Thursday, 20 October 2011

Checklist for IMGs days before US travel

Things to do if you are traveling to US for interviews directly from home country

1. Confirm airline tickets and travel policies.

2. Have a physical list of your contacts in addition to them being on a smart phone or phone address book. Phones and devices get lost and then you are stranded with no contact information.

3. You can get roaming SIM cards to use in a cell phone. Having a cell phone in US is not only a convenience issue but also a safety issue.

4. Make sure that you have a little down time before interviews. You need to be refreshed and in the proper mind set for interviews, jet lag will affect your performance.

5. Read up about the institutions, programs and the faculty. Research the programs. If you have a letter or list of faculty that you are going to be interviewed by, read about their bio on the web page.

6. Well thought out answers for common interview questions. Jot down your answers for commonly asked residency interview questions, some examples are
a. Why did you decide to become a doctor?
b. What was your experience in medical school?
c. Why would you like to come to this city/hospital/program?
d. What do you perceive your strengths/weaknesses to be?
e. Do you have any questions?

The list is not comprehensive but a start, for list of more questions – check here. Spend sometime to make your answers unique. Generic answers will evoke generic responses.

7. Carry some extra cash with you, but if possible get a Visa or Mastercard that you can use universally. Universal credit card.

8. Dress appropriately. Have heavy winter wear when you come to US. Many parts of the US are colder than the tropics (even in the south, it can be as cold as 5 to 10 degree C).

The following is from wikitravel and found it particularly relevant to FMGs traveling to USA for the first time.

9. Before arrival, you will receive a white I-94, keep it safe!

10. You will go through a short interview at immigration, where the official will try to determine if the purpose of your visit is valid. Just like when obtaining the visa, of most concern to immigration officials is to determine that you have the funds to support yourself, and that you do not intend to work or perform any activity not authorized by the your visa. Be prepared to show proof. Have the interview invitation letter from the hospital/program you are visiting.

11. Once they decide to let you in, you are fingerprinted and a digital photograph is taken. 

12. Your entry forms will need to state the street address of the location where you will be staying; this should be arranged in advance. You must provide the street name and number. If staying in multiple locations, provide the address where you will be spending the first night of your stay. Make sure you have their contact details (especially phone numbers where they can be reached immediately), and save any text messages or emails in which your hosts mention inviting you to stay at their residence.

13. There are additional security measures dubbed US-VISIT that will currently requires all non-resident aliens to be fingerprinted and photographed upon their entry. This is applicable at a majority of land, sea, and air entry ports. Check the website dhs.gov/usvisit for more information.

14. Once you are admitted, the departure portion of your I-94 will be stapled to your passport. SECURE I-94 DOCUMENT as it is the only proof you have that you are lawfully present in US.

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