Flying Alone to USA- Filipina on Fiance or Spouse Visa
Flying Alone to the USA Introduction
Many women from the Philippines (Filipinas) are flying alone to the United States every year after receiving their U.S. fiance visa or spouse visa. Every year, the Philippines has the highest number of immigrants to the United States for fiance and spouse visas. Some of their U.S. citizen fiancees or spouses go back again to the Philippines to their embassy interview and assist them in flying to the United States. However, many U.S. citizen fiancees and spouses do not. Thus, thousands of Filipinas are flying alone each year.
For most of the Filipinas flying alone, it is typically their first time in an airport and flying on a plane. Many are very nervous, scared and do not know the process for flying to the United States on a fiance or spouse visa.
I help many of these women through our website and Facebook page. I just recently helped one Filipina by going through all of the steps from arriving at the airport through U.S. Port of Entry . This was very reassuring for her.
Therefore, I write this blog post about “Flying Alone to USA- Filipina on Fiance or Spouse Visa” to provide information to other Filipinas in the same situation for guidance and reassurance.
If you have not done so, see our previous blog post on”Leave Home Country Preparations for K-1 Fiance and IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa Holders“. This post has very helpful information on:
- Buying your plane ticket.
- Things to do and gather to bring to the USA.
- Packing your bags.
- Saying goodbye to your family and friends
- Last minute things to do.
Then, come back here for information specifically on flying alone to the USA for Filipinas on a fiance visa or spouse visa.
Arriving at Airport
Firstly, try to arrive at your departure airport at least two hours before your flight leaves. Also, make sure that you go to the departure area not arrivals.
There are many things for you to do before you get on the plane. For example, below is a list of things that you need to do before getting on the airplane:
- Go through initial security to get in the terminal.
- Pay Philippine travel tax.
- Airline counter to get your ticket and drop off your checked luggage.
- Philippine immigration.
- Security check.
- Find your departure gate.
Also, there are usually long lines for each of these points that you visit.
Initial Terminal Security
Typically there is a line to get in the airport.
Most all airport terminals in the Philippines have a security checkpoint before entering the terminal door. Firstly, the guard asks you to show them your itinerary paper so that they see if you have a flight that day. Therefore, have you itinerary confirmation available.
Put your suitcases and carry on bags on the scanner conveyor. Empty everything out of your pockets and put the things in a dish or tub to be scanned. Take off any sun glasses or other things that cause problems with a metal detector.
Then walk through the metal detector when told to do so. If the alarm goes off, the security officer will scan or search you.
Pay Philippines Travel Tax
Paying the Philippine travel tax is a Philippine government requirement.
The Philippines levies a travel tax on the following persons who leave the country:
- Filipino citizens,
- Foreigners permanently residing or immigrants in the Philippines, and
- Foreigners staying in the Philippines for more than one year.
Before they leave their country, Filipino’s pay the travel tax. Pay the fee to the Philippine Tourist Authority. Remember, this includes those traveling to the U.S. on Ir-1/CR-1 Spousal Visas
Inside the airport, there is a counter where you pay this fee before you leave. Typically, this is in the departure terminal area. Remember, you cannot leave without paying this fee.
As of this post, the travel tax is:
- 2,700 PHP for first class passengers
- 1,620 PHP for economy class passengers
In contrast, the standard reduced rate for minors is:
- 1,350 for first class passengers
- 810 PHP for economy class passengers
On the other hand, the privileged reduced rate for dependents of overseas Filipino contract workers is:
- 400 PHP for first class passengers
- 300 PHP for economy class passengers.
The following are exempt from the fee:
- Filipino citizens permanent residents living abroad,
- Balikbayan visitors, staying in the Philippines for less than one year, and
- Overseas Filipino Contract Workers.
Airline Check-in Counter
After paying your Philippine travel tax, find the airline counter specifically for the airline that you are traveling. Then get in line until it is your turn for the airline representative.
Firstly, give the airline representative your Filipino passport and airline itinerary. Also, the airline representative usually requests documentation that you paid the Philippines travel tax. For this purpose, provide them with the receipt from the Philippine Travel Authority.
Then, the airline representative searches their computer for your flight information. If your seat has not already been selected, they will select a seat for you. After that, they will print and hand you your ticket(s). If you have a connecting flight, you get a ticket for each leg of the flight.
Review you ticket(s) for the following important information:
- Make sure your name is spelled correctly,
- Flight number
- Gate Number
- Boarding time
- Boarding class
Next, the airline representative weighs your bags including your carry-ons. If your bags are too heavy, you may need to pay a fee. Therefore, check before hand with your airline website to the weight limits. Then the airline takes your checked bags away.
Above all, make for sure that your unopened visa envelope is NOT in your checked baggage. Always hand carry the visa envelope.
Almost all the time, you do not worry about your bags until your final destination. Exceptions to that case is if you are taking multiple airlines bought separately. Ask the airline representative to make sure.
After you are done with the airline check-in counter, proceed to Philippines immigration. Get in the line that says “Filipino Citizens”. Most likely there will also be a line for that. Wait for your turn in the line.
When you get to the immigration’s officer, hand the officer your Filipino passport with your airline tickets inside.
The immigration officer looks at your ticket to confirm that you are booked on a flight. The officer also looks at your Filipino passport. They confirm that your tickets name and passport name match. Also that you are the person in your passport photo. In addition, the officer confirms that you have your visa and CFO stamp in your Filipino passport.
The immigration officer may also ask you some questions.
After you are through with the immigration officer, it is time to go through airport security. Again, there is another line for this. Keep moving forward until it is your turn.
See the Manila NAIA International Airport requirements specifically for liquids, aerosols and gels. Furthermore, if you are using a different airport like Clark or Cebu, check those airport website for information on liquids, aerosols.
Check your airline website for information on items not allowed.
When you get up to the conveyor for the baggage scan place your carry-on bags on the conveyor. Empty everything out of your pockets. Place the things from your pockets like cell phones, passport, tickets, wallets, change, and other things in a tub to go through the scanner. Place any sunglasses in the tub.
You may be asked to take out any liquids that you have and place them in the tub separately from your bags. For this purpose, put all of your liquids in a clear plastic bag.
You may be asked to take your lap top, if any, out of its bag and put it in a tub.
You may also be directed to remove your shoes or belt and place those in a tub too.
The airport security then directs you to go through the walk through scanner. On the other side, they may search you with a wand or also hand search you.
After you are done with the walk through scanning or searching, pick up your things from the end of the conveyor. take them quickly to the seating area nearby. Put your shoes back on and things back in your pockets. You are now in the secured area of the airport.
Find Your Gate
After you get through security, it is time to find your gate. Look at your ticket, it will list your gate number. Also check the monitors for departures to make sure that your gate has not changed. The monitors list the flight numbers with departure time and gate number.
The gates are usually a letter and number sequence. Typically, there are overhead signs that direct you to your gate.
When you get to your gate, sit down in the waiting area seating until you are told to board the plane.
Boarding of the plane usually goes by seating class or boarding group number. Your seating class or boarding group number is listed on your ticket. If you are elderly or have small children, then you are typically called to board first.
Have your passport and ticket ready for boarding. When it is your turn go up and board the plane. An attendant will look at your passport and scan your ticket. You will get back your boarding pass. Go ahead now and get on the plane.
Firstly, when you board the plane, a flight attendant will look at your boarding pass and direct you where to go to find your seat. Walk down the plane aisle to find your seat number.
When you get to your seat, put your carry on items either in the storage compartment above or under the seat in front of you. Sit down in your seat and buckle up. Make sure that your seat is upright and tray table closed for take off. Also, you will be told to turn off any cell phone or put them on airplane mode.
The flight attendants then give a safety instruction along with video.
Then comes the fun part as the plane taxis down the runway and takes off.
When the plane reaches a safe altitude, the fasten seat belt signs will turn off. At this point, you are allowed to unbuckle, stand up, stretch, or use the rest room.
More airlines have a monitor built into the back of the seat in front of you. There are earphone in the seat pocket. With this monitor, you can watch movies, television shows, play games, listen to music, see a map of your flight progress and more.
The airlines typically provide pillows and blankets fr your comfort. Also, it may be wise to buy a neck pillow for the trip. These make the flight much more comfortable.
The flight attendance come by and serve you drinks and snacks. Most international flights have meals served also.
When it is time to land, the fasten seat belt sign will come back on. At this point buckle back up with your seat upright and tray table folded back.
After the plane lands, stay in your seat bucked until the plane comes to a complete stop and the fasten seat belt sign is turned on.
The plane unloads from front to back. When it is your turn to leave, make sure you have all your carry on items.
Most people will have a connecting flight at a stop over airport prior to flying to the USA on another flight.
Look at your second ticket for your next flight number and gate. After you get off the plane, look at the monitors again to see if the gate number has changed or any other updates on your next flight.
Now you need to go to your next gate for your next flight. Typically, follow the signs for “Transfer”. Usually, another security check point is between here and your new gate. Go through the same procedures and follow directions.
Then find your next gate. If you have time, there is typically shops available and food to purchase.
Follow the same procedures for boarding the plane as your first flight.
USA Port of Entry
This site explains all of the requirements of the Port of Entry including immigration, retrieving your baggage, customs inspection and finding your loved one.
Welcome to the United States. You did it flying alone. Give your fiance or husband a big hug and kiss!!!
We hope this blog post helped ease your anxiety of flying alone.
Next, see our blog post on “Advice on Your First Days In the USA for K-1 and IR-1/CR-1 Visa Holders“.