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Traveling is unbelievingly exciting but can be very scary if it is your first time. There can be loads of unanswered questions. Below are some of the helpful tips to make your first time travelling as hassle free and as easy to organize as possible.

  • Do not leave things unattended or with a stranger particularly at airports and terminals.
  • Travel insurance will cover emergency medical needs, baggage protection, travel accident protection. Ask the travel advisor about it.
  • Valuables such as camera or jewellery to be hidden away with the rest of your essential documents either in a money belt or a safe.
  • All zipped sections of the backpack to be kept locked together
  • It is most reliable to deal with authorized agents especially while handling money.
  • Remember to book your first nights’ accommodation before you arrive at your destination.
  • Carry a guide book of the destination country to understand the layout of the town or city.
  • It is always advisable to arrive during the day, if you are travelling alone.
  • Be alert in the country of arrival and dress in clothes that blend with crowds to be free from any hassles.

 Travel Budgeting

A good pre- trip research will make it easier to work out a realistic budget. Work out how much you would need on a daily basis for food and accommodation and any other activities as per the requirement. Take atleast two forms of payments – mixture of cash, card or travellers cheque. Use a money belt to carry the bulk of your money and your important documents. Take a wallet for loose spending and day to day spending.

Carry only as much as you need for the day and in poorer countries always carry small denominations and make sure you keep them safe. Travellers cheques are another safe and hassle free way of carrying money – but just remember to keep record of numbers separate to your cheques. Credit cards are indispensable and can be used to withdraw local currency from cash machines worldwide. It is a flexible and safe way to carry money and it is a good way of paying for last minute airfares, and slap up meals. Using your bank card will avoid problems of running into huge credit card bills and bank cards can be used in ATMs across the world.

Travel Packing

Preparing properly for a trip is unbelievably important, not only when and where to go, but also what you take with you, including who you take with you. Be sure to check luggage weight and size limits for certain airlines and countries. A basic first aid kit is important. Items to pack could include pain killers, bandages, travel sick pills, mosquito repellent, and even emergency diarrhoea remedies. Take purification tablets or a water element in case you are travelling to places where tap water is not safe to drink. Be prepared for any climate. This means to take an extra pair of clothes in your hand baggage and in case your airlines loses your bag, you can have a clean change of clothes this way.

Travel Documentation

Take out adequate travel insurance and check that the cover is appropriate. Have a valid passport and the necessary visas. Take photo copies of your passport, visa and travel insurance and leave it with someone reliable at home. This could help during contingency misplacement of official document.

Passport and Visa

A passport and a Travel Visa is now required for all International Travel. These are documents indicating that a person has been authorized to enter a country and often come in the form of a sticker or stamp attached to the passport.

Documents required to apply for visa

Before you can apply for your F-1 student visa for the USA, you must apply to and be accepted by a school approved by the SEVP. Once you’re accepted, you will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee in order to be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Then, your school will provide you with a letter called the Form I-20. This form will be presented to the consular officer when you attend your F-1 visa interview. If your spouse and/or children plan to reside in the USA with you while you study, they will be required to have individual Form I-20s, but they will not need to be enrolled in the SEVIS.

Applying for the F-1 student visa may vary depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate you are dealing with. You will be required to pay a non-refundable visa application fee. There is an online visa application available, which allows you to complete and print the Form DS-160 to take to your F-1 visa interview.

You can schedule your F-1 visa interview with the U.S. embassy or consulate. Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so applying for your VISA a little earlier than expected is advisable. An F-1 student visa for the USA can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. You will only be able to enter the US with an F-1 visa 30 days before your start date. The following documents are required for your F-1 visa interview:

  • A valid passport
  • The Non-immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
  • The application fee payment receipt
  • A passport photo
  • A Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status (Form 1-20)

Additional documents may be requested to prove your eligibility for the F-1 student visa, and they include academic transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates. Scores of standardised tests such as TOEFL, SAT, GRE or GMAT may also be requested, as well as proof of your intent to depart the U.S. after your program is complete and proof of your financial stability. It is to note that the test that needs to be taken depends on the specification of the university.

Your F-1 visa interview will determine whether you are qualified to receive an F-1 student visa for the USA. Assuming that you have collected the appropriate documents and meet all of the F-1 visa requirements, your visa will be approved at the discretion of the consular officer. You may also be required to pay a visa issuance fee. Digital fingerprint scans will be taken for records. Your passport will be taken so that you can get your visa and you will be informed when you can get it back, either by pick-up or in the mail.

Keep in mind that visa issuance is not guaranteed even if you get an admit from the place of your study. Never make final travel plans until you have your visa approved. If your visa is denied, you will be given a reason based on the section of law which applies to your ineligibility. Filing a waiver of ineligibility is possible in some cases.

Financial Documents Required

Students applying for F-1 status must show documentary evidence to prove that enough funds are readily available for the first year of expenses. All financial documents must be dated and less than 6 months old. It should indicate the type and amount of currency.  English translation of the documents must be provided. If you have a family sponsor and the bank account is not in the student’s name, then a statement signed by the sponsor or account holder should be available. The statement should address the Students name, Account holder relationship to the student for whom support is provided, and the account holders’ ability to financially support the student during the period of study. In some cases, an affidavit template can be filled and signed.

An official bank statement for checking the account, a savings account, stock holding, and or a certificate of deposit usually needs to be submitted for use. An official bank letter on the bank’s letterhead, indicating the account holders name, the date the account opened and the average balance and the current balance is also requested. A scholarship or sponsorship letter verifying the amount, source and date of the students’ award will be provided by the university in case the candidate becomes eligible for a scholarship.

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