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== Preparing to come to the US ==
 
== Preparing to come to the US ==
  

Revision as of 17:07, 29 March 2006

H O M E
Preparing for the US
Before you leave
Packing your Bags
Traveling to the US
Arriving at NC State
Living at NC State
Finances
Academics
Questions?
Checklist
About
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Preparing to come to the US

Applying for and getting your visa

Whole websites have been written on how to increase your chances for obtaining a F-1 student visa to the US. Some students practice mock visa interviews at coaching classes. If you browse the archives of the ncsu-fall-200x archives you will be able to read several students' accounts of how they got their visas and lived to tell the tale.

Students tend to think of the visa interview as one of the most stressful points in their lives. In reality, most of the students here had very straight forward interviews which got over in a couple of minutes. If you have your documentation ready and are confident, the visa will be yours in a couple of minutes. You'll wonder what you were worrying about all along !

When you do get your visa, check to see if all the information is correct.

Tickets

Air tickets are best booked from the nearest metro city. Book far in advance of your departure date to get the best deals. You can place a hold on a tickets with several travel agencies without actually paying any money. When the hold has to be converted, the travel agency will contact you and you have to decide whether or not you wish to purchase the ticket.

Around July and August, a lot of students leave for the US. Airlines try to lure these travelers by offering cheaper deals or carrying a third suitcase free. Evaluate your options well before putting your money down anywhere.

Beware of the notorious tax that gets added on to your ticket after the ticket price. This can be anywhere from Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 7,000. Always ask your travel agent about the tax. Flights are generally cheaper on weekdays as opposed to weekends.

Airlines often will allow you take three suitcases on your flight if you show your i-20 during check-in. Make sure you confirm this with the airline beforehand though. Also, regarding the "3rd suitcase free" offer, check to see if their offer is valid within the United States as well. For example, almost all flights from India will come through Newark, NJ or New York's La Guardia airport. This is your point of entry and immigration procedures will take place here before you carry on to your connecting flight to Raleigh. If the airline that brought you to the port of entry does not have a deal with the connecting airline, you may have to pay upto $100 as excess baggage for your third suitcase. It is best to contact the airline as opposed to the travel agent to verify these details.

Baggage

Check your airlines' website for details on size, weight and other restrictions.According to the recent changes, the weight of the bags has been reduced from 32kgs to around 23-24 kgs per bag.So confirm with your travel agent.If in doubt, the most accurate information is always from the airline.

One important rule that is strictly enforced on domestic flights in the US is that your baggage (check-in) should not be locked. As far as possible, leave your baggage unlocked. If you must lock them, then the workaround is to use TSA-approved locks, which can be opened only by airport authorities.

Books

Textbooks are very very expensive here so you might want to find out the assigned textbooks and buy international editions from India. Some teachers make a big deal about the edition of the book. It's true, problem numbering varies from edition to edition, but it does not always justify buying a new book.

If you must buy a book here, check out CampusI, a price aggregator which searches all the bookseller websites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and eBay for the lowest possible prices including shipping.

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