Your excitement is building. You went for your visa interview at the U.S. consulate and hurray!! you got your visa (or you’re from a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program and you don’t need a visa!).
Now you are getting geared up for your travel to the U.S. You prepare a list of clothes and shoes that you will carry along with you, you take at least a week to decide what you are going to wear to the airport, you do not miss any opportunity to call each of your friends to tell them that you are going to the U.S., etc. But, have you really planned for a hassle-free journey?
Have you taken into account and prepared for entering the U.S. with as few issues as possible? Have you taken the appropriate travel precautions?
What sort of travel precautions? In this article, we discuss 7 travel tips which will help travelers to the U.S. be prepared for a safe journey and a secure stay in the U.S.
1.Check the validity of your passport: Before leaving for the U.S., or even before you pack your bags, check the validity of your passport. In general, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the expiration of your period of admission to the United States. You have to make sure that you will be able to leave the United States at the end of your authorized stay and proceed to your home country, or another country. There are certain exceptions to this rule. Under international treaties, many countries have agreements with the U.S. whereby a passport is deemed valid for six months past its expiration date so that the foreign national can return to his or her country of citizenship.
2.Check the validity of your visa: The visa that is stamped in your passport by the U.S. consulate officer reflects the status that you would be maintaining in the U.S. For instance, if you have a B-2 visa stamped in your passport, your status in the U.S. will be as a tourist visitor and you have to maintain this status
Before you book your ticket, it is important that you check the validity of your visa so that you avoid a surprise at the port of entry- like not being allowed to enter.
For those traveling under the VWP, make sure that you have a valid registration in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) at least 72 hours before your departure for the U.S. If you have already registered in ESTA for a previous Visa Waiver Program trip, you don’t need to re-register as long as your registration is still valid and you have not obtained a new passport since your registration. Also, make sure that your passport meets Visa Waiver Program requirements, i.e., it is machine readable.
3.Check if your visa permits single entry or multiple entries: Before travelling to the U.S., you must also check to see if your visa is a single-entry visa or a multiple entry visa. Many people who travel to the U.S. on a Business and Tourist visa get confused about the concept of single entry and multiple entries. For example, if you previously obtained the B-1/B-2 visa and visited the U.S. but the visa was issued as a single-entry visa, you must get a new visa before you can visit again.
4.Check your baggage: This is just as important as the other travel precautions we have discussed so far. There are certain commodities that you will not be allowed to carry with you to the U.S. There will be a check at the airport, and if it is found that you are carrying and materials that are prohibited, you may end up in trouble. You need to carefully plan the things that you carry with you. Check the U.S. Customs & Border Protection website at least a few days before you travel to check the most up-to-date information about restrictions.
5.Check what you are wearing to the airport: It is very important that you carefully choose the clothing to wear to the airport. For example, over dressing can make you the target of criminals. To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry, and do not carry excessive amount of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers. Additionally, dress in way that will make it easier for you to get through security checks quickly and easily.
6.Check your behavior: Your behavior at the airport may decide your destiny. You have probably heard the old saying, “never take things for granted.” Similarly, even though you got the visa, Customs and Border Protection officers can still prevent you from entering the U.S. if they perceive or feel that person poses a danger to the country, or if they suspect that the person is an “intending immigrant.”
7.Check if you have gathered all the required information: It is always good to gather information about the process at the airport, what sort of inspections you have to go through, how much luggage you can carry (number of cases and weight), what you can expect at a U.S. port of entry etc., beforehand.
An old proverb says that precaution is better than the cure, and when it comes to international travel, this saying is one hundred percent true.
Congratulations! You have landed in the United States, one of the most beautiful and varied countries of the world. Just following these 7 U.S. travel tips can make your journey to the U.S. an experience that you will cherish your whole life.
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