Travelling to the United States is an increasingly popular topic among Europeans. This is due to many factors, including the curiosity that the country arouses in most of us. America is quite a “different world” – this country is very different from your native ones , and it is more than eight thousand kilometers away from us, which makes some people afraid, others even excited. If you want to be in the United States, undoubtedly you have to prepare for a long, often expensive journey by plane. Holiday in this country is not the cheapest, but visitors will surely remember it for the rest of their lives. Is it worth going to the United States? What do you need to bring with you on such a journey? What documents will you need to leave your destination airport in America without any problems? You will find the answers to these questions, as well as a lot of useful information, in our text!
Flights to the United States
When it comes to flights to the United States directly from our country, the biggest airports offer many opportunities. In addition, a significant part of direct flights is directed to the East Coast of the USA. You can fly to the airports: Chicago O’Hare, New York – JFK, Newark, and Miami .
The offer of flights to the United States is slightly different when considering the layover. This significantly broadens the possibilities, and also allows you to find a much better price, sometimes with a slight increase in travel time. The so-called “cheap flights” to the U.S. (with a layover), arousing interest of a growing group of keen travellers, offer airlines such as: American Airlines USA, Emirates USA, Brussels Airlines USA or Norwegian USA.
Airports in the USA
It is not difficult to guess that the United States far outnumbers other countries in the world in terms of the number of airports. This is the country you want to travel to, year after year it attracts more and more tourists. It is not surprising that the largest airport in the world is also located in the United States. It is undeniably the airport Atlanta – Hartsfield-Jackson, where the total number of passengers (data from 2017) is 103 902 922. Big airports in the United States are also airports: Los Angeles, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth and New York JFK.
What kind of visa to the U.S.?
The most popular visas to the United States applied for are B-1/B-2 temporary residence visas. The first one, i.e. B-1, is intended for people who travel to the United States for business purposes. Certainly it will be suitable for a person who aims to consult with business partners, participate in conferences (both business and scientific), regulate property issues, and negotiate contacts. The B-2 time visa is dedicated to persons whose travel is of a recreational nature, i.e. tourism, visits, treatment, as well as social, service or corporate activities. B-1 and B-2 visas are very often combined and issued as one B-1/B-2 visa.
Section 214(b) of INA states that every person applying for a B-1/B-2 temporary resident visa is an immigrant. If you are applying for this document, you must therefore prove to the consular officer that you qualify for a visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act. In order to obtain a visa, you should therefore be able to demonstrate that you are going to the USA for temporary, non-staying, illegal residence. The consular officer must be able to ensure that you return to your home country, otherwise the visa application will be rejected. It is also important to prove that you have the financial means to cover your expenses in the USA. You should also provide proof of your permanent residence outside the United States and your family, social and economic ties to your country of residence, which may ensure that you leave the United States at the end of your stay.
Visa to the USA – necessary documents
When applying for a service/tourist visa, the relevant documents must be submitted. One of these is the electronic application form for a nonimmigrant visa (DS-160), which is required throughout the procedure. A passport with an expiry date of at least six months beyond the intended stay in the U.S. is also an important document. If you are applying for a visa, you will also need a suitable photograph for your U.S. visa. It should be 2″ x 2″ in size. (50 mm x 50 mm) and be current, i.e. not older than six months. You should also bring with you a confirmation of an appointment via the website (http://ustraveldocs.com/pl_pl/pl-niv-appointmentschedule.asp).
Applying for a visa step by step
How should I actually apply for an American visa, step by step? First, you will need to fill out an electronic application form for a nonimmigrant visa (DS-160). The next step is to pay the fee for processing the visa application. Payment is possible through online payment by debit or credit card. Another way is to make an online bank transfer or to pay the applicant in cash at the bank. There is also a third option, which is to pay in cash under “My Accounts”. Once you have paid for the processing of your application, you will need to make an appointment (via the website). During this procedure, you will need three information: passport number, payment confirmation number and 10-digit bar code number from the confirmation page of the DS-160 form. The next step is to visit the U.S. Embassy/ Consulate on the day and time of the appointment. It is important to carry with you: a printout of your appointment confirmation, a printout of your DS-160 form submission, the appropriate visa photograph, and your current passport (and previous passports). Without these documents, your application will not be considered.
American visa – supporting documents
On the basis of the visa application form itself, as well as an interview with a consultant, it is possible to accept or reject the visa application. In most cases, no additional documents are required, but the applicant can bring them with him/her if he or she thinks they will be helpful during the meeting. During the interview, the consular officer shall take into account the applicant’s intentions, family circumstances, as well as long-term plans and prospects in the country of residence. Each case shall be examined individually, in accordance with the law.
For most people, no additional documents are required, but sometimes they are necessary. For example, if your stay in the U.S. has ever been extended or your visa status has changed, you should inform the official about it and provide any relevant certificates. This is also different if you have ever been arrested or convicted of any misdemeanor or crime. If the event took place outside our country, it is mandatory to bring a “criminal record inquiry” and a court judgment or prosecutor’s decision issued by the competent authorities of the country where the event took place. Remember: all documents must be submitted with their English translation.
Throughout the process of applying for a U.S. visa, one basic rule must be observed: it is prohibited to submit false documents. Please note that fraud or misrepresentation, regardless of its purpose, may result in a permanent ban on applying for a visa, which means going to the United States. You do not need to be afraid for your own personal or confidential information, the entire visa process is safe for them.
The treatment in the U.S. – necessary certificates
The situation is somewhat different with regard to those who are applying for a visa allowing them to be treated in the US. In addition to the documents mentioned above, and those required by the consular officer, they are required to submit several other certificates. One of them is a letter with a medical diagnosis from the doctors who are treating the patient. This should include a description of the ailment and the reason for choosing the United States as the place of treatment. You will also need a letter from your doctor or health care provider in the U.S. that certifies that you have a place in the U.S. where you will be admitted (it should include the expected length and cost of treatment). In addition to these documents, a statement from the person/organization to pay for transportation, accommodation, and medical procedures will also be useful. This document should be accompanied by proof of financial standing, e.g. bank statements, or other written guarantee of income or savings. The statement may include copies of tax returns certified to be in conformity with the original.
Customs clearance and control – how to go through it?
Following the rules in force in a given place greatly facilitates the course of various types of procedures and saves unnecessary nerves, both on one side and the other. It is not difficult to guess that airports also have their own requirements, which must be fulfilled in order to be on board an aircraft. This applies not only to the appropriate behavior or presentation of documents, but also to hand luggage and checked-in baggage. Without proper control, a passenger will not be able to board. So it is worth to “prepare” for it, so as not to waste time and nerves.
There is a specific list of things that you cannot carry in your luggage. The United States, as one of the leading countries in the world, also have its own rules. What, apart from “forbidden items” for every journey, cannot be transported to the USA?
Food from your own country at the U.S. airport?
On your journey to the United States you can take almost all the food products you buy in your country. Remember, however, that they should be originally packaged – so you will avoid problems during customs clearance. When transporting any product, even if it is on the list of “allowed articles”, you should mark the cross in the appropriate place on the customs declaration filled in on board the plane. This will also allow you to go through the clearance procedure without undue fuss.
It is forbidden to transport unprocessed animal products to the USA. All “home-made” sausages or sausages should therefore remain in the fridge. At airports in the United States there are specially trained dogs that will easily detect any animal products in your baggage. As far as meat products are concerned, only originally packaged cans. You can bring with you cabbages and their similars as well. It is also important to have a sticker with the name on it, which should indicate that there is processed meat in the packaging, which is also intended to be stored outside the refrigerator.
Raw fruits and citrus fruits such as apples, cherries, bananas and oranges, as well as vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots, cannot be transported to the United States. Seedlings, flowers and vaccinations as well as other “live” plants will also be confiscated. So it is NOT worth to take the garden for a trip to the USA.
Alcohol, cigarettes and cigar versus customs clearance
When it comes to alcohol (wine, tinctures, beer, etc.), only adults can transport it to the USA. Remember that under U.S. law, an adult must be at least 21 years of age (on the day of crossing the U.S. border), not 18. According to official information on the government website, you should transport alcohol only for “personal use” – larger quantities of alcohol can be brought to the attention of customs officers and ultimately be cleared for customs duty. Legitimate documents state that a maximum of 1 litre of alcohol per person is not subject to customs duty. It is also worth knowing that alcohol purchased in duty-free shops at the airport is subject to the same laws as a beverage purchased in any other shop in your country. Home-made alcohol in appropriate quantities is also not confiscated. However, bottles should have stickers informing about the type of alcohol contained in them, written in English.
Cigarettes are other drugs that many people are considering transporting. The law clearly states that 200 cigarettes can be transported from Europe to the United States. It is possible to transport loose tobacco intended for smoking, but you should remember about reasonable quantities of it (similarly as with alcohol). The number of cigars allowed to be transported is 100 – excluding Cuba, which has received an embargo on the export of this product.
Forwarding medicines to the United States
As we learn from the official website, you can bring to the U.S. with you almost all the medicines that you can buy in an european pharmacy without a prescription. However, they must be in their original packaging. In the document you can read that the allowed amount of medicines is “the amount for personal use”. However, it cannot exceed the demand for a period longer than 90 days. As far as the type of over-the-counter medicines is concerned, it is allowed to transport various types of vitamins and supplements, as well as dried or powdered herbs, packed of course originally.
The situation is somewhat different with regard to specialised medicines, i.e. prescription drugs. Of course, you can transport them to the United States, but they are subject to certain restrictions, which should be checked. All specialist medicines, such as antibiotics, morphine and psychotropic drugs, are only sold upon presentation of a valid prescription. This document is required at the airport, either in its original version or in a copy issued by a doctor. The prescription should contain the exact amount of tablets (doses) that the patient needs for his or her stay in the United States. Don’t underestimate this requirement – customs control takes place after the collection of all luggage, so the attempt to hide the drugs will certainly be unsuccessful.
A trip to America – health issues
If you are a traveler who leaves at least once a year, you will certainly realize that you need to prepare yourself properly for each trip. Apart from the suitcase, where everyone packs what they need for their stay abroad, it is also worth taking care of a more formal matters as well. When going to the United States, you are not obliged to have travel insurance, which is required in some countries. Despite this, it is worth to buy health insurance. It is best to get them in one of the well-known companies that have a representative office in America. Health care in the United States is not considered to be the best, but nevertheless, it is worth buying insurance. Without it, in case of illness, you have to reckon with really high costs. Before leaving for America, you are not required to undergo additional vaccinations.
Traveling in the USA – basic information
The United States is undoubtedly one of the most attractive countries in the world. Every year they are becoming the destination of more and more travellers. The exceptionally attractive places for tourists not only attract attention, but also encourage you to visit America again. There are so many interesting and unique areas and points in the U.S. that sometimes it’s really hard to decide where to start your journey. Before you set off on a sightseeing tour, you should decide on one of the two most popular solutions for traveling, which will make it much easier to plan your trip later. The first one is renting a car, the second one is cheap flights after arriving in the USA.
While going on a trip, planning to visit specific places, you should pay attention to the weather forecast. The vast area that this country occupies, the diversity of climate is extreme. So, before visiting a particular place, it is worth looking for information about it. This will make it much easier to prepare for the journey. Remember also that in winter it is much easier to find cheap flights to America, offered by various airlines.
What is worth seeing in the United States? – a short guide
One of the most popular cities in the USA, very popular among the tourists, is Las Vegas, Nevada. The place attracts travelers with its mysterious atmosphere, luxury and world-famous performances of artistic groups.
An equally popular place, this time in Arizona, is the Grand Canyon of Colorado. It is undoubtedly the most famous natural attraction in this country. For many years, the sight of this natural masterpiece delights tourists and adventurers from around the world.
The third point that should be included in the list of all travelers in the United States is Times Square in New York City. It is without a doubt the never-sleeping heart of the city, constantly bustling with life, where you can meet even celebrities.
If you are interested in natural wonders, you should definitely visit Yellowstone National Park. There are hundreds of active geysers, mud volcanoes, beautiful waterfalls, hot springs, mountains, wild forests and crystal clear lakes. The park is also home to a variety of animal species. Yellowstone is undeniably one of the places that delight tourists regardless of the season.
Anyone who loves the metropolitan climate, leaving for the U.S., must necessarily visit San Francisco, a city located in the state of California. It’s an amazing place, full of chaos, living its own life and everyone is falling in love with it. Every year it attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks include the Golden Gate Bridge, the island of Alcatraz and the famous historic trams.
A lot of fun in the U.S.A.
The United States is not a country that should only be visited. You also need to find time to have fun. The USA has a whole range of different cultures and customs. Country dancing, a trip to the outskirts or an all-night party in a great club are just some of the many opportunities to spend time in this country. Some native tourists also decide to do crazy shopping in gigantic shopping centres, where you can find branded products at lower prices than in Europe. Remember, however, to buy only “for your own use”, so that on the way back the goods will not be cleared.
A trip to the United States – is it worth it?
The United States still remains a dream destination for tourists. Thanks to the diversity of this country, everyone will find something for themselves. It’s not difficult to fall in love with the USA, which is why a large percentage of tourists who have visited the country, after some time wants to return to those areas. A trip to the United States, although expensive, is absolutely worth the price. It is a real treat for travel fans and adventurers. In the United States you really can not get bored! Certainly, it is worth to visit this country and stay in it for some time to be able to learn as much as possible about the different American culture.