Am flying into Newark EWR from Ireland en route to Vancouver, Canada, all on United.

Will I have to clear Customs, pick up my bag and recheck it?

Will I also have to change terminals?

  • In a word, yes. – Michael Hampton Aug 8 '15 at 0:33
  • 1
    Depends. May be. May be not. Who are you flying with? Customs, bag and recheck is a definite yes. – Karlson Aug 8 '15 at 2:53

No matter where you are flying from, where you are flying to - if you are transiting in the US you will need:

  1. Visa to enter the US (if you are not already eligible).
  2. Pass through customs clearance. This means that whatever you are carrying has to be allowed to enter the US. In other words, if there are certain exceptions afforded to you at your destination country - these may not apply at the US border and your goods may be confiscated/restricted.
  3. You may have to recheck your bags if:

    a. Your flight is on two different carriers and your bags are only checked through to the US. You can know this by looking at the baggage claim ticket that the check-in agent will give you at your departure point. Even if your flight is departing from the same airport, you may have to physically re-check your bags. This means going to check-in counter where the agent will put a fresh set of tags on your bags and give you a new luggage claim stub; you may also get a different boarding pass - and you'll have to pass through security.

    b. Your connecting flight is from a different airport than your arriving flight. For example, you are landing at Dallas Fort Worth but your next flight is from Dallas Love Field. In this case you'll have to collect your bags, travel to the next airport and check-in again.

  4. If you already have your connecting US departure boarding passes and your luggage has been checked all the way through to the final destination (this usually happens if you are traveling on one airline or are on a codeshare flight - a portion of your flight is being flown on a different carrier, but under the same ticket); then you still have to collect your bags - but you just need to drop them off at the luggage counter - as your bags already have the required luggage tags for your final destination. You will still have to go through immigration and security procedures.

In all cases - for practical planning purposes, you should imagine your trip as you land in the US, enter the US, and then continue your journey - no matter where your final destination is.

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