- Your first stop in US is your port of entry. e.g. if you flight is Delhi -
London - New York - Richmond, then New York is your port of entry. This is
where you will do the immigration formalities.
- You are now in the USA! Once you are out of the plane go straight to the
immigration counter - rush for them to beat the queue. It might take 1/2 - 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 the I-94 card to your
passport. Take care not to misplace this card. This card is a proof of your
legal stay in US.
- Then go to the baggage counter to fetch your luggage.
Pick up a cart (you get this at a machine for $1-2) to carry the bags. Then
pick up your bags as they come out on the conveyor belt (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.
- Airlines frequently tend to misplace luggage. It is a
big possibility that your luggage has more Frequent Flyer Miles than you ;-)
- If you don't get your baggage, inform the inquiry
section - you may have to wait 1/2 - 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 tell them that they are dried Indian
spices to make traditional Indian food like curry.
- Note: In most cases, you will not be asked to open your
boxes at all & you will be simply waved through.
go & wait at the nearest exit for the guys who are supposed to pick you up.
If nobody turns up after some time (say for half an hour) make a collect
call (at public phone dial a "0", get the operator & ask for a collect
call). You may purchase a calling card like AT&T from shops in airport. In
case there’s no reply, you may 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
- 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
- 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.
In case you are lost or nobody
came to pick you up or if you just want to make a
call, you can buy a calling card from stores in the
airport. They generally come in denominations from
$5 to $20. You can use the toll-free number (starts
with 1-800, 866, 877 or 888) listed on the card to