International Traveler


International travelers must clear U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoints upon arrival. Step by step instructions are provided below to help travelers prepare for the arrival process outlined below. To view the Transfer Guide for International Travelers, click here.


Step 1

Arrive at O'Hare International Terminal 5

Upon arrival, passengers will exit the gate and proceed through sterile corridors towards the CBP Processing Area. Passengers traveling without checked luggage have the option to utilize 1-Stop clearance for express passage through CBP Processing. 1-Stop information and wayfinding signage is posted in the sterile corridor.

Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways passengers who have received “air preclearance operations” by U.S. CBP may proceed directly to the domestic baggage claim in the arrivals hall. The U.S. CPB grants “air preclearance operations” to passengers who complete immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections at designated foreign airports prior to their departure.

Passengers can reach the arrivals hall via a secured exit to either the escalator or elevator near vestibule 5C. Once passengers have claimed their baggage at Carousel Number 10 on the lower level, passengers can exit to the public area of the arrivals hall in Terminal 5. (Skip to Step 6).


Step 2

Proceed to Customs and Border Protection (CBP Processing Area - Immigration Inspection

After traveling through the sterile corridors, passengers must clear Primary Inspection. Passengers who are traveling from a country that requires a visa to enter into the United States, or first time ESTA passengers, must wait in line at immigration.

Permanent U.S. or Canadian residents who are Global Entry members or repeat travelers from a country with a visa waiver may bypass the line and proceed directly to the Global Entry or Automatic Passport Control (APC) kiosks. Mobile Passport Control (MPC) users may bypass the APC kiosks and proceed directly to CBP Processing.​

Click here to view a list of all Visa Waiver Program countries.


Step 3

Claim Baggage

Once travelers clear CBP Primary Inspection, they must claim all of their baggage and proceed to U.S. Customs and Agriculture, regardless of their final destination or even if their bags have been designated as "checked all the way through."

Luggage porters are available in the baggage claim area to help travelers who need assistance transporting their luggage. Luggage porters wear white shirts and porter caps so they are easily recognizable. (The luggage porters accept tips).


Step 4

Proceed to CBP Processing Area - Customs and Agriculture Inspections

Once travelers have collected all of their luggage they will proceed toward the exit where a CBP Officer will direct them outside or to CBP baggage/agriculture inspection. CBP officers are available to answer questions about what can or cannot be brought into the United States and what must be declared.

Passengers whose final destination is Chicago may leave the airport after clearing customs. Several ground transportation options are available from O’Hare Terminal 5 including taxicabs, Transportation Network Providers (ridesharing), shuttles and the Airport Transit System (ATS) for free transport to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line or Economy Parking Lots.

There are many factors that impact how long it may take travelers to complete the immigration and CBP process, but on average it takes no more than two hours.


Step 5

Connecting Flights/Transfers

To view the Transfer Guide for International Travelers, click here​.

Passengers with a connecting flight and who have been checked through all the way to their destination should claim their luggage and then drop it off with their airline in the Recheck Hall located directly outside of the CBP Processing Area.

Travelers who are not checked all the way through to their final destination and who have a connecting flight with either United Airlines or American Airlines can re-check their luggage with an airline employee immediately after clearing the CBP Processing Area to avoid carrying their luggage to the domestic terminals.

**Please note that upon arrival to the domestic terminals, travelers must be screened at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint.Travelers are reminded to pack all liquids over 3.4 fluid ounces and all Duty Free items in their checked luggage before leaving the Recheck Hall. Purchases made at the Duty Free store will NOT be admitted through the TSA checkpoint if they are over 3.4 fluid ounces unless in a secure, tamper-evident bag (STEB) and able to be screened and cleared by TSA Officers at that checkpoint.​

Passengers who are not flying with United Airlines or American Airlines for their connecting flight and who are not checked all the way through to their final destination must take their luggage with them upon exiting Terminal 5 and re-check it with their airline at the corresponding domestic terminal.


Step 6

Exit to the Arrivals Hall

There are two main exits from the CBP Processing Area: Exit A and Exit B. Once travelers have passed through the CBP Processing Area, they are clear to leave the airport. Several ground transportation options are available from O’Hare Terminal 5 including taxicabs, Transportation Network Providers (ridesharing), shuttles and the Airport Transit System (ATS) for free transport to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line or Economy Parking Lots. The ATS platform is located one level up from the Arrivals Hall and is accessible via the escalators and/or elevators located outside the exits.


Step 7

Take the Airport Transit System (ATS) to Terminals 1, 2 or 3

The Airport Transit System (ATS) is a free 24-hour rail system that transports passengers to Terminals 1, 2, 3 or the Economy Parking Lots. Passengers who are unable to recheck their luggage in Terminal 5 will need to recheck their bags directly with their airline at the corresponding domestic terminal.


Step 8

Proceed to Domestic Terminal Security Checkpoints

Once in the domestic terminals, travelers must clear Transportation Security Administration (TSA)​ screening.

Travelers are reminded that any liquids they are carrying should be packed in their checked luggage before attempting to clear security to reach their connecting flight. Purchases made at the Duty Free store will NOT be admitted​ through the TSA checkpoint if they are over 3.4 fluid ounces unless in a secure, tamper-evident bag (STEB) and able to be screened and cleared by Transportation Security Officers at the checkpoint.​ 
Check here for a list of prohibited items.


Step 9

Find Your Flight and Gate Number

Airline flight information boards and wayfinding signs are located in the concourse just beyond the security checkpoint to guide travelers to their departure gate.



Travelers Aid Services

Travelers Aid Chicago is a social service agency located at O'Hare. Travelers Aid staff provide guidance, support and advocacy services for passengers during travel. Travelers Aid stationed at booths and in the main office can assist with crisis intervention information as well as social services for travelers and visitors.

Terminal 5 Location: M19
You can contact Travelers Aid Chicago at (773) 894-2427.


Passenger Drop Off and Pick Up

Pick Up

Hourly International Parking is available adjacent to Terminal 5 for those picking up travelers from the airport. An enclosed bridge leads from the parking lot to Terminal 5. Arriving passengers can be met in the Arrivals Hall located on the lower level of Terminal 5. The Arrivals Hall has two flight information boards showing international flight status, as well as seating and shops. Once passengers claim their luggage and pass through customs, they will exit the doors leading into the Arrivals Hall where they can be met.


Drop Off

Motorists who are dropping passengers off for an international flight should follow signage toward International Terminal 5 and drop off passengers on the upper level (Departures Level) curbfront.



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