Congratulations! Now that you have received your visa, follow these simple steps and you should have a trouble free journey:
- Check Visa for Correct Information
- Travel Preparation
- Medical Insurance
- Money Matters
- Sample forms
- Port of Entry, Interview and I-94
- Once you reach the USA
1. Check Visa for correct information
Once you receive your visa, check the information printed on it and make sure that it is correct.
|Sample US visa for reference purpose only: This is what the visa stamp looks like.|
- Your photograph should look like the present you.
- Your date of birth must be correct.
- The date of issue and the date of expiry must be entered accurately.
- Check the visa type, which should either be B1or B2 for visitors' visa.
- Check to see if you have a single entry or multiple entry visa.("M" denotes that the person can enter the US multiple times, until the date of Visa expiry).
- In case of incorrect information printed on the visa, contact the consulate or your visa service provider, immediately.
2. Travel Preparation: When can you start?
You can travel at any time before the expiry date mentioned on your visa. If the visa is for a short duration of 3 months or 6 months, and for some reason you delay your start date, say after 2 months from the date of issuance of your visa, does it mean that you can't avail the time frame given on the visa?
In such a situation, once you reach the POE (port of entry) in the US, request the Immigration officer to consider the length of stay form the date when you enter into USA, the office may consider your request and grant you different dates on your I-94.
Remember the date given on your I-94 is the limit of your legal status in this country and not the date on the visa.
Dealing with Travel agents
Once you decide on your tentative travel dates, get in touch with your Travel agents to buy your tickets. While shopping for tickets, deal smartly with agents and get to know some general information before hand, this can save you some money.
- Check the ticket rates with at least 2-3 agents.
- Don't buy Online from Indian websites, these tickets are generally more expensive.
- Understand your best options to travel. Do not grab an airline/ticket just because it is cheap. Generally cheap tickets mean more number of hops or lengthy stop over, or it takes an odd route.
- Some agents also offer Medical Insurance from Indian insurance companies/services. Make sure you understand what is Visitor Medical insurance and whether it meets your requirements, don't just agree with every thing the agent says.
- Call the airline to verify the ticket/flight conformation/reservation after you receive the tickets from the agents.
- More Travel Tips:
First Air Travel
Do you need a transit visa?
Depending on what route and airline you choose there may or may not be a need of an airport transit visa, depends on what intermediate airport/country you will be going through.
> Click here to view more information on Airport Transit visa for USA Visitors.
3. Medical Insurance
Medical insurance is very important for people coming to USA. Medical care is very expensive in USA, without insurance, a small illness or any other medical related problem can be an expensive affair for you or your sponsor.
Read more about Medical insurance: What is visitor medical insurance, and why do I need it?
4. How much currency should I carry?
If you have your return tickets, you may not need much of cash during your flight unless you want to do shopping at transit airports.
Generally somewhere around $500 in different denominations of 1's, 5's or 20's US Dollars should be sufficient. People that have international credit cards are surely better off as they don't have to carry that much cash around.
Almost all the international airport shops accept US dollars, so you need not worry about any transit country currency in case you want to buy something or have to meet any other expense.Is there a limit on how much foreign currency (dollars) can be purchased on my trip?
Yes , RBI has defined certain rules for each traveler going outside of India. In general, US$10,000, in any one calendar year may be obtained from an authorized dealer.
The foreign currency limit for each person depends on their purpose of visit, if the purpose of the visit is on Medical grounds then the limit could be more.
Check this information at Reserve Bank of India. (RBI Link).
Where to get the dollars?
Private authorized agencies like Thoms cook etc.
Any reputed banks.
All international airports also have currency exchange booths. There might be restrictions or limits on how much can be converted. But be prepared to pay a little more than the normal exchange rates at the airport locations.
During your travel from your home country to USA, you will be given a few forms by the airline to fill up, here are the samples for your reference. (For first time USA visitor)
Port of Entry (POE) is the immigration check counter at the destination airport of the USA. Upon your arrival in the USA, you will have to pass through this counter where the immigration office will ask you certain questions, after which, your passport will be stamped and you will be given the I-94 counter slip.
Once you reach home/hotel where you will be staying, make a photocopy of the I-94 counter-slip and keep it in a safe place.
7. Once you are in USA
Now that you are in the USA, you may like to know more about American culture and lifestyle. This knowledge will help you better understand how the system works in the USA, you will enjoy your stay more if you know more about these things.