After You Receive the Visa
Congratulations! Now that you have 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
- Once you reach the USA
Check Visa for Correct Information
Once you receive your US visa, you must check if the information printed on it is correct.
- Your photograph is correct (it should look like the present you).
- Your date of birth is correct.
- The date of issue and date of expiry is OK.
- Check the Visa Type for visitors visa: it should be B1/B2 for visitors visa.
- Check if it's a single entry or multiple entry visa. ( "M" means the person can enter multiple times into USA, until the date of Visa expiry).
- In case of incorrect information printed on the Visa, contact the consulate or the Visa service provider immediately.
Travel Preparation: When Can You Start?
You can travel any time before the Visa Expiry date mentioned on your Visa. If the visa is for a short duration of 3 months or 6 months, and for some reason if you start late, say after 2 months of Visa issuance date, does that mean you can't avail the time frame given on the Visa?
In such a situation, once you reach USA at POE (port of entry), request the Immigration officer to consider the length of stay form the date when you enter in to 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 beforehand; this can save you some money.
- Check the ticket rates from 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, lengthy stop overs, or take odd routes.
- Some agents also offer Medical Insurance from Indian insurance companies/services. Make sure you understand what Visitor Medical insurance is and whether it meets your requirements; don't just agree with everything the agent says.
- Call the airline to verify the ticket/flight confirmation/reservation after you receive your ticket/s from your agent.
Medical insurance is very important for people coming to USA. Medical care is very expensive in USA; without an 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 you need it?
How Much Currency Can I Carry?
If you have your return tickets, you may not need a lot 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 having international credit card are surely better off as they don't have to carry much cash.
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
Where to Convert your Money to American Dollars?
Private authorized agencies or 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 shell out 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 out. Here are samples for your reference: (For first time USA visitor)
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 home/hotel where you will be staying make a photocopy of the I-94 counter-slip and keep it safe.
Read more about what happens at the Port of Entry
Once You are in USA
Now that you are in the USA, you may like to know more about the American culture and lifestyle. This knowledge will help you better understand how the system works in the USA, you will surely enjoy your tenure better if you know more about these things.