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Meeting up with family in International Arrivals A before immigration?

Meeting up with family in International Arrivals A before immigration?

Old Aug 7, 19, 12:43 am
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Meeting up with family in International Arrivals A before immigration?

Have family visiting the US and I want to meet them before immigration so that we can go in together. Would it be possible to meet before immigration in International Terminal A if I were to fly in from Canada or Mexico at around the same time?
For what I know, Canada has preclearancce. However, flight like WS 1520 appears to arrive in International A. Do I still go through immigration in that case?

Thanks!
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Old Aug 7, 19, 7:24 am
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The flight you listed comes from Calgary which certainly has preclearance. There are plenty of domestic flights that land at A/G too.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 8:44 am
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The OP wants to go through immigration with family, so pre-cleared flights would not work. Those might arrive in the same concourse of International, but the OP would be upstairs at the departure gates level while family is downstairs going through immigration.

So, this would require the OP to arrive in the same concourse (A) on an international flight around the same time as family members, and not on a pre-cleared flight. It’d be hard to get the timing of all that right. I wouldn’t recommend trying.
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Last edited by dhuey; Aug 7, 19 at 8:50 am
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Old Aug 7, 19, 8:47 am
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If one of the flights would be delayed, there really isn't a good place to wait either, and I wouldn't be surprised if officials didn't permit inbound passengers to delay their passage through immigration and customs.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
The OP wants to go through immigration with family, so pre-cleared flights would not work. Those might arrive in the same concourse of International, but the OP would be upstairs at the departure gates level while family is downstairs going through immigration.

So, this would require the OP to arrive in the same concourse (A) on an international flight around the same time as family members, and not on a pre-cleared flight. It’d be hard to get the timing of all that right. I wouldn’t recommend trying.
Not only that, the lines @ A have been so bad at times that it could be nearly impossible to find your family.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 10:21 am
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If we arrive within an hour of each other, can we just wait around next to a bathroom?
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Old Aug 7, 19, 10:30 am
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Originally Posted by shoppingshzhang View Post
If we arrive within an hour of each other, can we just wait around next to a bathroom?
Pretty good chance that if you hang out next to a restroom some CBP officer will direct you to proceed through immigration. Maybe you could take a really long time in a stall, but what exactly is the need here? Do you have family members fearful of navigating this on their own?
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Old Aug 7, 19, 11:06 am
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Limited English for them.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 12:36 pm
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Originally Posted by shoppingshzhang View Post
Limited English for them.
Pretty sure the officers will be able to handle it, and there will be interpreters available should the need arise. Just tell them you’ll greet them outside of customs.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 4:12 pm
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Originally Posted by shoppingshzhang View Post
Limited English for them.
Give them a card in English with your details and phone number, stating that you are waiting to pick them up. In there is an unlikely event that there's a problem with immigration, and if the CBP staff believe they need your assistance, then they will be able to contact you.

Trying to meet pre-immigration in a US airport is asking for trouble. Plus you'd need to consider what happens if your flight is late...

Originally Posted by shoppingshzhang View Post
For what I know, Canada has preclearancce. However, flight like WS 1520 appears to arrive in International A. Do I still go through immigration in that case?
Just in case it's not clear from the answers above, that flight will let passengers out into the "departure" area of International A. Flights from non-precleared locations will let passengers out into the "arrivals" area which is little more than a long corridor that leads to immigration and nothing else. There is absolutely no way to go between the two (other than as an arriving passenger going through immigration, of course)
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Old Aug 11, 19, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Just in case it's not clear from the answers above, that flight will let passengers out into the "departure" area of International A. Flights from non-precleared locations will let passengers out into the "arrivals" area which is little more than a long corridor that leads to immigration and nothing else. There is absolutely no way to go between the two (other than as an arriving passenger going through immigration, of course)
I'm glad you posted that. Yes, pre-immigration at SFO is no place to try and meet up with anyone coming in on a different flight. It's just a long hallway and some restrooms. You're really going to stand out if you park yourself somewhere, and I doubt CBP will be okay with you waiting around for someone else.
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