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Preparations & Travelling to the USA

Preparing for your trip


Packing your Bags


We strongly recommend that you check with your airline well in advance of your flight/s to find out how many kilos they allow you per checked bag. This can range from 20 to 32 kilos per checked bag. All airlines allow you two checked bags and one carry-on for tourist or economy class travel.


It is a good idea to weigh all of your bags on at least two different scales, in case one scale is not accurate, and to make sure each checked bag is at least one-half kilo less than the maximum. That way, in case the scale at the airport check-in is a bit different from your scale at home, you should still be okay. Most airlines will charge you a very expensive fee if any of your bags is over the maximum weight.


It is recommended that you use a large backpack or rucksack for one of your checked bags, because you will have to carry your bags at times, and a backpack is easier to carry and more practical in most situations.


Make a list of the essential things you think you will need, and see if all of them will fit easily into your two checked bags. You will probably need to take at least a few things out, so it is useful to do this practice packing and list reviewing early, so you can be sure you have room and weight for the most important things.


In your small carry-on bag, include a pair of socks, underwear and an extra t-shirt or shirt, a mini-toiletry kit, a copy of your passport, visa, insurance and other important forms, information on how to contact our partner, a small bottle of water (you never know when you might need it), a few basic first-aid items, any medications you are taking and your prescription/s ( but not too many aspirins or some other usual pills) and any other critical items, in case your baggage gets lost or delayed(this doesn't happen often, but if it should happen to you, you'll be able to get by for a day or two until your bags arrive). Do not put any sharp or hazardous objects in your carry-on bag, as these are prohibited and will be removed by baggage security screeners. If you are in doubt about what is permitted or not, contact your airline for a complete list of things which are prohibited. Most airlines have this information available on their website.


You should have enough clothing for at least one week of work, as you might only have the time or opportunity to do your laundry once a week. Some job sites have coin-operated or free-of-charge washing machines for their staff to use, while other employers recommend that their staff do their laundry at a laundromat in a nearby town on their day or evening off. Ask your employer what the weather is usually like there in the summer, as the weather can vary a great deal in different parts of the U.S. Make sure you have a good hat to protect your head and face from the sun, good sunglasses, good footwear, and adequate rain gear.


Make sure that you have a secure name and address label, with a phone number, on each of your bags, both inside the bag, and on the outside. You should use your employer's address and phone number, because if your bags are delayed, they will be delivered to your employer.


You should do the final packing yourself, because you will probably be asked whether you or someone else packed your bags, and because you need to know exactly what is in your bags. You are responsible for them, and no one else. You should keep your bags with you at all times, and be careful not to leave them unattended at any time, even for a moment, from the time you finish your final packing, to the moment when you check-in.


Airport/airline security and checking-in


Regulations have become far stricter in the past few years, and you may experience delays when checking in and when going through the security checkpoints and baggage screening areas. Ask at AWT what time they recommend you arrive at the airport for check-in, and add at least a half hour to that, to give yourself some extra time.


Please keep in mind that security personnel and baggage screeners have a difficult and tiring job to do, and are responsible for checking thousands of passengers and pieces of baggage per day. You may be asked to open your bags and show what is inside, you may be asked questions about what you are taking with you and whether you packed your bags yourself or not and you may be asked to remove your shoes, belt or other items of clothing for closer inspection. If this happens to you, try not to take it personally, and remember that the security and screening personnel are there to ensure your safety and safe travelling.


If one or more of your bags doesn't arrive with you, you should report this immediately to the airline, before you leave the airport!


On the plane


On the plane you will receive some forms that you will have to fill in:


A.  Arrival/Departure Record (I-94), consisting of 3 parts:


1. General instructions for filling in the form.
2. You have to fill this in with your personal data:
•    family name
•    first name
•    birth date
•    country of citizenship
•    sex
•    passport number
•    airline and flight number
•    country where you live
•    city where you boarded
•    city where your visa was issued (Bucharest)
•    date of issuance
•    address while in the United States (employer or sponsor agency address)
3. This part also has to be filled in with some of your personal data. This part is the one that the immigration officer will attach to your passport upon entry in US.

B. The other form you will have to fill in is a custom declaration.


You will need the following documents in your handbag:
•    Passport
•    DS-2019 (do not unstaple the DS-2019 – the immigration officer will do that when entering the U.S.)
•    2 copies of your birth certificate
•    2 passport sized pictures
•    2 copies of your J-1 visa
•    medical insurance card (if you already received it)
•    2 copies of your DS-2019 (front and back) - you will make these copies only after you get in US ( after passing through customs)
•    2 copies of your I-94 - you will make these copies only after you pass customs so the officer can give you the I-94 form back
Make sure to keep a few copies of your documents in a safe place.

At the Airport in the USA


Timing:
When you arrive to the USA you will be requested to pass immigration and customs control. Please plan at least 1 hour for these procedures after your plane lands. In case that the custom officer asks you to open your bags in order to check them don't be panicked. He wants to assure that everything is OK, this is just a routine control.


Get ready for:
•    Fingerprinting and photographs to be taken
•    Answer where you are traveling
•    What are you going to do in the USA
•    How long are you going to stay in the USA


Airport Assistance
Information counters are located on the lower luggage claim level of all terminals. Uniformed agents will provide you with all the information needed


Safety Tips
•    Ignore offers of transportation from strangers at the terminal
•    Keep your belongings with you at all times
•    Keep your passport, DS-2019 form, I-94 form, money with you at all times
•    Ignore non-uniformed people offering to assist with baggage


Travelling to the job


You should contact your employer to find out which city to fly to and what time is good for the employer if he is picking you up. You should plan on arriving to the airport during normal business hours. Employers are not always available to pick students up, so you must be prepared to take public transportation from the airport if necessary. DO NOT FORGET to contact your employer before leaving Romania and ask him to provide you the travel details from the airport to the job site.