- Check Visa for Correct Information
- Travel Preparation
- Medical Insurance
- Money Matters
- Sample Forms
- Port of Entry, Interview and I-94
- Once You are in 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.
- 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 your visa type, which should either be B1 or B2 for a visitor 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 officer 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 your visa.
Dealing with Travel Agents
Once you decide on your tentative travel dates, get in touch with your travel agent to buy your tickets if you’re looking for assistance in planning your trip. While shopping for tickets, deal smartly with agents and get to know some general information beforehand – this can save you 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 plane changes, lengthy layovers, or extended routes.
- Some agents also offer medical insurance plans from Indian insurance companies/services. Make sure you understand what visitor visa insurance is and whether you’re getting the best price. You can also shop for health insurance for USA visitors on VisitorsCoverage.com for the best rates.
- Call the airline to verify the ticket/flight confirmation/reservation after you receive the tickets from your agent.
- Read more travel tips: Travel Tips and 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. It depends on what intermediate airport/country you will be going through.
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. This is why securing tourist health insurance for US before leaving your home country is highly recommended.
Read more about visitor visa insurance: What is visitor medical insurance, and why do I need it?
4 Money Matters
When traveling to the United States, you may wonder how much spending money you should bring. Generally, somewhere around $500 – $1,000 in different denominations of 1’s, 5’s or 20’s US dollars should be sufficient. It is also recommend to have a credit card that you can use internationally to avoid carrying a lot of cash.
Typically, there is a limit on how much foreign currency (dollars) can be taken with you or acquired while abroad. In general, $10,000, in any one calendar is the limit, depending on the purpose of your visit. If the purpose of your visit is on medical grounds, then the limit could be more.
Check the latest limits on the Reserve Bank of India website.
Where to Get US Dollars in India
If you’re looking to get US dollars in India before you embark on your travels, you can go to a private authorized agencies such as Thomas Cook, or you can visit a reputable local bank.
All international airports also have currency exchange booths. There might be restrictions or limits on how much can be converted. Be prepared to pay a little more than the normal exchange rates at the airport locations.
5 Sample Forms
During your travel from your home country to USA, you will be given a few forms by the airline to fill out for customs.
6 Port Of Entry, Interview and I-94
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 the home/hotel where you will be staying, make a photocopy of your I-94 counter-slip and keep it in a safe place.
7 Once You are in the 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 stay informed.