Point of Entry: Detroit, MI

Posted by Abdel Kadz on Friday, December 02, 2011 with No comments
In the US of A now finally after 12 hours of flight from Narita, Japan. Since it's December, I was looking forward to seeing snow having lived most of my life in a tropical country and a year of working in the Middle East as a physical therapist. En route to Michigan and looking out the window, I saw snow alright. But it must have been a different state because when we got off the plane, the tarmac looked bare of the winter essentials for me.

My point of entry was Detroit, MI and the next and most important process I had to go through after getting off my Delta flight was immigration. Only if I were done with that could I officially say I am in the US of A.

Walking down the hallway to the immigration center, I was met by a long queue of people from all walks of life and different nationalities; Americans in an area of their own and the rest spread out into about four immigration counters. It was amazing how fate worked because the girl who stood right in front of me, Rachel, happened to be a physical therapist from the Philippines and get this: she was from the same agency as well, and we'll be staying at the same townhouse!

My purpose for being in the US is to take an exam, so I made sure that I had pertinent documents to support my case. From what I heard, immigration officers give at most just 20 days to NPTE test-takers. After a short chat, Rachel and I got separated from the line as we were both called to different immigration counters for the interview.

My immigration officer was a very nice black woman. She asked the purpose of my travel, my itinerary while in the US, why the NPTE was not given in the Philippines and was flabbergasted that Filipino PTs had to go all the way to the US just to sit for the NPTE. After entering data on her computer, she wished me luck for the exam and stapled an I-94 form to my passport. Welcome to the US, she said. Yahoo!

Up ahead, I had to meet another immigration officer who asked if I brought in food, poultry, grains, and others from my point of origin. While still aboard the Delta flight, the cabin crew gave out immigration forms for us to fill out with which the immigration officers will base their inquiries; I said "no" to all of his questions. He then signaled me to move forward and go through the tough airport security Detroit is known for. My bags and I included had to go through a very foreboding X-ray machine. Man, I was naked to the world!

But alas, I was done and over with immigration. I walked up to Rachel and went our way to our connecting flight to Ellicott City, MD, where we will be staying. As we were on the moving walkway, I was introspecting the gravity of what just transpired and what lies ahead for us. So this is the US, I said to myself. I looked out the glass windows; still no snow.