Time to clear immigration & customs at MIA?

Dec 4th, 2012, 05:54 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,448
Time to clear immigration & customs at MIA?

I am scheduled to arrive in Miami from Santiago at 6:10 am Dec 11, on a US passport. The friend who is meeting me called the airport and was told it would take two to three hours to clear immigration and customs!!! This is my first time arriving in Miami, and it hasn't taken me that long since I had to enter at Newark on a green card decades ago when they made permanent residents use the foreigners' line. I usually reckon on thirty minutes.

So, anyone have recent experience of arriving in MIA on a US passport? Do I need extra emergency food supplies?
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 4th, 2012, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,506
I travel internationally through MIA (on a US Passport) several time a year. On my last trip through MIA (about 3 months ago) it took me less than 15 minutes to deplane, walk to Passport Control and clear Immigration & Customs but I was doing only carry-on. Most other times I've gone through in less than 30 minutes and it's never taken over an hour on those few occasions when I've had a delay waiting for my checked luggage.

How long it will take you depends on how may other international flights arrive around the same time as yours, how long it takes for your checked luggage (if any) to reach the carousel in the baggage claim area and whether or not you are "singled out" for a more thorough customs inspection. All that being said, figure on about an hour - if it takes less time consider yourself fortunate . If it takes a few minutes longer then so be it.
RoamsAround is offline  
Dec 4th, 2012, 07:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 449
I agree with the above poster. It all depends on what is going on in the airport. I have a U.S. passport (but I look "ethnic") - most times it has been a breeze but once, in 2008, coming back from Peru I was detained as they ripped my luggage apart. I guess I looked like a shady backpacker. It was annoying but it did not take that long (except that it took a while for me to re-pack).
usernameistaken is offline  
Dec 4th, 2012, 07:34 AM
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Thanks. I have never yet (fingers crossed) been pulled for inspection at customs. It is the time for passport control that was worrying me.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
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the most i've ever taken is 45 minutes, this was on a holiday returning from Europe. lines were super long and slow
wwwfreetravelguyscom is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 10:36 AM
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What happened:

Including a ride on the Air Tran and a stop at a rest room it took me 15 minutes from the plane to the immigration line (I was near the front of the plane). It took another 15 minutes to clear immigration, and 5-10 to clear customs (my bag was already on the carousel). However, my plane was maybe a third full, and there didn't seem to be many others landing at the same time. So, 40 minutes total.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Welcome back, Intrepid Traveler!
Marija is online now  
Dec 15th, 2012, 05:42 PM
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Thanks, Marija! Hope to finish up the TR soon....
thursdaysd is offline  

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