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I’m from Australia, travelling to Chile and Colombia, then off to San Juan Puerto Rico for a few days. From there, flying straight back to Aus via Dallas.

Do I complete all my immigration requirements in PR? Or will I have to do that in Dallas? Am asking because it’s a short layover in Dallas and not sure I’ll have time if I have to go through immigration.

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    Does this answer your question? Is Puerto Rico domestic or international from the USA? Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 13:25
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    The US doesn't have exit immigration checks, so you won't have any "immigration requirements" in either airport
    – Midavalo
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 13:35
  • Might be useful dfwairport.com/explore/plan/connect
    – Traveller
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 14:55
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    The question being linked as a duplicate doesn't in any way actually answer the OPs question. Their concern is the short layover in DFW. Knowing that PR->TX is a domestic flight with no immigration doesn't answer this question at all, and potentially (in their mind) makes things worse as it implies (incorrectly) that they DO need to go through immigration in Dallas.
    – Doc
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 17:17

3 Answers 3

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For the purposes of customs & immigration, Puerto Rico is treated the same as any other part of the United States. So:

  • Assuming you are flying non-stop from Colombia to Puerto Rico, you will go through entry immigration in San Juan. (If, on the other hand, you're connecting through Miami or somewhere else in the United States, you'll clear US immigration there, and then proceed to San Juan on what will effectively be a domestic flight.)
  • The flight from San Juan to Dallas will be a domestic flight, and will not involve talking to any customs or immigration agents. Most likely, the airline check-in agents will verify that your Australian passport is valid; but as far as international travel formalities go, that will be it. There is, however, a US internal agricultural inspection that you will have to pass before you get on the plane; the link above describes what's allowed and what's not, but the easiest way to avoid problems there is to not bring any fresh fruits, vegetables, or meats with you (cooked products are usually OK.)
  • The United States does not have exit immigration controls, so you will not need to talk to any US Customs or Immigration officials there either. You'll simply get off the flight from San Juan, proceed through the airport to the gate for your flight to Australia (maybe switching terminals in the process), and board that flight.
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    Whilst it's correct there is no customs check at SJU airport, there IS an agricultural check, run by the USDA. All checked bags need to be checked, and all plants/animal/food items need to be declared.
    – Doc
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 17:15
  • @Doc: Thanks for the info! I've edited the answer to include that. Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 18:28
  • So, in other words, “You will go through entry customs and immigration at your first airport in the United States. Such US airports include Miami, San Juan, and Dallas, for example.” Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 9:19
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    @MichaelSeifert There are often spot-checks by CBP when boarding flights SJU -> US mainland, mainly targeted at Dominicans and Haitians having illegally sneaked into Puerto Rico
    – Crazydre
    Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 13:03
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Puerto Rico is part of the US. A flight between Dallas is a domestic flight as it starts and ends in the US and thus does not have any immigration checks.

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    The US doesn't have exit immigration checks on international flights anyway
    – Midavalo
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 13:34
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    This answer doesn't address the most important part of the question - where does the OP pass through immigration, and do they do that in PR or DFW. (The answer, as Midavalo states, is 'nowhere')
    – Doc
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 14:47
  • @Doc You definitely do have to complete (entrance) immigration checks for the US sometime between departing Colombia and arriving in Dallas (i.e. "nowhere" isn't the answer). You may not need to do them specifically for the PR/Dallas flight, but that's just because you did them several days earlier when you landed in PR.
    – R.M.
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 12:37
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    @R.M. The OP is clearly asking about exit immigration.
    – Doc
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 14:21
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    @Doc I don't think that's clear at all, it could quite easily be read as be concerned about clearing entry immigration in Dallas before connecting internationally (since the US doesn't have sterile transit). Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 17:17
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Puerto Rico is part of the US, so travelling from San Juan to Dallas is not considered an international flight. But there is an internal immigration checkpoint whenever travelling from Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, or the CNMI to the 50 states or DC (and only in that direction). That checkpoint is at departure, so you don't need to worry about going through immigration in Dallas.

At the checkpoint, travellers who are not US citizens must establish admissibility to the US. I assume that as an Australian citizen, you will travel to the US using the Visa Waiver Program. In that case, when you depart from Puerto Rico, the fact that you have a sufficient amount of time remaining in your 90 days of VWP admission will be considered enough to establish admissibility.

This is relevant because individuals who are living in the US without a lawful status, if they choose to travel to Puerto Rico, might find themselves unable to travel from Puerto Rico to elsewhere in the US.

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