• Things to Take with You -
    1. Passport
    2. Admission Letter.
    3. Flight ticket printout.
    4. Proof of foreign residence (rental agreement or hostel registration documents).
    5. I94 (electronic), Customs Declaration Form.
    6. Marriage certificate (if you are married) and birth certificates for all family members who are going to USA.
    7. I-20’s for F1 Visa students from your school, and I-20's from different schools in case you are planing to get a transfer.
    8. I-797 approval for H1B Visa (Not applicable for Students on F-1 Visa).
    9. Couple of bank statements (or the ones you used for your visa), proof of financial support.
    10. Any other documents, like certifications, papers, presentations, reports, etc.
    11. Academic documents, such as the school's course catalog and other material you received from the school you going to attend
    12. Your own Business cards or Business cards of your key contacts in the US.
    13. If possible buy a $5 calling card and take it with you to make emergency calls, if need be.
    14. Funds for the trip; $5 and $10 bills (currency notes) (to rent baggage carts in airports, etc).
    15. The International Driving permit if you have it. However, it is rarely usable and not really recommended.
    16.  International Youth Hostel Card if you have it.
    17.  It might be worthwhile to bring several spare sets of passport photographs in case you need to get a new passport or visa. 
    18. At some universities, you will be asked to show the original Mark Sheets after completing orientation, So carry all documents (transcripts, degree certificate, course completion certificate, Provisional, Mark sheets).
    19. Extra copies of Recommendation letters and transcripts (signed and sealed) (with English translations) will be required of you want to apply for new set of schools. It will be huge hassle for you to get recommendation letters fromyour own country while you are in USA. So, get few extra copies before you leave. 
    20. A list of the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of key contacts, both in the US and at home, including the contact information for friends and family who live in the US.
    21. Medical and dental records, including immunization and vaccination records and prescriptions, eyeglasses, insurance records. 
    22. If you use medications that contain narcotics or which are administered by syringe, carry a signed prescription from your physician with the medicine. Also tell your physician that about your upcoming visit to the US, since he may have to prescribe alternate medications. (Some controlled substances are prohibited, even in medicine.) Penalties for smuggling narcotics are severe.

    • Photocopies to be Left Back at Home -
      1. Passport pages
      2. contact number of the person who will pick you form the airport
      3. US visa
      4. I-20
      5. Transcripts
      6. Passport size photo.
      7. Signatures in check books
      8. Leave couple of  signed papers (empty) with your parents, if in case they want your signature for Bank or other needs.
      9. Copy of your travel details
      10. Make two photocopies of any important document. Leave one copy at home, and bring one copy with you, but keep it separate from the originals.

    •  Caution Tips -
      1. Don’t laminate I-20 (if you do, you are inviting trouble).
      2. Carry all the documents in your  carry on bag (the one you take with you in the plane), Make sure you have all the legal documents handy.
      3. Don’t pack the documents in the bigger suit case that you will check-in. If the checked-in bags are lost, you will lose your documents.
      4. Don’t lose your cabin baggage which has all the essential documents in it.
      5. Don’t leave your bags with anyone even when you go to the restroom.
      6. Lock your (check-in) bags only with TSA Locks.
      7. Be careful, things get lost/stolen from USA to other countries (if bags get delayed).
      8. Don’t agree to take care of a stranger's luggage.
      9. Remember where you store you cabin bag in the plane. At times, there won’t be enough space keep it right above your head.
      10. If your flight to USA is delayed, don’t panic, your airlines will get you on next available flight.
      11. Make sure you know where you are going. You are *required* to provide an address in USA. If your apartment is not fixed, then you can provide your Graduate School or International School office address. 
      12. 99% of the time you will not have problems with carrying external hard disks (so you decide).
      13. Always carry one set of dress/clothes with you in your cabin bag.
      14. Sometimes it can take upto 2 hours to clear immigration and customs, so be patient.


          References -


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