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On 9/2/2019 at 1:06 PM, Heidi556 said:

That’s great news! Are you guys excited? Keep the passports and envelope safe. 

Jip, well you clear customs here and my port of entry is Los Angeles, then continuing on to Honolulu. 

Happiness!

[at]Heidi556 did you also find that flights were cheaper via mainland to Hawaii? Seems we may be bumping into each other there. Things are looking promising for a job, but in Hilo, which is apparently the more rainy island - but I guess it should still be nice (at least based on the research I've done).

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[at]Kallas Awesome, yes cheaper especially from LA. I will also be in Hilo in October and November. So Hilo is on the Big Island. And on the islands, generally the North Eastern side is the windward side, with more rain and lush, whereas the South Western parts can be drier (from what I see that is what Big Island and Oahu is like). The shore is just rocky, black volcanic rock, not sandy white. But Hilo sounds so cool. [at]FranetteM Yes, I’m packing in, flying on the 23rd of this month, very excited. I’m into diving, underwater photography, and all things ocean, so taking my diving gear, two spearguns, and a big Pelican case. Called the airline to let them know of these items and no problem, they give you a better rate if you book oversize or extra luggage before hand. 

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11 hours ago, Heidi556 said:

[at]Kallas Awesome, yes cheaper especially from LA. I will also be in Hilo in October and November. So Hilo is on the Big Island. And on the islands, generally the North Eastern side is the windward side, with more rain and lush, whereas the South Western parts can be drier (from what I see that is what Big Island and Oahu is like). The shore is just rocky, black volcanic rock, not sandy white. But Hilo sounds so cool. [at]FranetteM Yes, I’m packing in, flying on the 23rd of this month, very excited. I’m into diving, underwater photography, and all things ocean, so taking my diving gear, two spearguns, and a big Pelican case. Called the airline to let them know of these items and no problem, they give you a better rate if you book oversize or extra luggage before hand. 

So exciting! I’ve been to the Big Island. It’s awesome. Very chilled and less touristy than Maui and Oahu. Lots of diversity in geography and vegetation. We stayed mostly in Kailua-Kona, spent a day in Waimea, and then the rest of our time in Pãhoa, south of Hilo. Sadly, we didn’t get to spend any time in Hilo itself. Drove through it couple times and it’s quite pretty.

Yeah, not so many white sandy beaches there, mostly rocky bays and awesome rock pools. Great for snorkeling and diving. Most of the good beaches are attached to hotels and resorts, but the public has full access to them. The biggest issue with access to almost all of the beaches and rock pools is parking, which is either always full, or faaaar away. Especially in the residential areas, where non-residents have to park outside the suburb and walk through to the beach or pools.

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Yep - there are sandy white beaches on the more touristy islands, though you can usually find spots away from the tourists too even on Maui and Oahu. There was one big beautiful beach in Maui we went to, part of a state park, not very busy and the people who were there seemed to be mostly locals.  But no matter the type of beach, it’s all beautiful. 

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[at]SJ272 [at]JumpingJasonFlash [at]oscar Hi all, so I've got an urgent question that I hope someone can help me with. I'm on the verge of accepting a job offer, but the company first wants to fly me to them for a visit. I have very limited time so I'm trying to only spend a day or two there. My question is how long does it typically take to go through immigration once arriving for the first time with the immigrant visa? The connection flight gives me 3 hours layover at JFK - would this be enough to get through immigration? Hope someone can help since they want to book my flights for this weekend 😬

Edited by Kallas

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3 hours is borderline for jfk, usually I’d say you’d probably be fine (especially if you don’t have to change terminals) but occasionally it backs up a lot, and immigrant processing can be unpredictable depending what else the guys are doing, sometimes very quick, sometimes quite long. Would you be flying direct to jfk from SA? 

As long as the flights are booked on one ticket the airline will move you to the next flight if you miss the first connection.  I’m personally the ultra cautious type who’d take a four hour connection and risk an idle hour surfing the airport WiFi, but 3 is -usually - doable. 

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Thanks [at]SJ272. Yes I'm flying direct from JNB to JFK. The only problem is that the connecting flight is a different airline (Hawaiian Airlines) to Honolulu, and from what I can see there's only one flight a day. Not a train smash though, I have a friend in NYC who I could stay with for a night as a plan B.

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3 hours will be close, but is doable. The trouble with the JNB to JFK flight is that it usually lands first thing in the morning, so there aren’t always a full compliment of officers at passport control and with a bunch of other flights landing at the same time the lines can get pretty long. The actual immigration process itself is pretty quick once you get to the officer.

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SAA and Hawaiian Airlines use Terminal 5 at JFK. You should be able to do it in three hours.  I have not arrived internationally at JFK  for the past few years always been through Dulles Airport at Washington DC  which usually takes about an hour. You should be ok but just a little frazzled from the runaround.        

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My work colleague just got back from Molokai - Had a good time but says the internet was very poor on the island.  When they returned the rental car, the internet was down. Then at the airport, the internet was down again so they could not print boarding passes for the passengers. The Captain was not very happy about that.

Looks like they may buy some land for $100,000 

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[at]Kallas, SAA flies into Terminal 4 at JFK. usually arrives around 6:40am- but including taxi-ing to the gate you will only get off the plane after 7am. it usually takes about an hour to clear customs at JFK- give or take if you arrive with another flight (shortest we've had was 40min but once it took over an hour and a half). For first time entry with immigration that might actually be shorter, as you won't line up with the rest from passport control- you will most likely go through the ESTA etc line? (this was recently changed) and again it will depend on any other flights arriving at the same time. This again can differ- our son in law had to go to a second counter/ office as the first officer wasn't able to click on a button (jip) to activate his GC and he had to line up at another office, where he waited for more than an hour- just to have a supervisor click the icon. 

you will have to pick up all your luggage and clear through customs before you can take your connection flight. You can make use of the Sky Train on the 3rd floor to connect to all the other terminals. Its less than 15 min ride. 

There's a Delta connection flight desk right outside the entry into the arrivals hall (to your left). I am not 100% sure if this is for all airline use or only Delta? I've hear of people using it for other airlines too

Just a note: On Saturday I arrived back from SA from a short trip- and ALL the passengers from the SA 203 flight was pulled over for luggage checks from customs. There was a whole lot of customs police and everyone's bags were searched and some where even x-rayed. Wrappings were cut off etc. 

If its a normal day with normal circumstances you should be ok with 3 hours, but its no guarantee

Good luck, All exciting. Its also great if the company is willing to fly you in for an in-person interview- this is usually a great sign as US companies will have 2-4 telephone interviews before they invite a candidate for face to face / in person interview

 

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I have seen dedicated “new immigrant” lines at jfk but I am not sure if they are in all terminals or only some. As a non green card holder, my shortest time through immigration was five minutes (yes!! BA from London had a flight landing at around 1pm that was the only one at that terminal for from an hour or so before) and the longest was over 2 hours, but that was just before Christmas and high season and landing with a bunch of other planes. 

I definitely recommend asking an official (they always have someone directing to lines) for help (and show your brown envelope) if there isn’t a new immigrant line -technically you are supposed to use the normal non-immigrant non US/LPR line but I have seen them direct new immigrants to the USC/LPR line if it’s short and the other is long. Any CBP official can process an immigrant visa.

(I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an ESTA line at an airport? [at]adventurer1what airport was that?)

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[at]SJ272, at JFK Terminal 4 there's always been a ESTA line (together with 'other' visas - not B1/B2). Different line from Citizen and LPR's. It might have changed with the new APC systems in place. 

I remember when we activated our GC's back in 2014, we went to a small office to your left, as you entered passport control. But the same office is currently being used as the Global Entry enrollment office (along with the Global Entry kiosks outside of it)- just came through it.

 

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[at]Kallas. Just confirmed- you have to keep to your right when entering the arrivals hall's border security. Go to the end.(furthers point from where you entered ) p You will be at a normal counter (not the APC machines and their counters)

if there's any further processing etc, they will take you to an office from there.

 

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1 hour ago, adventurer1 said:

[at]SJ272, at JFK Terminal 4 there's always been a ESTA line (together with 'other' visas - not B1/B2). Different line from Citizen and LPR's. It might have changed with the new APC systems in place. 

I remember when we activated our GC's back in 2014, we went to a small office to your left, as you entered passport control. But the same office is currently being used as the Global Entry enrollment office (along with the Global Entry kiosks outside of it)- just came through it.

 

Different airports have different types of lines. I have even seen ones where they had separate lines for USCs and LPRs, which is unusual. I just don’t recall ever seeing an ESTA one...and I used to fly BA a lot into jfk, so it’s something I think I would have seen. Though I think BA also now flies into a different terminal there than what it used to.

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