Get Through Immigration Fast
Photo Credit: Aero Icarus
Going through the immigration and customs process is, like it or not, a requirement for all international air travelers. And when a full plane or multiple planes arrive at the same time, the process can be excruciatingly slow…and feels even slower when all you want to do is get out of the airport and start your vacation!
Traveling to Jamaica does involve these same hassles, unfortunately. But there are ways you can speed up the immigration process.
Keep in mind the process is the same when you re-enter your home country, so you’ll need to be prepared for both legs of your trip.
Avoid Peak TPhoto Credit: David Morris
Peak times mean more flights and more people…all of which have to go through immigration. This results in long, slow-moving lines.
If possible, try to time your flight for a mid-day arrival. The quietest time at airports tends to be between 10 AM and 4 PM (don’t forget to calculate for time zone differences), with fewer flights and flights that often aren’t full.
It also helps to book a flight mid-week—namely Tuesday to Friday morning. Weekends, holidays, and school breaks always see the highest levels of air traffic, resulting in longer immigration and security lines.
Another bonus of flying at off-peak times is that flights are usually cheaper!
Sometimes, limited availability of flights from your home airport will force you to fly at a peak time. If that’s the case, consider your seat.
Where you sit on the plane can really affect the time you’ll have to spend waiting in line, especially if you travel with only hand (carryon) luggage.
That’s why you should sit in one of the first few rows on the plane. This ensures you’ll be one of the first people off the plane and one of the first to get in line at immigration.
Getting these coveted first-row seats can sometimes be tricky, and the process varies from airline to airline.
Some airlines will let you select your seat for free, but not until a certain set time. When you book, take note of the set time for seat booking, and log on as soon as possible to get your seats at the front of the airplane.
Some airlines will allow you to choose your seat when you book in advance…but for an extra fee.
And some budget airlines don’t allow you to reserve your seat in advance at all. If that’s the case, see if you can purchase priority boarding to ensure you’re one of the first on the plane. If that’s not an option, get there early to beat the pre-boarding rush and get to the front of the queue to nab a good seat.
Shortly after takeoff, the flight attendants will hand customs cards to all the passengers.
This form asks about your identity, length of stay, purpose of stay, the address where you’re staying, and any items that you’ll be declaring at customs. Make sure you read the card carefully before filling it out to avoid errors.
Also, fill out the card as soon as you get it, so you can ask the flight attendants for help if you need it. Make sure you have a pen with you! Otherwise, you’ll be rushing to fill it out at immigration, and you’ll likely get stuck at the back of the line.
Keep travel documents together and in one place. Put the landing card inside your passport, on the page with your information, and tell your travel companions to do the same. Or hold onto their documents for them, and then hand them out once you’re in line. Nothing is worse than waiting on someone in your group to dig through their things to find their documents!
Having it on the right page and organized helps the immigration officer check your information more quickly, too.
Fast Track Services
Fast track services aren’t just for first and business class travelers anymore.
All passengers can now take advantage of services that make your journey faster, more comfortable, and less stressful.
When you arrive at Jamaica’s international airport, purchase a pass for Club Mobay, a comfortable , family-friendly departure lounge with a distinctive Jamaican flair. Here you’ll find snacks, TVs, a bar, Wi-Fi, express spa, children’s play area…even showers. Best of all, the pass also entitles you to the Fast Track service that whisks you through all pre-departure security and immigration checks!
It’s well worth the investment!
Traveling to Jamaica? Please do not hesitate to contact us regarding your Ocho Rios/Jamaica travel questions and/or any special requirements. We are just as excited as you are when it comes to Ochi, so send us your questions, inquiries or feedback and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!