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August 20, 2007

Those of you travelling to the US for employment or studies probably have tons of questions, such as:

What should you do when entering the country?

What do really need to know about adjusting to a new culture?

Dr Arun Vakil, US visa expert, chatted with Get Ahead users on August 10 about US visas, immigration and travelling.

For those of you who missed the chat, here's part one of the transcript:

Gaurav asked, Does applying for Green card more faster when i am on l1 versus H1B

Dr Arun Vakil answers,
It should be the same but a lot depends on your individual case and situation. It's too difficult to say without knowing more. 

Madhu asked, My VISA is being processed and my company says they are waiting for the petition to be received. My Questions are: 1. how long would it normally take to receive the petition? 2. Since i have to clear client interview and only then will the company apply for VISA interview, how long would be my wait once they apply for VISA interview in November?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
Could be anybody's guess. But which visa category you are talking about? You have to be specific in your question.

Maya123 asked, 
I have two young kids both 2+ years old as there are no domestic helps over there will there be any specific problems in handling the kids?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
America offers two options. There are Day Care facilities where you can leave children while you are away for work or study. Secondly, domestic help is available from local Indian, Bangladeshi, Phillipino and Korean community. Beware, child-care is expensive in the US. 

Iamhere asked, My cousin is going on a H1 B to Us ,how safe is it for a gilr to stay alone there and what the things that a women should bear in mind ,what are pro's and con's

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
It all depends on which area of the US is your cousin going. In the US, children over 16-17 leave home, become independent and survive alone and face life. Foreign visitor girls should be a mixture of confident and careful, make mature decisions and do not get carried away by all the independence.

asoka asked, i wish to buy a second hand car over there. I have an indian licence.Is there a real neccesiity in having a UIs licence in buying a car there or is the international licence obtained from india Good enough??

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
International License from India works only temporarily. Once you settle in a particular city and state, you have to obtain a local license for your regular driving and commuting.

asoka asked, as part of my IT profession, i would be staying in Ohio for2 years.What are the survival tips that you would b giving, given that i am single and vegetrain!!

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
Ohio is a good state to start a new life and the big-city tensions are less. There are many vegetarian restaurants throughout the US now and one can easily cook vegetarian food. That is not a problem. Try to mix with a local Indian Association; that will make you oriented towards local culture and expose you to vegetarian food and Indian community.

Maya123 asked, I would be going on H1B Visa from Infosys [Get Quote], will I able to resign from Infosys there and take up a job in an american company and get my Visa transferred accordingly? What are the common hitches in this process?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
Yes, you can do this after 90 days of completion with original employer. There are no hitches, but keep your old employer happy and inform them about your decision

george asked, how would you say about american culture as compared of India ?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
There is no direct comparison as lifestyle,  living conditions and family values are very different. The choice depends on you as to which culture is most suitable to you.

Zahid asked, Dear Sir as my quistion is above that how i can do my study abroad for Office administration or Hotel management with a part time job???? please answer me\

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
You can do only 20 hours of work per week and it must be on campus. Also, you need the permission of the foreign student advisor at your university.

vailkil asked, I'm leaving for us soon on H1B visa. How do I take money into US? Can I open a bank account and deposit there? Will it be taxed? I'm worried about double taxation. Please advice best ways to taking money into US

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
You can carry $10,000 with you when you go to the US. Open a bank account after you settle into a permanent residence. Your funds will not be taxed. Only income which is earned in the US is taxed. There is no double taxation.

clandin asked, what is the point of movign to america/ won't you lose good indian values by leaving indai?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
This is a matter of individual choice

Hpatel asked, Do I require appointment for my dependant , I have their VISA fee receipt .I want stamping with same interview .or if i have no appoint than can i go with my dependant

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
You have to take appointment for your dependent. You cannot go without appointment. Consult your closest VFS office.

chirag asked, Hi, Mr Vakil, I would like to know what are the options for dependent children's education of H1-B visa parents Thanks Chirag

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
They can attend school as any normal child living in the US.

valent asked, will conservative indian be ridiculed in us? possible to find indian food?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
No. There are many Indian restaurants in the US now.

Chaldi asked, What's the best part of american education?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
High level of education material, excellent faculty, fabulous research facilities, great flexibility of the system and independence in method of study

pol asked, sir, will i be asked qustions about enter of US. What question to expect?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
At port of entry in the US, you will be asked the objective of your visit, your intended duration of stay, place of stay and relatives in the US, if any.

PatelH asked, I have submitted my Degree Certificate to my consultant instead of security deposit ,If VO ask for it and may issue 221g , and later I manage to show my degree ,than will they stamp my H1B

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
Yes, if you show the Degree certificate with other required documents, you are ok. But why did you give Degree certificate to consultant? It does not make sense.

ashley asked, sir what is the future of H1B visas for the nxt few wyears? any chance that quote will increase?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
There are lobbies in Washington DC, some for increase in quota and some against increase. 2008 is the year of presidential elections and therefore any change may happen only in early 2009

Madhu asked, invariably she has to wait till 2009 for her to start working if i apply for H1 next year then ...

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
If application is made in April 2008, and if approved, the earliest one can start working would be some time in October-November 2008.

aman asked, Dr Arun My H1-B has approved for this year.I've 2 questions: 1) How many years H1-B VISA is VALID? 2) Can i do the stamping on my H1-B next year or do i have to get it stamped before next year cycle.(Oct-2008)???

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
H1B visa is generally valid for six years. If you are in the US you can stay there during this period. However, if you depart from the US, you have to go to your home country for stamping and then re-enter the US.

piti asked, i am a CA by profession..wanna go should i approach ? need i do higher studies for doing job there ?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
It is totally up to you. If a company gives you job on your present background, they can petition for you. If not, then you can go as student, undertake higher study and then look for a job. Prospects are better in the second option.

chirag asked, Hi, Mr Vakil, I would like to know further that since H1-B visa has max validity of 6yrs & if till that time I don't get green card. Do my dependent children have to come back with me leaving their school. Thanks, Chirag

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 

asoka asked, What are the necessary things for person going to US ,which could be taken from india and which are expensive over there ,especially for a working women or men. I would be moving to Dayton, Ohio for 2 years!

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
Take personal needs such as medicines and clothes for at least a year's requirement.

Iamhere asked, which is the best mode to carry money to Us while travelling or staying there for a first time visit.Since we willnt ahev an account there in local bank need to safe guard it ?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
Take in form of Traveller's Cheques.

PatelH asked, Can Consulate reject my dependant VISA application though I got stamp for H1B ?

Dr Arun Vakil answers, 
Rarely. Unless you are earning inadequate salary to meet requirements of dependent family members.

 Part II: Tomorrow

Dr Arun Vakil is a US visa expert and author of the book Gateway to America. He can be contacted at


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