Non-U.S. citizens need a visa to enter the United States to visit, work, live and connect (international transit).
For more information on entry and visa requirements, please visit the U.S. Department of State
Passengers traveling into IAH on international flights will arrive at gates in either Terminal D or Terminal E. They will disembark and make their way through secure corridors and across the sky bridges to the adjoining Federal Inspection Services (FIS). Here they will clear Immigration and Passport Control, go downstairs, claim baggage and clear customs.
Once passengers arrive at the immigration hall, they will have the option of being processed the following ways:
- Immigration officer
- Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosk (US citizens, green card holders or legal permanent residents, ESTA and visa waiver)
- Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network Program kiosk (members only)
Passengers will then proceed downstairs to level one to collect their baggage before going to customs exit control.
Upon arrival at customs exit control, one of the following documents will be required:
- Customs declaration form (If processed via immigration officer)
- Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosk receipt (if processed at APC kiosk)
- Global Entry kiosk receipt (if processed at Global Entry kiosk
There is a CBP Agriculture Specialist available to examine food, plants or other perishables for travelers carrying these items. Passengers who have duty to pay may do so at the cashier window adjacent to the exit doors of the Customs and Border Protection area.
Passengers ending their journey in Houston will continue straight after exiting the doors of the customs area and into the Meeter/Greeter Lobby located on the first floor of Terminal E International Arrivals Hall. Ground transportation will also be accessible from this area.
International in-transit passengers will turn right upon exiting customs, and proceed to the recheck counters which will help speed them and their baggage on to their final destination. Airline locations can be found on our airlines page. All international in-transit passengers will are subject to screening at the TSA security checkpoint before proceeding into the secure area of their departing terminal.
For additional information, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) site.
Automated Passport Control (APC)
U.S. or Canadian citizens, U.S. green card holders, legal permanent residents, ESTA and visa-waiver holders may use one of the 50 self-service kiosks when arriving at IAH on international flights. All eligible foreign visitors must have entered the U.S. at least once prior.
The system is designed to expedite the processing of passengers arriving at IAH by allowing them to enter required data using touch-screen technology, as opposed to hand writing the information on a traditional card.
Passengers simply place their passport on the scanning pad located on the kiosk and then provide answers to a series of basic questions. That data is then sent electronically to one of the screening officers on duty, minimizing both the effort required from the passenger and the chance for mistaken information to enter the system.
APC is a free service and does not require pre-registration.
International arriving and in-transit passengers with carry-on bags only (no checked luggage or United Airlines ITI) may use the OneStop shortcut exit in the immigration and passport control processing area.
There is no membership or registration required to participate in OneStop.
IAH offers sales tax rebate services for qualifying departing international passengers in Terminals D and E, pre-security. Please see TaxFree Shopping for more information.
|Terminal||Processing||Avg. Wait||Min. Wait||Max. Wait|
Immigration & Customs
|Immigration & Customs||
International passengers who arrive at both Terminals D and E will proceed through Customs & Immigration to the Terminal E international arrivals hall.
|* Does not include secondary processing by CBP.|
TSA Security Recheck
|TSA Security Recheck||All connecting international passengers must go through TSA Security Recheck before proceeding to their onward flight (after processing through Immigration & Customs and collecting and rechecking baggage).|