secure area and so there will not be another security checkpoint. It has been a while since I've been to DFW but I think you will have to exit and go through security to get back in.

On your return journey, you will go through security only once, at your starting city (PIT). When you arrive in DFW, you will be able to transfer to your gate using the SkyTrain which moves between the different terminals within the secure area.

  • "Some airports let you go through immigration and customs at once and remain within the secure area and so there will not be another security checkpoint." The US got rid of that shortly after 9/11. Apart from pre-clearance flights (where immigration is done in the foreign country too), you always have to go through security as a connecting international arrival in the US. Even NZ1/NZ2 through-passengers still go through security during their brief stop in LAX.
    – Calchas
    Jan 16, 2018 at 20:50
  • It seems to be that I did this on an International-to-International trip via Atlanta in the last few years and not from a preclearance airport.
    – Itai
    Jan 17, 2018 at 5:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .