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Immigration formalities at SFO

tdimdad

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Last Monday at 5 pm, AU passport and ESTA first entry: 35 minutes from the gate to the luggage carousel (and there for another 30 minutes waiting for bags). First screening with a kiosk, then by an agent who was almost friendly.
 

k_sheep

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As I've posted, last week through in 30 minutes. We were on QF74, arriving on a Tuesday, at the gate sometime between 2:30 and 3. Seems delay is dependent on what else has arrived at same time and when you arrive.

If you haven't entered the USA with the same passport you can't use the kiosks. If you have with same passport, and it's just a new ETSA like it was for us, you can.
Sweet, yes old passport just new ESTA. Thank you :)

Edit: Just looked at the estimated wait time - says 8 mins average, 16min max. I'll believe it when I see it!
 

JohnM

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Jeepers, you're making me nervous for my trip in August!

I've got a new ESTA - does that mean I can't use the kiosks?
You can use the kiosk. The recent issue that I’ve had is that I process myself at the kiosk but then get the dreaded X on the printout and the message to present to an agent - ie. join a long queue.
 

tdimdad

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May 25, 2013
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It was smooth sailing both ways for us at SFO. On Monday, July 8, late afternoon arrival, about 30 minutes from the gate to luggage carousel. On Sunday, July 14, early evening similarly about 30 minutes from the rental car center to the Int'l terminal airside. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I was pleasantly surprised how quickly each individual step went through.
 

Maca44

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Last Monday at 5 pm, AU passport and ESTA first entry: 35 minutes from the gate to the luggage carousel (and there for another 30 minutes waiting for bags). First screening with a kiosk, then by an agent who was almost friendly.
"an agent who was almost friendly" at SFO is still 100% better than any TSA at LAX who look at you like you are a criminal even before entering the USA.
 

blackcat20

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Thanks for that info, BC. I have a brand sparkly new passport and was dreading my next arrival into the US.
No issues at all, and I came in with new passport, new esta and new surname. Quick secondary to get my fingerprints done but that's normal anyway (and I assume links me up with my previous name).
 

pauly7

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I can echo all the above about SFO, prepare for huge queues, only half the desks open, randomly opening and changing lines to the frustration of people queuing up. Double processing - everyone goes through kiosks and an agent who do exactly the same thing. Just the usual inefficiency of the US, really the norm these days.

Only shortcut is to apply for a Global Pass.
 

JohnM

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I can echo all the above about SFO, prepare for huge queues, only half the desks open, randomly opening and changing lines to the frustration of people queuing up. Double processing - everyone goes through kiosks and an agent who do exactly the same thing. Just the usual inefficiency of the US, really the norm these days.

Only shortcut is to apply for a Global Pass.
Exactly. One wonders what the point is of having the kiosks when it reverts to the old way - but irritatingly after going through the kiosk process. I get the feeling that the kiosk now merely serves the function of replacing the paper declarations form, as the desk agent at least doesn’t repeat that part of the process.
 

harvyk

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Exactly. One wonders what the point is of having the kiosks when it reverts to the old way - but irritatingly after going through the kiosk process. I get the feeling that the kiosk now merely serves the function of replacing the paper declarations form, as the desk agent at least doesn’t repeat that part of the process.
I've always thought the kiosk's are to collect fingerprints and photos and ask the preliminary questions only. Whilst I've always had to see an agent after using the kiosk it's never been for more than a minute to explain why I was there. None of the photo / fingerprint stuff that normally happens.

As for agents, I've seen good and bad, I've had one that wanted to know details about the conference I was attending (so I started going over technical facts), I've had another one who simply asked "What do you do for work", my response was short and sweet "Software Developer". Out came the stamp with a "welcome to the US". didn't ask any follow up questions. (prob helped that I had been there in the previous 3 months so my previous entry stamp was technically still in date)
 

blackcat20

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I've always thought the kiosk's are to collect fingerprints and photos and ask the preliminary questions only. Whilst I've always had to see an agent after using the kiosk it's never been for more than a minute to explain why I was there. None of the photo / fingerprint stuff that normally happens.

As for agents, I've seen good and bad, I've had one that wanted to know details about the conference I was attending (so I started going over technical facts), I've had another one who simply asked "What do you do for work", my response was short and sweet "Software Developer". Out came the stamp with a "welcome to the US". didn't ask any follow up questions. (prob helped that I had been there in the previous 3 months so my previous entry stamp was technically still in date)
I got fingerprints and photo again at the desk, but I’m assuming that was due to new passport. No stamp though...
 

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