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TSA, inmigration and Customs at Airports

Today's blog is for the First time traveler, but It can also help the Frequent Flyer, we are going to talk about the procedures on Going through TSA & Customs, both on your departure city, and arrival one.

Seguridad en los Aeropuertos

Over the past 20 years, Airport security has increased, prohibiting certain things to be transported due to the increased risk of an accident, things small as razors, or big as containers with flammable liquids are not allowed to be carried as personal items.

The first Step when flying out of the country is to get your passport ready with at least six months left in expiration, and then you need to have your paperwork ready, Boarding pass, transportation vouchers and Hotel confirmation all this documentation is imperative to be able to get authorization to enter the desired country.

Airport

Make sure to follow all the airline regulations on checking your bags on the counter, For more information about the items you can pack, please check this page and/or your airline carrier.

O

nce you've documented your suitcase, they will indicate you where to head, towards your departure gate, and here is where the info of this blog will become useful, as you will have to go through TSA.

Departure flight - Transportation Security Administration (TSA )

Transportation Security Administration at Airports

To be able to reach the airplane you have to board, you will have to comply with a security check at TSA, in the first filter, a security guard will verify your boarding pass, and a valid ID,such as Passport, drivers license, citizenship id, to avoid letting in, people who are not flying, then you'll see several lines to do a control check, these lines can be minimal, or large that can take you up to an hour to clear them, that's why we do advise to be at the airport the earliest ( later I'll give you a tip on how to monitor them).

Once you get to the front of the line there are two Scanners, one for your personal belongings and other for you, they are grey color bins where you can put the backpack/ purse/laptop briefcase/ personal belongings, like belts shoes, watch, cellphone and other pocket contents.

Let me tell you that prohibited items are all sorts of knives/ razors, liquids over 3.4 oz, lighters, nail clippers, and even bottled water, will be taken off your bag, and give the option to documented with your airline, or throw it away, guess which one has a 9 to 1 ratio ?

Packing your carry-on accordingly will save you time, and avoid a secondary screening, ask what can be packed as a personal item, and follow all the rules about liquids using travel -size containers, put all of them together in a quarter size clear Ziploc bag.

Tip: Acquire TSA pre, this membership allows you to cruise through TSA without taking your shoes off or any other item, you have to apply online, and attend an in-person appointment, and go through a rigorous background check, for the frequent travelers it is much needed. When others have to wait in line for more than an hour, you can pass in less than 10 min.

Tip 2: download myTSA app: this practical app, will give you line time on the checkpoint, will inform you of delayed flights or weather conditions, and at no extra cost.

Tip 3: Never carry things you're not an owner to, or leave your travel bag unattended.

Arrival - Mexico Airport

Either your vacation is at Cancun or Los Cabos, the procedure is the same for international travelers, first getting off the plane, you will need to go through immigration department ( there is where the documents mentioned earlier will come in handy ) and you'll also need to fill out a Migration form for tourists, this will be given to you before your arrival, and can be filled as a family, highly recommended you carry a pen in your carry on. The other form to be filled but this time individually is the Tourist card (FMM) that you can fill here , keep both at hand, as it's your exit pass.

Servicios de Pasaportes en los Aeropuertos

The officer will ask you, or any member of your family a couple of questions to determine what is the purpose of your trip, some examples are :

  • Where are you staying?
  • Do you have purchase return flights?
  • What's the purpose of your trip?
  • Who are they with you?
  • How many days do you plan to stay?

Always answer with the truth, any hesitation on your part will deny you entry to the country.

After clearing this line, you'll go to baggage claim, to pick up your luggage, then you will have to clear customs with a similar process of scanning your belongings.

Here there is also a Green /Red light system, which you press a button, and depends on luck to do another inspection of your luggage.

Return Flight Back to the US

There is another membership, called Global entry that gives you Expedite pre-approved clearance back into the USA when landing back home, go to the automated kiosk, scan the passport, your fingerprints, declare anything to customs, and you're set to go.

Another option is Mobile passport app, does the same, but it's Free, although not all airports are accepting it yet.

Well this wraps up, our weekly blog for your next vacation, hope its helpful enough, and that next time you visit you can apply some of these tips. Thank you, and see you soon at Solaris Resorts.

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