The United States of America has been a super power since the late 19th century and Forbes says that this isn’t going to change any time soon. And for as long as it remains the ‘greatest nation in the world’, it will continue to attract tourists and traders, eager to witness and be a part of its greatness.
Traveling to the US can seem complex and intimidating to a first timer, but we’ve got you covered on the immigration process and forms to be filled. The process of departing to a foreign country by air has been made a little more hassle-free by the Government of India. According to an article in The Hindustan Times, Indians flying overseas no longer need to fill a departure embarkation card from July 1, 2017.
However, the procedure remains unchanged when you arrive in the United States.
Arriving in the United States
The process of entering the United States starts a few hours before you actually land in the country. You are handed a USA Custom Form by an attendant on the flight itself. This form asks for your personal details and other information, such as whether you’re carrying any meat or animal product with you or if you are bringing a commercial merchandise into the Unites States, or if you’ve visited a farm, pasture or ranch outside the United States and other such questions. It should be read carefully and filled in by a responsible family member.
For further clarity, you can read about the custom declaration form on the United States, Custom and Border Protection website.
You are also required to pay $220.00 as USCIS Immigrant Fees before traveling to the United States, if you’ve been issued an immigrant visa. If you’re traveling on a K category visa or are prospective adoptive parents with children in the United States, you are exempted from this fee.
You can find out more about it on www.USCIS.gov/immigrantfee.
On arriving at the airport, find the Port of Entry, which is the immigration check counter and stand in line at the ‘Non-US Citizen’ counter. Here, an immigration officer will take your fingerprints, a digital photograph, and stamp the arrival and departure dates, as well as visa class on your passport, and create an electronic Form I-94.
The immigration office might also ask a few questions like, ‘What is the purpose of your trip?’, ‘What is the duration of your trip? ‘ and others. While answering these questions, be crisp, confident and careful that your answers do not conflict with what your documents say. For example, if you’re traveling with a H4, L2 or B1 visa, do not ever state that you intend to work in the United States during your stay.
Once you are done with the immigration and customs procedure, there is very little left to do at the airport. Go to the conveyor belt corresponding with your flight number, collect your checked-in baggage and head out to make the most of your time in “the world’s greatest country.”
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