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 HOU on most international flights will arrive at international arrival gates on the west concourse. They will disembark and make their way through secure corridors into the adjoining Federal Inspection Services (FIS). Here they will clear Immigration in one of the following ways:
- Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosk – all passengers
- Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network Program kiosk (members only)
- Mobile Passport Control (MPC) - US and Canadian passport holders
Next, they will proceed to collect checked baggage. However, all flights arriving from Aruba are pre-cleared at their departing airport and will arrive as a domestic flight.
After passengers collect their checked baggage, they will proceed to Customs exit control, where they will have to show their passport along with their APC or Global Entry paper receipt or an MPC electronic receipt on their mobile phones.
Prohibited agricultural and food items must be declared during Immigration processing. 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 in the secondary screening area. Click here for CBP “Know Before You Go” information.
Passengers ending their journey in Houston will continue straight after exiting the doors of the customs area and into the international arrivals lobby. Ground transportation is accessible through a hallway and exit door to the east.
International in-transit passengers will exit and proceed forward down the recheck hallway to recheck their luggage. If a passenger exits secondary screening, then they will turn right and proceed down the hallway to the recheck counter.
All international in-transit passengers are subject to screening at the TSA security checkpoint before proceeding into the secure area of their departing concourse.
For additional information, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) site.
U.S. or Canadian citizens, U.S. green card holders, legal permanent residents, ESTA and visa-waiver holders may use one of the self-service kiosks when arriving at HOU 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 HOU by allowing them to enter required data using touch-screen technology, as opposed to 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.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (US Customs and Border Protection, referred to as CBP)
General Counseling Hotline: +1 877-227-5511
US Customs and Immigration Services: +1 281-230-4600 (main number)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): +1 281-449-1481 or +1 281-985-8400
Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston: +1 713-520-1462, or website: http://houston.china-consulate.org/eng/