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Ncstate:Preparing to come to the US

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Revision as of 02:28, 31 March 2006 by Conalcharles (Talk | contribs)

Preparing for the US
Before you leave
Packing your Bags
Traveling to the US
Arriving at NC State
Living at NC State
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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 through the archives of the ncsu-fall-200x yahoogroups, you will be able to read several students' accounts of their visa interviews; successful and otherwise.

Students tend to think of the visa interview as one of the most stressful points in their lives. In reality, most students have very straight forward interviews which get over in a few minutes. If you have your documentation ready and are confident, obtaining the visa should not be a problem.

When you do get your visa, please ensure that all the information is correct.


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. Each such hold will have a specific deadline by which you need to decide whether you wish to convert the hold into a ticket. Usually when the hold needs to be converted, the travel agency will contact you to remind you about it.

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.

Some airlines, Air India, for example, often will allow you to carry three suitcases on your flight if you show your I-20 during check-in. Make sure you confirm this with the airline beforehand though. Please verify with your airline whether the 3rd piece of luggage is checked-in all the way through till Raleigh and that you won't be charged an additional amount within the US. For example, almost all flights from India to Raleigh will come through Newark, NJ or New York's airports (La Guardia or JFK). This is your point of entry and immigration procedures will take place here before you can proceed 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.


Check your airlines' website for details on size, weight and other restrictions. According to recent changes, the weight of the bags has been reduced from 32 kg to around 23-24 kg 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 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks, which can be opened only by airport authorities. A list of TSA approved locks can be obtained at the TSA website or from the following websites Travel Sentry and Safe Skies.


Textbooks are very expensive in the US so you might want to find out the assigned textbooks for the courses that you wish to take and buy those in India. The cost of textbooks varies from $50 - $100 for used versions; new versions can cost upwards of $100. Some professors insist on a particular edition of the textbook to ensure that content of the course and the homework problems given are in sync with the textbook. However, it does not always justify buying the latest edition.

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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