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Time clearing Immigration USA


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Musical DD is on a bit of a roll at the moment - couple of lovely offers for Easter courses and now she has been accepted onto an orchestral training course in Washington DC for a month in the summer.  Even better, she's got a pretty full scholarship for while she's out there, and is fundraising for her flights.


I have two questions:


I'm looking at her flights - she needs to get to Ronald Regan Airport but there are no direct flights from the UK.  So she will be changing somewhere - how long do I realistically need to leave between flights?  One has a connection time of just over an hour but my understanding is that she will have to clear immigration at this first airport so that doesn't really seem like a good idea.


The second is, she  only short by a hundred pounds of her total - she has a gofundme page, has received a couple of very generous donations, one from a charity and one from an individual, and we've written to the Lions.  Anything obvious she's missed for a way to raise the last little bit.


I know someone out there will have the answer to both of these ...

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The organisation meets students from DCA.  The vast majority of the students are American Music Conservatoire students, they take very few international students and certainly very few under 18 so presumably that's why.


I still think it would be worth investigating whether it wouldn't make more sense in terms of time, money, and ease of travel for her to fly into Dulles and go directly to wherever she's staying in view of her special circumstances.

but if they don't allow that, I would definitely say leave at least 90 minutes - 2 hours between connecting flights. It depends on the airport and how far she has to go from her arrival gate to her departure gate, and in my experience clearing US customs and immigration can be very slow (and I'm a Canadian so it should be easier for me) and who knows what it's like now. Also they make you retrieve your baggage and then take it to another conveyor to your next flight, and if there are a lot of people doing that the queue can be long and slow. It's really not efficient (hence my advice to avoid connecting flights if at all possible!).

Or she could take a taxi from Dulles to Reagan for $65US according to this website: http://www.flydulles.com/iad/estimated-taxi-fares

It takes about an hour according to Google maps.

Edited by toursenlair
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd agree - see if there's a way you can organise your child to fly into Dulles. You have to clear Immigration at the first airport you lan in the US, and connecting flights can be really nail-biting (been there ...) Clearing US Customs & Borders can take up to 3 hours on a non-US passport, if you come into JFK at the same time as to other jumbo jets! I always try to fly into Newark, because a) Immigration is quicker; and B) it's easier to connect either to Manhattan or DC. 


I spend up to 6 weeks a year on the East coast for work, and I like to fly into Newark, and then get the train down to DC. Lovely ride & AmTrak trains are very comfortable. And their Quiet Coaches are actually QUIET. I generally find in public Americans are politer & more gracious than Brits on public transport, sadly.


So I'd really recommend trying to fly straight to DC. From Dulles, from memory, you can connect to RR Airport reasonably easily - if you google, you'll find shuttle services. Or go on to a travel website such as Trip Advisor and ask. Washington & the DC area is pretty safe, and well set up for travellers, and because it's the capital, they have an excellent and cheap public transport system. Not the same as most other US cities, bar NYC and SF!


Try this website:



If you go to the Shared Ride section, you'll see that there's a SuperShuttle between the airports for about $US30. I think the taxi quote is around $US70


If your DC is good at buses etc, it can cost as little as around $US% to get from Dulles to RR by the bus & then Metro system. RR is also served by an Amtrak station (from memory).


Have a great trip - I won't be there this year, unfortunately & I'm getting homesick just writing this - I love DC - it's a wonderful city with so much to do & so much going on. Hot in the summer though ... I remember walking out of the very air-conditioned office I was in, to 102 degrees and 99% humidity.



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Hi Kate (and others!


Well, my daughter managed to raise a decent amount of sponsorship and pledges, so we're lending her the last few pounds.  And there was a very reasonable flight into RR, changing at Newark with a 3+ hour changeover we've gone for that.  The orchestra were very keen on them all arriving at RR.


Many thanks for the heads-up on humidity.  She'll be spending a lot of time in the Kennedy Centre (they have orchestra, ensembles,lessons with orchestra members and also enrichment activities), but I think there will also be some sight seeing and evening activities.  Just such a wonderful opportunity for her and a chance to see if she would like to apply for American Conservatoires.  


I may be asking for advice on what to pack!  Especially for the theatre outings and the like.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just catching up - re heat, humidity & being in the Kennedy cEntre (gorgeous building & on the water, so not as hot as downtown). Cardigans! Often in public buildings in the US, the   air-conditioning is set at what I would consider a mild refrigerator temperature! So a warm cardigan, and maybe a light shawl or big scarf (I always carry a pashmina) for her neck & shoulders. At least, that's been my experience working in various public buildings in DC.

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