Visiting the United States, for most people, comes with a lot of excitement. No doubt, the USA is one of the most visited countries in the world and the majority aspire to come to the US one time or the other. A strive to come to the United States is, maybe, more for Africans especially because if the state of the economy in most African nations which are not good. Even if it is just for holidays, coming to the US for most people heightens their status, basically because getting a visa to be admitted into the US is one of the toughest things to come by.
Of course, you must have been through the visa huddle before you start deepening your plans to travel at all. So, this post will be all based on the assumption that you have been given a visa to travel. Having an open mind that visa issuance is not a guarantee for entrance into the US is advised. This will help to know that you might face another questioning close to that of the US embassy just at the port of entry in the United States before being cleared to officially enter the country.
It will not be a big deal and it will not probably be different from what you have been asked at the visa issuance interview but ensuring that the answers given are not contradictory will be of help. You just see as someone making sure you are who you say you are before allowing you into his yard. It is that simple. Though most airports of entry will ask some basic questions before granting you entry, some ports are known specifically to be tougher than others.
Before getting right into it, one quick thing to note is that your preparation will depend on the kind of journey being made. How you prepare when it’s a holiday visit or tourism trip or conference trip will be different from when it is immigration travel or when you are going for studies, and that is basically because the duration of stay differs for each visa type.
Visiting for a short time
Of course, you know already that having a visa still does not confirm your entry. While there are still things you must do, there are things you MUST NOT DO. Haven heard of the good news that you are visiting the USA, there will always be that one person who will want you to help deliver some items to someone in the USA. Most times, people forget that some of the 50 states in the US are as big as some countries, and the distance between some states could be as long as traveling back to Africa.
If possible, and which should be possible, do not bring with you any package from anyone else. There had been instances where some people were denied entry because of packages given to them to deliver to someone else. There are courier services that do this, so it does not have to be you. If at all you must do it, ensure to know what you are carrying and avoid food items at all costs.
For health reasons, the United States does not encourage bringing foodstuffs from other countries, except through the right means and with FDA approval. As funny as it might sound, there is almost no food item in any African country that you will not find in the US. It could be a little pricy, though, but you will have it.
If you must buy any item in Nigeria to give as a gift to anyone in the US, ensure that you do not unsown cloth. It could appear pleasant to give “Adire”, “Lace” or “Ankara” to people as a gift, but if not sown, it won’t be valued that much because sowing in the US is very expensive and most people do it from Nigeria. If you want to do cloth, ensure it is that which will require no sowing or already sown. Avoid bringing food items too as they do not usually get through the airport.
Choosing the right airline to use is not difficult. Most people use agents to do that for them, but you can as well do that yourself. There are about nine airlines that fly from Nigeria, for instance, and the cheapest, if it is not the general holiday coupon periods, will like to be Ethiopian Airlines or Royal Air Maroc. If you must choose between these two if you are on a budget, please let it be Royal Air Maroc. From experience, the airline is not bad at all. What could be the only con will be the food on the plane which is not Nigerian friendly.
There is no direct flight from Nigeria to the US, so there will be some stopover in the home country of your airline and that could make your transit which would have been about 12-13 hours be as long as 18-24 hours, and in some cases, more. So be ready and ensure to make the best of your stopover time in whatever country you get to. For Morocco, you will enjoy your stay in their beautiful airport before your eventual take-off.
The three most popular states in the US visited by tourists are New York, Florida, and California. New York is the most visited state in the US with about 60 million people visiting annually. New York has astonishing tourist places and the most visited place in the world, Times Square, is in New York. I must say that New York City has very lovely places to tour like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, historic neighborhoods, and numerous world-famous museums.
Another city to visit in the US is the state capital and the seat of power- Washington DC. The District of Columbia as alternatively called is the home to the three arms of government in the US- legislative, executive, and judicial. Of course, that is where the White House is. DC is about the most diversified city in the US. That is a city where you will find people from every nation of the world. Starting from the next edition, each of the three most visited states and DC will be discussed, starting with the District of Columbia in an edition titled “Let’s go to DC”.