What to do after Visa
AFTER VISA WHAT DO I DO??
AFTER VISA THE FIRST THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO DO:
First and Foremost
There are certain things that have to be done in advance, i.e., as soon as get you your visa - much before the flight.
Learn driving and get the driving license and an International Driving Permit. This usually takes 40 days. So it’s better that you start off early.
Learn to cook.
Apply for a bank loan (if necessary)
Make your passport valid for 6 months more than your stay indicated in your I-20.
Find out the necessary immunization info and get everything done. Generally there are some vaccines like Hepatitis B, which require 3 doses once each month. So do it early. These vaccines are very costly in US and you certainly do not want to start spending money the moment you land in US. Get requisite immunization done (especially MMR). Also there will be HEALTH FORMS which you will need to get signed by a Doctor while you are here. You need to carry this form while you fly. Get requisite immunization done (especially MMR) Get prescriptions & medicines for all common ailments (the technical name of the medicine along with Indian/US brand name)
Important: Complete the health documentation that you may have to submit when you arrive in US.
Hey!!!! go and block the ticket first.
Try and book a direct flight to your place, even if you have to take a local airline it is better and safer than greyhound(local bus in the US of A), which usually has its stops in the shadiest area of towns. Buy a single ticket all the way through – add on are very expensive. Avoid change of airline. A direct flight is the best.
- If change of airline can't be avoided' leave at least 4-6 hrs gap between the scheduled arrival of one flight and the scheduled departure of the connecting flight.
- Baggage is usually safe with a single airline - change of airline sometimes leads to misplaced luggage. Some airlines don't take care of baggage transfer - you may have to personally carry it (check this while booking) and cross check every thing you are promised by the Travel agent with the original air lines. Even if you have confirmed ticket in you hand.
- And remember to ask for student concessions...Generally all the airlines will come up with one or the other discount offer for students...so check all this out before you pay the money.
- Typical expenses: Rs.40, 000 - Rs.50, 000/- (Varies from Airline to Airline)
Get a medical check-up done
Dental check up Fresh check-up, especially if you have a major ailment
Is Dental Care necessary?
After extensive survey and upon seeking the opinion of senior’s abroad a conclusion on the need for dental treatment while in India has been made mandatory.
- Mouth is the mirror of human health. Taking care of oral cavity is a prelude to keeping overall health fit.
- The rationale behind taking dental checkup and treatment while in India is:
- To avoid possible dental treatment abroad as it is a well-known fact that dentist in U.S charge exorbitantly high.
- Under inevitable circumstances if you are required to go for dental treatment. You need prior appointment of two to three weeks in U.S
- Even Students are required to bear the huge expenditure, as dental care is not covered under health insurance in the U.S.
- It is ironic that the materials we use in India are the same used by dentists in U.S, but the payment made for the dental care is in dollars while the number being the same in India.
Eye Check Up:
Get your eyesight checked - get a new prescription. Buy at least one extra pair of glasses or a pair of contact lens.
LIST OF MEDICINES RECCOMMENDED BY A DOCTOR
Crocin tablets (paracetamol 500 mg)- 3 strips
For fever, body ache, and headache.
One tablet three times a day as necessary.
Above 60 kg please use 650 mg tablets (thermol/dolo).
For fevers, mild pain relief Actifed tablets – 2 strips (side effect drowsiness)
A costlier but much better alternative is Alerid (cetrizine) or Neoloridin(loridine)less sedation and next to no side effects
Azithromycin 500 mg tablets (aziwin) - 3 strips. One tablet once a day for atleast 3 days ...use if you have a bacterial cold or Respiratory infection ... (most common symptom being dark yellow colored mucus, fever, etc.).NOT NEEDED FOR ordinary cold (white mucus, watery secretions)
Sporidex 500mg capsules - 2 strips. One tablet twice a day when necessary as advised (please don’t use on your own. This stuff needs a prescription to be used properly ... meant only for persistent troublesome infections)
Avomine tablets - 1 strip for air/ motion sickness. One tablet as necessary.(causes drowsiness)
Lomotil/Andial tablets- 15 (for diarrhea) But remember the best treatment for diarrhea is plenty of fluids, some good rest and bland food.
Omeprazole 20 mg .For gastritis.Can be take once or twice a day
Digene tablets- 20 mg. For stomach discomfort .One each three times a day.
Spasmoproxyvon capsules - 3 strips for abdominal colic pain, backache, menstrual pain etc. One tablet every 6 hours or as necessary.
Domstal tablets - 10. For vomiting .Has to be taken atleast half an hr before food
Electral powder - 2 packets.One teaspoonful mixed with drinks to make up loss of
electrolytes after vomiting &diarrhoea
Novalgin - 2 strips for headache &bodyache. One tablet as necessary.
Brufen 600mg tablets - 2 strips. For arthirtic joint pain. One tablet three times a
day after food.
Avil Tablets - 1 strip for allergy (use cetrizine/loridin for less sedation), One tablet as
Relaxyl ointment - 1 tube to be applied as pain balm.
Band Aid assorted - 12
Soframycin skin ointment - 1 tube
Nimesulide tabs. For the severest of headaches and pains.(But banned in the US).
100mg upto 3 times a day
Ciplox capsules 500 mg. 2 strips.1 capsule twice a day. For Infective diarrheas
Vitamin B-complex capsules .Just in case your starving yourself out there
SHOPPING TIME BUDDY!!
There are so many things one needs to carry, as this is the first time you are going abroad. If you have a friend who is going to the same university, for the same semester, it is better to share few things. This saves space as well as money. In this section, we have listed the most common things that your seniors have carried and suggest you to do. We not only tell you what to carry?, but also how much to carry vis-à-vis the quantity of each item. Many commodities like clothes, foot ware, leather items, and other miscellaneous things are expensive in US. Therefore it is a must that you go through the entire section and make a note of these things in the form of printout before you begin shopping to ensure that you don’t miss something. Get started with clothes....
- Jeans: 4 to 6 pairs
- Shorts: 6-8. Get those ones, which are, long and go a 2-3 inches beyond knees.
- T-shirts: 6-8
- Cotton shirts: 4-5(no multicolored patterns, they are not in vogue in US). Cotton clothes are good in warmer places.
- Night clothes: 2-3 pairs
- Formal suit & Ties - 1-2 pairs. You rarely need them...once in a year or so on occasions like Convocation ceremony and interviews.
- Undergarments...a lot of them...10-15 pairs we stress upon this because you may go to the laundry once in two weeks!!
- Socks...4-5 pairs you can bring even more because you would be wearing shoes most of the time. Do not take nylon socks. Cotton ones are better.
- Sweaters. a couple - full sleeved advisable
- Get a muffler and monkey cap and woolen gloves and windcheater.
- Leather jacket...1 they are rather poor protection in the north. But you may consider getting one woolen Jacket.
- Handkerchiefs-1 dozen
- 2-3 belts one formal leather belt and others as you please. But you might want to know that one rarely tucks in the casual dresses.
- Kurta-payjamas-These would be good during Cultural meets etc. If you have fancy for one, don't forget extra naadi then.
- 2 Turkish towels and two napkins.
- 2 thin single bed sheets.
- One air pillow
Summarizing your clothes list:
- Sunglasses 2 no.
- Cap 2 no.
- Umbrella 1 no.
- Wind sheeter 1 no.
- Under garments 18 no.
- Shirts 4 formal + 4 half sleeves
- T-shirts 12 no.
- Bermudas 6 no.
- Trousers 4 no. (formal)
- Jeans 6 no.
- Handkerchief 18 no.
- Socks 15 no.
- Belts 3 no.(one for jeans and 2 formal)
- Sweater 2 full + 2 half sleeve
- Leather jacket 1 no.
- Wallet with more pockets for credit cards 1 no.
- Thermal wears 2 no.
- Ties 2 no.
- Blazer / Suit - Blazer + matching trouser
- KurtaPyjama 1 white
- Chudidar 1 no.
- Chudidar jacket 1 no.
- Night dress 2 no.
- Gloves 2 pair
SPORTS SHOES: 2 pairs Sports shoes are real cheap in US. Moreover in sales of Christmas etc. So do not spend too much money for these. Get some moderately priced and good ones so that you need not buy them immediately after coming to US.
LEATHER SHOES: Get good and strong leather shoes, shoes that have good grip are preferred. This is for snowy regions. It’s difficult to walk on snow with shoes of flat sole. Firm grip helps to keep fit, prevents breaking head, bones.
- You can buy leather footwear...But we advise Sandals. Get two pairs of them.
- Slippers -two pairs, you don't get the India type slippers in US.
- Kolhapuris, they serve good purpose in the summer.
- Hangers for clothes,
- Wallet - one that has space for cards - you normally don't carry much cash with you.
- Shaving kit & Blades (get a good stock, they are costly In US). Brush & toothpaste (these are also expensive in US).
- Soap (get a couple of bars of bathing soap till you go for the first groceries in US).
- Combs & hair oil (if you use hair-oil get a years supply of your favorites).
- Small mirror (just in case even if you are not a narcicist!).
- Nail cutter.
- Small scissors, Safety pin bunch. Mini-sewing kit with some buttons.
Summarizing your Personal accessories list:
- Soap 6 no.
- Shampoo 3 bottles
- Towels 2 no.
- Napkin 6 no.
- Body spray 3 no.
- Perfume 2 no.
- After shave 1 no.
- Tooth paste 6 no.
- Tooth brush 6 no.
- Shaving tube 2 no.
- Mach 3 razor 2 no.
- Blades 20 no. (mach3)
- Blanket 1 no.
- Duster 4 no. (for cleaning)
- Scrub 2 no.
- Sponge 2 no.
- Bedsheets 2 thick + 2 thin
- Pillow 1 no.
- Comb 2 no.
- Nail cutter 2 no.
- Rubber band 1 packet
- Scissors 1 pair
- Calculator 1 no.
- Pass port and stamp size snaps 36 each,
- Photos of your family
- CDs of songs
- Medicines + first aid kit
- Digital diary
- Back pack
- Key Chains
- Torch Alarm clock.
- Camera & Camera roll 6 nos
- Soap box
Depends on whether you guys plan to cook alone or with your housemates, since most people don't get time to cook daily, stuff is generally prepared for two days at a go - so keep this in mind when you buy vessels, etc.
Typical stuff you may want is:
- 2-3 plates,
- Cups and bowls
- Forks (2 each)
- Serving spoons
- Couple of cooking vessels
- Pressure cooker - 3 liters
- Cooker containers and spares (rings and valves)
- Non-stick frying pan with turner
- Tongs and knives
- Cutting board for vegetables
- 2-3 patella’s that fit into each other and that preferably have handles
- 1 pressure pan (Prestige), ask your prospective roommate to get one too
- Utensils holder
- Plates (2-3 steel plates, beaker size and 2-3 plastic plates of both beaker and normal size)
- 2-3 plastic bowls (katories)
- 6 spoons and a couple of steel glasses
- Serrated knife.
Summarizing your Utensils list:
- Cooker 1 no. + spares
- Cookers Containers 2 no.(with their lids)
- Kadai 1 no.
- Non sticktawa 1 no.
- Spoons 6 no.
- Grip 1 no.
- Chapati fork/tong 1 no.
- Laddle for poori 1 no.
- Spatula types used while making roti) 1 no.
- Knife 2 no.
- Peeler 1 no.
- Serving spoons (for dal, curry and rice) 3 no.
- Knife& Fork 6 no.
- Sauce pan 2 no.
- Steel containers to heat food 2 no. (with lid)
- Rolling Pin/ Belan (to make rotis) 1 no.
- Plate 1 no.
- Katori 3 no.
- Glass 2 no.
- Cutting board 1 no.
- Eating knives 2 no.
- Coffee spoon for salt etc 3 no.
- Small size plastic spoons for masala 1 no
Some of the common food items that students carry are:
- Spices, Tealeaves, Masalas, Haldi, Dhania, red chilly, Instant masalas, etc.
- Mustard packet.
- Tamarind paste
- Different dals in small quantity for initial use.
- Asafoetida powder.
- Indian instant coffee + Indian tea (it takes time to get used to the American stuff)
- Elaichi, clove, cinnamon
- Masalas and tea/coffee powder, if you are a regular drinker (until somebody shifts to beer.)
Get a couple of bags each of haldi, red chilly powder, Garam masala, Dhania, Pickle bottles (if you have enthu, but preferably get sealed ones), rice, Moong Dal. Bring approx. 1-month supply of masalas.
Most Indian foodstuffs are available even in small cities. Don't come loaded with foodstuffs as you may have problem with customs. Try to get "instant" stuff, as people don't have much time for cooking in the US.
Summarizing your Masala list:
- Dhania&jirra ½ kg
- Chilli powder ¼ kg
- Haldi ¼ kg
- Full jira 200 gm
- Mustard Seed 200 gm
- Garam Masala home made 200 gm
- Pavbhaji masala 2 packets
- Salt 500 gm
- Sugar ½ kg.
- Hing powder one bottle
Get all the cassettes recorded which you might like to take with you. Though you get most of them in US, why spend money for luxurious things. If you are leaving your beloved, don’t forget to take those kishore Kumar blues.
- White sheets 50 no.
- Pencils 12 no.
- Erasers 4 no.
- Blade 2 no.
- Stapler 1 no.
- Stapler pins 1 packet
- Pens 12 blue + 12 black (ball pens)
- Scribbling Pad 2 no.
- Glue stick 1 no.
- Pencil Box 2 no.
- Ruler - 12" 1 no.
- Stick on pad 2 no.
- Cello tape 1 no.
- Ink pen 1 no.
- Needle 1 packet
- Thread Black 1,White 1 reel , Blue 1 reel
- Safety pins 1 dozen
Luggage is the essential thing one has to buy. This has to be done after proper planning as luggage is an expensive item and is to be retained for years, now that you will be doing lot of traveling in flight.
2 large size suitcases – SOFT TOPS ONLY
- Start your packing well in advance
- But two good boxes / Baggage with Soft Tops - they should be able to withstand a lot of mishandling. They should be as large as possible within the size limitations (however most airlines are not very strict about baggage size).
- Put identification marks and labels on both the inside & outside the boxes) apart from this, the airlines will also provide you with adhesive labels).
- Boxes with independent top & bottom are preferable.
- Box specification: As an example of Air India economy class baggage specifications to the USA are given below. Note the specs. may be different for other countries/airlines.
- 2 pieces of baggage with total liner dimension (L+B+H) not exceeding 270cms (106"). Moreover the total linear dimension of each piece should not be over 158cms (62"). The weight of each bag should not be exceeding 32kg (70lb) [note: Sometimes they are not particular about this] Carry on baggage: In addition you can carry a bag with linear dimension not exceeding 115cms (45") on board fits beneath the seat.
Things to be kept in the boxes / baggage:
- Copy of all the certificates/documents (originals in hand baggage)
- Important application materials (SOP, Reco, etc.)(Soft copy)
- Necessary book/notebooks (some suggested books are - Clarks Tables, a good dictionary/thesaurus, a booklet for units conversion) [note: there should be no legal hassles taking Xerox copies of books - but don't flaunt them to Americans/profs]
- Copy of address book/telephone book/diary
- Some stationary and related items suggested (not absolutely necessary) - just for the first few weeks are: common items + rubber stamp with house address + air mail covers + few Indian razor blades for cutting work + screw driver
- Medical history files
- Gifts (suggested: roll able pictures, handicrafts, etc.)
- Non-technical books (fiction/religious). [Note: second-hand storybooks are cheap in the US]
- Don't take Indian files (empty) or punching machines - filing system is different in the US (3holes, A4)
- Don't take paper
- Don't take raincoats.
- Don't buy purse (wallet for carrying cards can be bought in the US) Carry an organizer
- Wear your shoes to save space in the box. If needed buy only leather shoes (other types of shoes are cheap in the US). For some weather conditions, Indian leather shoes may crack.
- Don't worry yourself if you can't bring any of the stuff listed above - most of the items are available pretty cheap in the US (Made in China). Exceptions are leather goods, formal wear. In a month or two you will be able to get anything you want.
Things to be kept in hand baggage:
- Some medicines (including for air-sickness)
- Novel/Mags/books for in flight reading
- Original important documents (I-20, visa, tickets.)
- Enough money (little cash, traveller's' checks)
- Address book/phone book (Indian & US)
- Copies of your photos (passport size)
- Enlisted steps to be followed in case of emergency (accident, theft, etc.)
Things to be kept in person:
- Shorter extract of contact addresses - especially of people coming to pick you up.
- Receipt got along with traveller's' checks - in case you lose the TC's.
- 1 handbag to carry in flight stuff with you (buy a good quality, spacious one 'cause you might have to use it for carrying clothes to the laundry later).
- 1 backpack (get a good one, you will use it almost all the time in US).
Most books used in US are vague. Heard one professor-using book in electronics by an Indian author to teach his students! Ha haha. These books are easy to follow.
- Contact students at your Univ.
- A good dictionary
- Your calculator
- Your entire fundamental course texts and notes (for reference of basics).
- Standard mathematical table and formulae handbook. Might also want to buy an alarm clock.
- Good story books if you have a penchant for reading, though you may not find time during the first semester.
Money to be taken with you:
Other than you fee requirements you may have to take $1000-$2000 depending upon where you are going (you can get this info from your seniors over there). This you can get from Thomas Cook/American Express and of course any Foreign Exchange bank like SBI, SBH IOB etc. Do these after you buy your ticket. And remember! Take major part of the money in DD or TC's OR OFF LATE YOU HAVE THESE VISHWA YARTA CARD FROM SBI – A debit card with preloaded cash which can be withdrawn in the USA. The typical combination is. DD for the entire fee you have to pay, $1000-$2000 in TCs, and $100 in cash...a combination of notes and coins....
Money you may need to pay after going there: Other than your fee, you may have to pay the security deposit for the house; rent for the first month, groceries for the first month...basic utilities like toaster, rice cooker etc. which may come around to $500 approx....
Carry all documentation safely, and have photocopies to back you up - letter from Univ., mark sheets, etc. (the visa stuff basically). Things to get photocopied: Make three sets of the following copies, keep one set at home and take the remaining two sets with you.
- Xth, Inter (10+2), Degree marks sheets, Convocation Certificate of Under graduation.
- I-20 and acceptance letter from the university.
- Take all the I-20's with you if you have more than one.
Important things to do before you leave:
- Give power of attorney (authorization letters) to your father or brother or to someone on whom you rely
- Put your signature on a 10 plane papers, write you name below it, keep these at home, they may need it for any purpose like authorization to collect marks sheets, Provisional certificate, Transfer certificate, Bonafide certificate, Degree certificate, Migration certificate from the university, applying for the refund from the college etc.
- Make all bank accounts joint.
Things to be left at home:
- List of addresses/phone numbers at which info about you can be obtained.
- One copy of all your important documents.
- A copy of all relevant parts of medical history files.
- Arrange to collect/redirect mail from your room/hostel.
- Arrange to apply/collect/mail your transcripts (about 20 in number preferable)
- Your tailoring measurements.
A Review & Miscellaneous:
- Get a driving license and a IDP (international Driving Permit)
- Get at least $750 if you get paid within one month of arriving and at least $1500 if you get paid after a month and a half of arrival. If you have a very good friend well settled at the place where you are going to, you may take some less cash with you as you can borrow from him and repay
- later. You'll have several deposits to pay for the first month of stay like gas, telephone, and electricity. You'll have to pay a months rent as deposit and a months rent advance (around $250 per person/month).
- Get your application material if you wish to reactivate your applications at a better place for the next quarter/year.
- Get a set of transcripts in case you apply all over again for a PhD.
- B.Tech. Degree certificate (laminate it in thin plastic is possible).
- Get 2-3 passport size photographs.
- Get an address/phone number diary.
- Have a set of copies of visa, passport, I-20 in each piece of luggage.
- Depending upon the weather in your area get a folding umbrella.
- Carry Rs.300 - Rs.500/- for airport tax and Rs.600/- for the $20 you'll get inside the airport.
- If you are having a camera then get it endorsed on your passport.
- Carry all your music collection.
- Get a good leather purse that has several sections of "visiting cards" size, you'll need those for the bunch of credit cards/key cards/ID's, etc. you'll accumulate in no time in US.
- Carry medical prescription for all your medicines you bring.
- If you have glasses, get a through eye-check-up before and get 2 extra pairs of glasses.
- Keep passport, visa, I-20, and other admission documents in the handbag you'll carry on your shoulders all the time.
- Confirm your ticket a couple of days prior to the flight directly through the airlines you are flying no matter how reputed your travel agent is.
- Let me repeat this, get a driver's license and an IDP.
IN THE LAST WEEK:
- Call up and find if there is any change of the schedule of the plane (inform the people coming to pick you up of any such change).
- Get ready to face the long journey.
- Bid adieu to all concerned.
- Find out the name of the person who is coming to pick you up at the airport. Remind those people of the flight timings, airline no, your name. Inform all these to your people at home.
- Relax the day before journey, and check all the documents you are taking with you once again.
- Arrange for the conveyance if you don’t have a car. You can book with any private transport facility like City cabs.
ON THE DAY OF THE FLIGHT AND ON – BOARD:
- Since it is going to be a long flight wear something comfortable (cotton dress + full hand shirt). Wear your shoes - in flight you can remove them (some airlines give in flight shoes - else relax in socks).
- Check all the documents once again and keep them at appropriate places.
- Be at the airport 3-4 hours before the departure.
- Relax during flight, sleep as much as possible.
- For vegetarians - watch out before you eat - you may get non-veg even if you had asked for veg. Veg food is generally bland - fruits/juices are good choices. (Before ordering anything on board check if, you have to pay for it separately). Don't hesitate to ask questions.
- Once out of India be very careful (from sheer experience of seniors). Don't trust anyone. Don't hire a taxi (unless emergency) till you reach your destination. If required don't hesitate to spend money.
ONCE OFF THE PLANE:
You are now in the USA!Once you are out of the plane go straight to the immigration counter - rush for them to beat thequeue. It might take 0.5 - 1 hour here. Keep your I-20, passport, admission & aid letters ready. They might ask a few questions like
- Is this your first time in the US? Student? F-1 Visa? Which Univ.? They will attach an I-64 card to your visa.
- Then go to the baggage counter to fetch your luggage. Pick up a cart (you get this at a machine for $1) to carry the bags. Then pick up your bags as they come out on the conveyor (suitable eye-catching labels help here) we suggest you tie your baggage with rope of a bright color that is visible from a distance. All this is to make your baggage appear distinct. If you don't get your baggage, inform the inquiry section - you may have to wait 0.5 - 1 hour here.
- Cart your baggage to the nearby customs. If asked tell them that you are a student, F-1 visa, school, dept., coming to US for the first time if asked to open your baggage do so slowly - do not mess up the place. If asked about the "masala powder (podi"'s) tell them that they are "dried Indian spices" to make traditional Indian food like curry. Rarely they might ask you to go the agrisdept nearby - its a pain. If asked about "vibhuti" tell them that it is a holy Hindu powder.
Note: In most cases, you will not be asked to open your boxes at all & you will be simply waved through.
- Now go & wait at the nearest exit for the guys who are supposed to pick you up. If nobody turns up after some time (say 0.5 hour) make a collect call (at public phone dial a "0", get the operator & ask for a collect call) else call
- Your Prof
- International Students' Office
- Admissions Office
- Any Indian guy in the directory
Go and ask for an announcement to be made over the PA system. Get a card, write your name & hold it up.
- Never leave your baggage unattended. Don't go out of the airport until somebody comes & picks you up. If you have doubts about the guy who comes to pick you up, don't hesitate to ask for his ID. (All this is of course being a little extra cautious). Make sure you are pleasing while you identify his identity. Lest you offend the person who has come to help you.
- Once you reach your friend's house (or your intended destination) call home & inform them of your reaching safely. If you get your hand on Internet, do type few words of your experience and email it.
FIRST FEW THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO DO IN AMERICA:
There are certain primary things to be done on reaching US. They are discussed in this section
- Your first task is to meet the foreign students or the advisors in the International students' office (ISO) or Grad Advisor or administrative secretary. Keep a record of your details (passport, visa details etc). When you leave the US (temporarily or permanently), you have to go there again.
- Meet your prof if you have got an RA or a TA.
- Open a bank account immediately. Ask seniors for a good bank.
- Find an apartment and/or roommates.
- Complete all the official procedures at the school like
- Attending the orientation
- Getting your student ID
- Getting your Social Security Number.
- Paying the Fee
- Registering for the classes etc..
Generally your seniors or your dept through all these will guide you. So don't worry about that.
ALL THE BEST!!!....