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I will be traveling from Lima, Peru (LIM) to Los Angeles (LAX) under a B1/B2 visa and then from Los Angeles (LAX) to Bangkok, Thailand (BKK).

However, since I bought each flight separately, I am not in transit when arriving the US and that will force me to cross the border through LAX, get my bags and wait some hours to take my next flight.


I made a question about that in the past, just in case I'll share it here: Crossing US border just to take another flight and times/rules to be considered


So, after explaining this, I wonder what should I fill in the CBP form that is normally given by the airline crew and under the "Address While in the United States", "City and State" and "Telephone Number in the US Where You Can be Reached" questions since I might be in the US only for some hours.

Is it okay if I leave them blank when giving the form to the immigration officer? I ask this because one of the form instructions says "When all items are completed, present this form to the CBP Officer."


A sample CBP form can be found at:

https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/CBP%20Form%20I-94%20English%20SAMPLE_Watermark.pdf

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    "Bought separately" doesn't mean you cannot "connect" the flights. Just show all tickets at first check in, and you will probably get the baggage directly to final destination.For the second flight, maybe they can already do the check in, or you should just get to transit desk to do it. In my experiences, US custom officers will tell you that you forgot to take the baggage, just tell them that you are in international transit. – Giacomo Catenazzi Jul 24 '17 at 14:48
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    To add to what @GiacomoCatenazzi has said, you have to pick up your bags once no matter what when you land in the US, before going through customs. This is regardless of your final destination. After clearing customs and immigration, if your bags are tagged through to their next destination, there's usually a conveyor belt on the other side that you can put them on. If they're not checked all the way through (for example different airline requiring check-in in the US), this is when you would go to the transfer desk. They'll get you checked in and your bags sorted. – lc. Jul 25 '17 at 8:27
  • @lc.: no, it is not my experience (I had some travels Europe to South America and return via US airports). Baggage in international transfers doesn't need to be picked up. Just for international to national or national to international. But immigration is required anyway. Check-in counters will tell you when ether you need to collect them or no. (but if you have time, just check the belt.just in case). – Giacomo Catenazzi Jul 25 '17 at 9:34
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi Really? I was under the impression you always had to pick up your bags and clear customs with them. Maybe it depends on the airport. – lc. Jul 25 '17 at 9:44
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    @lc. See e.g. view.imirus.com/209/document/12603/page/118 : "International to International". But it seems only few airports support it. – Giacomo Catenazzi Jul 25 '17 at 12:13
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Since you're in transit, just write "in transit" for the address, and show your connecting flight's ticket if asked.

For what it's worth, this is a common scenario that immigration officers will have seen before, because the US does not recognize the idea of sterile transit: every traveller has to pass through Customs & Immigration, even if they are continuing directly onto another flight out of the country.

  • Right, for sure this might be a common scenario but my first time doing it and yeah, I didn't consider the fact that even "in-transit" travellers might go through immigration so it will be very similar then - thank you for the answer and for suggesting what to write because I had no idea. – Oscar Jara Jul 24 '17 at 2:59
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    To be clear, it's a perfectly valid question, I just meant to say that immigration officers are used to this! – jpatokal Jul 24 '17 at 3:13
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However, since I bought each flight separately, I am not in transit when arriving the US and that will force me to cross the border through LAX, get my bags and wait some hours to take my next flight.

This actually makes no difference, because in the US, everyone connecting has to clear the border, and have the relevant visas to do so. The only difference is that with seprate tickets, you can't drop the luggage at the dedicated belt before exiting customs, but have to use a regular bag drop desk.

So just write "in Transit" on the form

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