I will be traveling from Brisbane, Australia to Bogota, Colombia with a 4hr stopover at LAX. From what I've researched, I must pass through immigration at LAX, officially enter the USA, then leave the country again to get on my flight to Colombia. I've heard too that LAX is a very busy and large airport.

Is 4hrs enough time to go through customs and immigration, collect my luggage, find my terminal, go back through immigration again to 'leave' the country, and get to my next flight?

  • 1
    The same question as usual: are the two flights booked on a single ticket, or are they booked separately? Also, what’s your citizenship / US visa status?
    – jcaron
    Jul 28, 2018 at 9:02
  • 2
    And which airlines (or terminals)?
    – npl
    Jul 28, 2018 at 11:04
  • 4h is fine. Anything less than 2.5h is IMO not doable (as LAX is very, very crowded, and from my personal experience the immigration officers there tend to ask a lot of questions).
    – xuq01
    Jul 28, 2018 at 18:54
  • @npl as yet unknown. The trip is next year so I've not committed to any airline yet. However, almost all of them seem to do this route (the cheapest and quickest flight had the 4hr layover).
    – MeltingDog
    Jul 29, 2018 at 0:50
  • @jcaron the two flights would be a single ticket. I am an Australian citizen. I've not looked into US visas yet but I do not expect there to be any issues.
    – MeltingDog
    Jul 29, 2018 at 0:51

1 Answer 1


That should be fine, even if these are two separate tickets. I assume you are coming in with either Qantas or Virgina Australia and departing with Avianca.

You will most likely arrive at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. There you will have to clear immigration, collect your bags and then clear customs. You can find historical wait time data here: https://awt.cbp.gov/

If the whole reservation is on a single tickets and your bags have been checked through in Brisbane you can drop the bags off right after customs. In this case you should also have gotten your boarding pass to Bogota in Brisbane. You can go to Terminal three and directly walk to security and then to your gate.

If it's two separate tickets, you need to take your bags to Terminal 3 and go to the Avianca check in counter. There you would get your boarding pass and they will take your bag.

So if nothing is delayed, this should be fine. It'll probably take you an hour for immigration and customs, transfer to Terminal 3 should be quick since its close by, which would give you plenty of time to check in.

Of course, their is never a guarantee: while not likely, it is still possible that you miss your connection (delay, immigration jam, lost bags, visa troubles, et.c). If it's a single ticket, the airline will take care of you and put you on the next flight. If these are separate bookings, the second airline will consider you a "no show" and you may have to buy a whole new ticket on the spot.

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