Travel

Ready to Taste America?

Well, this part is like a maze for the students travelling for the first time. For many of you visiting the USA for the first time is probably the first time when you will be travelling by a plane. There is nothing to worry about or to be scared of! We will explain you step by step what to do when you arrive at the airport in Sofia - how to check your luggage, how to get the boarding passes and we will give you helpful information about the immigration security check so you will arrive to your final destination without stress.

Choosing the right flight sometimes is like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are so many options! Here comes our assistance- your advisor will give you information about the nearest airport and other transportation options to your final destination. We will even assist you if you decide to change your returning date or change the departure airport. Remember to arrange your travel dates in accordance to the employment dates stated on your work permit and insurance card. And one more advice from us - think about in advance if you want to make a longer trip after the end of your employment dates. Many of the students travel right after they finish their jobs to places such as Miami, LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas and different cities on the East Coast. Before you purchase your ticket you can change it without any additional fees, but once you buy it some of the changes need additional surcharges. You will know beforehand the flight company conditions of your chosen plane ticket. We advise you to take into consideration several reservation suggestions before making your final decision in order for you to choose the best option.  This way you will have time to talk to your parents, employer and of course your friends with whom you are travelling and discuss with them which is the suitable option for you. Usually the ticket reservations are valid for 3-4 days so you will have time to pick the right one!

Important Tips:

If you are one of those students who wish to conquer not only America but nearby countries too you must know that you are allowed to enter and leave multiple times the state borders*. However, are allowed to do so only during the program dates stated on your work permit DS-2019 and with a written permission from your sponsor! Please note that according to your citizenship and program dates  your visa is valid by the last date of your work permit but before October 1st. In case you have plans to make trips outside the USA during your program you have to plan smart and at least a month before your preferable travel dates. Please contact your Work and Travel consultant and Sponsor in order to get all the information and the list of the documents that you will need for your future journey.

Do not forget to check the dates of your returning ticket and the departure airport and contact your Work and Travel Consultant in case you need to make any unforeseen changes. If you need assistance for hotel reservation, additional insurance or even rent a car assistance, you can contact our travel agency SUNNY HOLIDAYS, they will be happy to assist you! Do not forget to check the discount you can get using your ISIC card!

Ready, steady, go:

You are counting the days before your USA adventure begins. You have already completed the mandatory online orientation, your J-1 visa and plane ticket are ready to be used, you have contacted your employer and informed them about your arrival date.  Is there anything else you are missing?!

 

Organization of the trip

To contact my employer

We advise you to be in touch with your employer and inform them when your visa is approved. It is really important to inform them about your arrival date.

Some of the employers are able to arrange a pick-up service or at least they could advise you about the best transportation from the airport to the work place.

To check all housing opportunities

If your employer is not able to arrange you a housing you should find out all the possibilities for it beforehand. You can find an useful information in the Work and Travel groups at social networks.

To find out about the transportation from the airport to the workplace

Our advice is to arrange as much possible before the departure. Don’t leave such an important things in the hands of the destiny especially when you are surrounded by information sources as Internet and social medias. If your employer is not able to provide you travel instructions you can ask your work and travel adviser for useful tips.

To visit my doctor and dentist

We advise all of our Work and Travel participants to do a regular health check- up before their departure. Making an appointment with your GP and your dentist makes you sure that your health is in good condition.

Please note that your insurance policy provides extensive coverage against typical risks to international travelers, such as accidents, sudden illnesses and more. Since it is a travel insurance policy for a temporary stay abroad, some limitations and exclusions apply. As a general rule, most accidents and sudden illnesses are covered. The plan does not cover routine doctor visits, regular dental treatment, or any treatment for pre-existing conditions.

To complete the pre-departure online CIEE orientation

Our sponsor organization CIEE develop an online pre-departure orientation which is very easy to complete. It helps you to understand the important part of your stay in US, it gives you very important tips how to make your program the most memorable part of your university years and of course how to Conquer America! Contact your WAT advisor for more information.

To get my Travel Kit from Integral

As an agency with 26 years’ experience we know that travelling is not only baggage, ticket and visa. That’s why all our clients receive a special travel kit to make your travel experience better:

  • Plane ticket;
  • Travel instructions;
  • Baggage Tag;
  • DS-2019;
  • SEVIS payment slip;
  • Insurance Card;
  • Job Offer;
  • 24/7 emergency number with us;

Packing

Before leaving, make sure that you have all your necessary documentation with you, that you have provided copies of them to your parents. Double check the timetable of the additional transportation you need to use to get to your final destination and of course do not forget to double check the air company conditions for the baggage allowance.

Before getting to the airport you can write down your future worksite address in the USA on your complimentary baggage tag.

At Sofia airport there is a special packing service for suitcases – we recommend you to use it just to make sure your bags won’t be damaged or opened.

You are allowed to travel with once piece of luggage up to 23 kg (Do not forget to check the conditions of your flight company). The hand luggage normally is up to 10 kg with tentative sizes such as 55x40x24cm. You can travel plus an additional personal/ laptop bag.

Please remember there are restrictions for some items and you are not allowed to have them in your cabin baggage. Such are: Scissors, Umbrella, Other sharp objects, Liquids, Flammable items

*You can see the full list published on the official website of the company you are flying with.

You are allowed to bring some cosmetics but they should be in a travel size.

Remember that you are not allowed to bring any animal products, fruits and vegetables, plants and seeds!

Check List:

  • Passport;
  • DS 2019;
  • Job offer;
  • Pocket money $800 approx;

Don’t forget to make copies of your documents!

Check List

  • Passport
  • DS 2019
  • Job offer
  • Pocket money $1000 approx

Don’t forget to make copies of your documents

Bring your copies separate from the original documents.

Да си изтегля изпитите, за да мога догодина пак да замина

Travel and Arrival

During your flight to the USA you will be given a customs declaration. You need to fill it out carefully and if you have questions you can kindly ask the air hostess for assistance.
After landing you must pass the PASSPORT CONTROL- VISA HOLDERS. You must present your passport and documents as DS-2019, SEVIS payment receipt and job offer. You have them at your travel kit. Be prepared to answer to similar on your visa interview questions. There is nothing to worry about because this is a random procedure for all visa holders entering USA.
Afterwards you have to get your luggage, follow the signs Baggage Claim.
To find out on which baggage carousel to wait for your luggage check on the airport screens- right after your flight number you will see the number of the baggage carousel.

If your baggage is lost

If your bags are delayed, try not to panic. The airlines typically have ways to track them. If your bags are on the next flight, you could have them within a few hours. If they’ve been sent to a wrong airport, it could take a couple of days. Make sure to file your claim immediately at the airport and to give the attendant an address and a phone number where you can be reached.
The airlines will typically bring you your luggage when it is found. Additionally, many airlines will reimburse any unexpected expenses caused by the loss or delay (keep your receipts!).
Before you leave the airport, get a reference number for your claim and find out how to check on your bag’s status; some airlines have an online system while others will provide you with a phone number to call for updates.
If the airline loses your bags, make sure you get a written claim for damages. This may require a different form than the original “missing luggage” form.

Damaged Baggage
Once you’ve gotten your bags off the carousel, immediately check them for damage or other signs of tampering or mishandling. Report any damage before leaving the airport; airline customer service agents will often want to inspect the bag. Keep in mind that most airlines won’t cover minor wear and tear.

If you baggage arrived and there are no damages all you have to do is to pass the CUSTOM CONTROL- Nothing to declare (the green alley) and to present the declaration and your passport. 
Right after you need to exit the airport and to breath the american air!

Some of the employers offer airport/ bus station pick up service to the work site address or to the housing address in specific days and hours during the week. Sometimes the time-table of the international flights are after these hours and this the reason why you have to think about a short stay option.

Below you will find some tips.
Hostel
The cheapest options for short stay are the hostels. They are like dormitories- 4 to 8 beds in a room and a bathroom to share.

http://www.hostelworld.com/

http://www.hihostels.com/

http://www.hostelusa.com/

"Welcome to the USA and enjoy your stay here"- these are the words you will hear after your plane lands. We know that you will be excited and might forget some important steps you need to follow after you arrive in the States so that is why we are here to remind you of them:

•             call your parents :)

•             register in SEVIS: you have 10 days after the starting date of your program to register your arrival in SEVIS  - the Student Exchange Visitor Information System used by the U.S. Department of State to track all persons on student and exchange visitor programs in the country;

During your stay do not forget to:

•             apply for Social Security Card;

•             open a bank account in US bank;

•             check your e-mail regularly;

•             check your weekly working schedule and be a good employee;

•             double check the taxes deducted from your pay checks - as a WAT participant you should only pay Federal and State Taxes;

•             don’t forget to register your second job with your sponsor and make sure it is in accordance to the program rules;

Always remember you can count on us anytime you have questions!

ISIC card

What is ISIC CARD?

If you’re a full-time student at school, college or university and aged 12 or over, you can apply for a student card with ISIC.

The ISIC card allows students around the world to prove their official student status and access over 150,000 student discounts and offers worldwide.

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is the only internationally recognized proof of full-time student status issued in over 125 countries. It is endorsed by organizations such as UNESCO, the European Council on Culture and the Andean Community of Nations.

The card is recognized by universities, academic institutions, student organizations, national governments and ministries of education around the world. ISIC allows you access thousands of exclusive benefits around the world.

Benefits and discounts

Your card provides you with a wide range of discounts and special offers including travel, entertainment, education and software benefits. Discounts and benefits vary around the world so to make significant savings at home and when travelling abroad make sure your ISIC card goes everywhere with you!

  • Benefits on travel – special prices for airline and bus tickets, discounts on accommodation in hostels and hotels; discounts on travel insurance
  • Benefits abroad – more than 42 000 exclusive discounts worldwide at museums, cultural and historical sites, galleries, cinemas, theaters, restaurants, etc.
  • Benefits in Bulgaria – more than 1000 exclusive discounts on entertainment, shopping, restaurants, bars, sports, computers and communications, services, etc.
  • ISIC Connect - 24 hour free telephone line for emergency legal and medical assistance when travelling abroad

Who can have the card?

  • Full time students enrolled in Bulgarian or foreign colleges and universities
  • High-school students aged 12 years and above

What documents do I need to apply for the card?

University and college students should present:
  • Students in Bulgaria: actual statement from the educational institution or original student’s book with a copy of the first page and the page for the last semester
  • Students abroad: original and copy of the respective document, certifying status of full time student, issued by the educational institution;
School or high school students should present:
  • Student ID card or official notice or school report and a copy of the respective document
  • ID card or passport
  • photo

CARD VALIDITY
The ISIC card is valid one academic year, for example from 01.09.2018 to 31.12.2019
More information about the benefits in Bulgaria and worldwide available here http://isic.bg/en/discounts/discounts/search/?city=0&category=0&keyword=

Card Price: 15 leva

You will need only 5 minutes to get your ISIC, simply visit one of Integral’s offices!

Luggage insurance

Research from SITA, the makers of the World Tracer System and producers of an annual report on the state of baggage handling around the world, found that 21.6 million bags were mishandled (lost or temporarily mislaid) in 2016 a figure that translates as 5.73 bags per 1,000 passengers.

Of course get your baggage lost is one of the worst thing could happen.

The best thing you can do is to make a baggage insurance covering lost, stolen, delayed or damaged baggage and you will be compensated from 100 to 250 euros.

For more details ask your WAT advisor.

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