International Traveler | Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD

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

Step 1

Arrive at O'Hare ​Terminal 5

Upon arrival, passengers will exit the gate and proceed through sterile corridors towards the CBP Processing Area. 

Passengers from a number of international destinations, including several in Canada and Ireland, preclear U.S. CBP in their departure city and may proceed directly to the domestic baggage claim in Terminal 5.

Others arriving from preclearance destinations may arrive in Terminals 1, 2 or 3. For more information on U.S. CBP preclearance, please visit the U.S. CBP website

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 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 or another CBP Trusted Traveler Program members must apply and be accepted into the program before you can use the Global entry lines.

Step 3

Claim Baggage

Once travelers clear CBP Primary Inspection, they must claim all baggage and proceed to agriculture screening, regardless of their final destination or even if their bags have been designated as "checked 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. The luggage porters do 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 to CBP baggage/agriculture inspection.

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, shuttles and the Airport Transit System (ATS) for free transport to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line or airport parking lots.

There are many factors that impact how long it may take travelers to complete the immigration and CBP process, but it is rare for it to take more than two hours.

Passengers connecting to another location must recheck their luggage.

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, then drop it off with an airline attendant at the recheck counters located directly outside of the CBP processing area.

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

Passengers not flying with United Airlines or American Airlines for their connecting flight and not checked all the way through to their final destination must take their luggage with them upon exiting Terminal 5 and recheck it with their airline in advance of their domestic flight. The Chicago Department of Aviation recommends confirming with your airline on the day of your flight that your checked luggage can be picked up at your final destination.

Passengers arriving from a Preclearance airport may travel to their connecting flight in Terminals 1, 2 or 3 without exiting security and getting rescreened by taking the Terminal Transfer Bus. The bus operates from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily, and passengers must show a boarding pass.

Passengers connecting to a domestic flight in Terminals 1, 2 or 3 who are not arriving from a Preclearance destination can take the free Airport Transit System (ATS) and be screened at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at their connecting terminal. These passengers are also welcome to be re-screened at a TSA checkpoint at Terminal 5, and board the Terminal Transfer Bus.

Step 6

Exit to the Arrivals Hall

Once passengers arrive at Terminal 1, 2 or 3 aboard the ATS, travelers must clear 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 and able to be screened and cleared by Transportation Security Officers at the checkpoint. 
Check here for a list of prohibited items.