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DV-2019

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And omg global entry is THE BEST THING EVER. Highly recommended to anyone who doesn’t have it yet! Also includes TSA pre.

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Thanks for all the info. I got through JFK immigration quite quickly - followed the ESTA "first entry" signs. Took me about an hour. Officer was super chilled again, hardly any questions and very friendly. I'm currently in Honolulu and fly back on Thursday - by far the longest flights I've been on, super draining, but good to be here.

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That's great [at]Kallas! We are also going to clear customs at JFK, but decided to take Emirates instead this time round. That SAA flight is gruelling.

Thanks for the info re ESTA - we'll look out for that. Let us know how the interview went. Good luck!!

We've decided to settle in Savannah, GA for the first few months at least. Will drive down from JFK with the fur baby, seeing as we can't do anything without the social security anyway.

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Remember that ESTA is actually the program for visa free travel from certain countries like the UK, EU etc.  (well, not entirely visa free - it is an electronic visa, instantly granted).  The first time one lands on an ESTA, they do a special processing, and after that it is quick.  So, the ESTA  First Entry queue is actually for holders of those passports entering the USA for the first time on their ESTA.

Most of the time, if you are in the wrong queue, they won't send you back, will just process you.  There may be a line for new immigrants - but it wouldn't be labelled ESTA.

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Image result for jfk terminal 4 esta line

 

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FranetteM - did you decide to travel ahead of your furry family member, or are they coming in the hold on the same flight?  If they are coming on Emirates too, that can be a long, long flight in a crate for a dog, with transit time in Dubai etc, vs a direct flight. 

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1 hour ago, adventurer1 said:

Image result for jfk terminal 4 esta line

 

Ok that makes sense now, it’s not the “first time ESTA” that’s relevant, it’s the “visitors with visas other than b1/B2” that makes that line the correct one.

Edited by SJ272
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1 hour ago, Malamute said:

FranetteM - did you decide to travel ahead of your furry family member, or are they coming in the hold on the same flight?  If they are coming on Emirates too, that can be a long, long flight in a crate for a dog, with transit time in Dubai etc, vs a direct flight. 

We sent our cat separately via KLM, because they have an “animal hotel” at schipohl where cats go into larger cages while their traveling crates are cleaned and dogs actually taken for a walk on a special lawn area. All klm staff handing animals go for training and annual refresher training at one of the Dutch vet schools. Not sure if Emirates does anything similar? A direct flight from SA is still very, very long of course.

There is no doubt it’s a traumatic experience for the pets no matter which way it gets done, but that seems to get forgotten quickly thankfully.

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I just finished my entry at LAX, all good, normal foreign passport line, and it was quick, like 10 minutes. Kallas, I am in Honolulu tonight, and renting a car tomorrow, need to go buy some stuff, what are your plans? I started a stopwatch when I got in the car in SA, have now commuted 38 hours, only semi sleep on plane, and have another 5 hours to Honolulu 😜

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8 hours ago, Heidi556 said:

I just finished my entry at LAX, all good, normal foreign passport line, and it was quick, like 10 minutes. Kallas, I am in Honolulu tonight, and renting a car tomorrow, need to go buy some stuff, what are your plans? I started a stopwatch when I got in the car in SA, have now commuted 38 hours, only semi sleep on plane, and have another 5 hours to Honolulu 😜

Awesome that you got in ok - crazy long travel time to Hawaii, no way of getting around that. I chose the quickest travel route and it still took me 32 hours to get here. I'm currently in Hilo, and fly back to SA on Thursday. Checking out the town tomorrow, areas to stay etc.

Edited by Kallas

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22 hours ago, Heidi556 said:

I just finished my entry at LAX, all good, normal foreign passport line, and it was quick, like 10 minutes. Kallas, I am in Honolulu tonight, and renting a car tomorrow, need to go buy some stuff, what are your plans? I started a stopwatch when I got in the car in SA, have now commuted 38 hours, only semi sleep on plane, and have another 5 hours to Honolulu 😜

Are you in Honolulu for good now, or are you just coming to check things out?

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Thanks [at]SJ272. I am here for good, but going back December or January to sort things out. This place is unbelievably beautiful. Took the bus the wrong (clockwise) way around the island, and so glad i did, wow the mountains!!!
Tip: You can get a mobile sim line to get you sorted with data and communication very easily. What I did was go to AT&T, bought a Prepaid line, i got the unlimited with hotspot $80, then you pay $80 in the store, they give you a sim, and that’s it. You then have to put a card for payments on your account online within three days. I keep my SA phone on roaming for now, and then went to Apple store and just bought a new phone. Easy peasy. 
Still waiting for my social security card, to open a bank account. 

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On 9/24/2019 at 7:06 PM, Malamute said:

FranetteM - did you decide to travel ahead of your furry family member, or are they coming in the hold on the same flight?  If they are coming on Emirates too, that can be a long, long flight in a crate for a dog, with transit time in Dubai etc, vs a direct flight. 

No, she is travelling on the SAA flight, so will arrive 2 hours before we do. We decided to use JFK rather than Atlanta, otherwise she would have had to fly with KLM with a stop-over in Amsterdam. I asked the consultant from the pet travel agency and she said the JFK route would be the least stressful for our doggie. That's why we're also driving down instead of putting her on another flight to Savannah. We're just hoping that she doesn't have to wait too long for us to pick her up at cargo.

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