Getting around LAX
July 25, 2005 8:09 PM   Subscribe

International travel for dummies.

The answer to this question is probably obvious, but I'm having trouble finding an answer online. In a few weeks I'm travelling from Australia to Canada. As a proud subject of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, I don't need a Canadian visa for the purposes of my trip. However, my flights go via Los Angeles (LAX), arriving at "Terminal 4" and departing from "Terminal 2". Are these two different terminals both insides the customs area? That is, I won't need any kind of visa or documentation for my 3-hour "stay" in the USA, will I?
posted by Jimbob to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (14 answers total)
Normally people need a Transit visa to do what you are doing, but since Austrailia is a visa-waiver country in the US, you should be fine without one. See here.
posted by reverendX at 8:58 PM on July 25, 2005

Excellent, I think that tells me all I needed to know. I wasn't aware there was still a visa-waiver for Australian citizens in the US.
posted by Jimbob at 9:06 PM on July 25, 2005

Looks from this like you'll be okay (no mention of customs hall). Have a good trip.
posted by tellurian at 9:06 PM on July 25, 2005

Jimbob, I'd be careful and make very sure the above would apply in your sitch. I'd start by checking with Qantas and Air Canada.* LAX terminals 4 and 2 are definitely separate (see this link), and you will have to leave the security area to transfer between them. At the very least, have your passport and tickets at hand while at LAX.

*I don't suppose you could switch to Air New Zealand? They code-share with Qantas, and use Terminal 2 at LAX to boot!
posted by rob511 at 9:17 PM on July 25, 2005

Re my footnote above, I meant that Air NZ code-shares with Air Canada. Sorry, my bad!
posted by rob511 at 9:18 PM on July 25, 2005

Jimbob, you might not want to read this page of horror stories I turned up whilst Googling.
posted by tellurian at 9:28 PM on July 25, 2005

Too late for Air NZ, tickets booked and paid for, I'm just strangely paranoid about the whole process and hoping it will be smooth and painless.
posted by Jimbob at 10:28 PM on July 25, 2005

One thing: make absolutely sure your passport is of the machine-readable variety because since Oct or Nov 2004, it has become an administrative offence to land in the US without one. A Brit friend of mine had his passport replaced in India without the machine code, and he was detained recently while in transit through the US. He was held in a cell for the entire duration of his layover...and almost didn't get released to make his connecting flight.
posted by randomstriker at 11:49 PM on July 25, 2005

What Timatic says what an Australian citizen travelling to Canada through the United States needs. Unfortunately the connecting info there seems not to reflect the "indefinite" suspension of TWOV and ITI very well, so use the information about travelling to the U.S. as a guide for what you need. And what everyone else has posted.
posted by grouse at 12:40 AM on July 26, 2005

More on visa-waivers from the US Department of State.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:34 AM on July 26, 2005

You will definitely have to clear US customs before you can proceed to Terminal 4 to continue your trip to Canada. Your Visa Waiver form (green form) will have to be filled out, even though the purpose of your trip is to leave the US promptly. Don't forget to have a chuckle when you read "Have you ever been convicted of moral turpitude?" on the visa waiver form.

I am a US citizen, but I have talked with many people flying through on connecting flights to the US. On your return trip from Canada it will probably be a bit simpler. You will probably clear US customs in Canada before your voyage and most likely land at a domestic terminal in LAX.
posted by jduckles at 8:54 AM on July 26, 2005

I meant proceed to Terminal 2 above.
posted by jduckles at 8:55 AM on July 26, 2005

Don't know from these passport-visa issues, but regarding your physical transfer between terminals at LAX, you could easily walk from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2, depending on your luggage load. Exit Terminal 4 and head for the curvy white 'Theme Building' in the center (now home to the great Encounter restaurant). Walk around it, but keep on course, and you'll find Terminal 2. Alternatively, wait for an "A" shuttle bus, which just loops around the terminals. It's labeled "LAX Shuttle Airline Connection" -- it's free, and they come every ten minutes or so. Wait under the blue sign, curb-side, on the lower level.
posted by Rash at 10:37 AM on July 26, 2005

just to expand on what randomstriker said above - if it's not machine readable, you need a visa. i have a visa with a uk non-machine-readable passport and have no problems. but i was told (when i collected the the visa) that it would have been cheaper and simpler to get a new passport.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:43 AM on July 26, 2005

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