Foreign nationals arriving in the U.S. at port of entry (these can be airports, seaports, or land border crossings) are inspected by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. The purpose of the inspection is to confirm identity of the foreign national, determine the purpose for entering the U.S., duration of stay, and whether the foreign national may be ineligible to enter the U.S. for any reason.
Foreign nationals must present passport and other required documents. CBP officers will review these documents and typically make a decision whether or not to admit a foreign national on the spot. If there are questions regarding foreign national’s admissibility or there is simply not enough time to review the documentation or information presented, CBP officer may place foreign national into what is called “secondary inspection.” Typically, foreign nationals are escorted to a separate room where CBP will have better opportunity to review documents/information in detail, question foreign nationals and some times take statements. They can also search luggage and/or cars.