Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Traveling with Employment Authorization Document and Advance Parole card

Traveling between United States and India has never been a stressful journey for me until now. This time, I planned to return to United States without a Visa. Don't worry, I was not attempting an illegal entry. I have been issued Advance Parole (AP) and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card being in the last stage of Green Card process so I decided to enter United States this time on it.

 (Sample EAD-AP Card)
I was a bit nervous and a little confused because of incomplete information about the process as to what documents should I carry, what forms should I fill and what all other things need to be done to enter on EAD. Fortunately, everything went smooth and I was inside United States in no time. Surprisingly, at Chicago Airport, Immigration process took only 5 minutes with only 1 question asked: Who is sponsoring your Green Card and the answer was, my company. Before leaving United States, I remember talking to so many people and reading dozens of forums and articles on Internet that entering United States on EAD and Advance Parole is a stressful process. The Immigration officer checks your card and passport and then takes you to a separate room for further investigation which can take anything from 15 minutes to 3 hours. But for me, luckily, this was not the case. I spent more time standing in the line at Immigration than showing my EAD card and getting through the officer. But, this doesn't necessarily mean that it will be the same case for you or anyone else. It could be the city or the time of entry or perhaps USICS has finally made the process simple and quick, so just keep in mind that entering on EAD can be as smooth as my case or could be exhausting waiting room process.

Anyways, for you all who might still be confused or unsure of what the process is for traveling on EAD, I have tried to pen down everything below. One more thing you need to be very careful of is that not all European countries allow transit on EAD and Advance Parole only. Most of the European countries requires either a valid Visa stamped on passport with which you can re enter United States or you should be a Green Card holder or US Citizen. Flying from Amsterdam doesn't require above condition to be met so if you don't have a valid visa on passport and you are neither US citizen nor Green Card holder but you have valid EAD and Advance Parole card, you can travel. For all other European countries, please apply for Transit Visa at their respective consulate.

Going out of United States
At the time of checking your bag at the airport, show your Passport and last i94 card. Officer at the check in counter will take the i94 card and scan your passport to update the system that you are now out of United States.

Coming back to United States with EAD and Advance Parole Card
You do not need Visa stamping so relax and enjoy your trip with no headache of filling DS160 and taking visa appointment, etc. When flying out of your home country or whichever country you are in to United States, show your EAD and Advance Parole card with your passport at the baggage check in counter. If you have a layover or transit in between, you will have to show the same (EAD and Advance Parole card with passport) there also. In the flight to United States, you only have to fill the Customs Declaration form and nothing else. When at the Immigration counter in United States on your first port of entry, you only need to show your passport and EAD and Advance Parole card to the Immigration Officer. Officer will verify your documents and ask for your right hand's finger prints. Once he has done that, he will stamp your Passport and welcome you back to United States.

I hope this information is helpful to you if you ended up on this page in search of EAD related travel questions.

Happy travels.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Purana Qila (Old Fort) Son-et-Lumiere Show (Sound and Light Show)

Jis Dilli ko ek taraf siyaastao aur hukumaton ne loota aur toda, wahi doosri taraf yahi Dilli kayi Badshao, Raja Maharajao ki mashooqa bhi rahi hai. Alag alag andaaz ke aashiq aaye, mashooqi karne ke liye. Ishq ki daastaan ko Khusro ne panch zubano mein sunaya; Pharsi, Khadi Boli, Brij, Awadhi  aur Punjabi Multani, per aaj bhi Dilli ke aashiq aur iske lootere apni zubaan mein iska bayan apne hi andaaz aur apni hi zubaan mein karte hain

English Translation

Delhi, a city that has witnessed lootings and torments time and time again by various nations, kingdoms, rulers and dynasties, has had many lovers in the past and still continues to lure those who wander the land in search of Love and Truth. Khusro narrated The Tale of Love in 5 different languages; Persian, Khadi Boli, Brij, Awadhi and Punjabi Multani (spoken in today’s Pakistan) and even today people from all around the world narrate their Love and Passion for Delhi in their own way and language."

Yesterday, I went with my father to Purana Qila (Old Fort) in New Delhi to watch the Son-et-Lumiere a.k.a Sound and Light Show for the first time in my 19 years of stay in Delhi. While on the way to the fort, my father told me that he has spent almost half of his life in Delhi and has never seen this show either. I was kind of surprised at first but when I arrived at the venue, I understood why that happened and he never saw this show till date. I will talk about this in my next post because it is not just about me or my father but the entire nation and the system. So let’s put that discussion aside and learn more about this show.

If you are in Delhi and you have a chance to spend an evening in the town, you must take out 1 hour to see this amazing show organized by ITDC (Indian Tourism Development Corporation).

Son-et-Lumiere or Sound and Light show is organized daily by ITDC in evening in both Hindi and English languages. You can read books, research on Internet and learn from around but the way this show walks you through the History of Delhi is just brilliant and for that I applaud the effort put in by ITDC. The show starts from 12th century and King Prithviraj Chauhan and progresses each decade and century events till today showing the modern Delhi and the marvels of technology and growth.

Still photography and video recording is strictly prohibited for commercial use. Though, I took couple of clicks of the show for a cause for which I took the show organizers consent and they happily gave me consent to share when I mentioned I would do my best to help them and bring this show and their various issues and challenges in light so people know what they are missing.

If you are an Indian national and/or a Hindi friendly audience, my recommendation is to watch the Hindi show. You would enjoy the narration more and relish the use of simple Urdu sher-o-shayaries that are blended beautifully in the entire storyline.

If you are English friendly audience, the English show starts half hour after the Hindi show ends. Content, graphics and storyline is all same in English show so you will not be missing any information, it’s just that Hindi version has more drama to it because of the short poems and songs.

The voices given by known TV artists are just perfect to make the show more interesting and intriguing. One hour spent in the open air Sound and Light would leave a long lasting impression on you and would take you in a time and era you might have been told but not witnessed.

  1. If you are watching the show between November and February, carry a sweater or a light jacket to keep yourself warm.
  2. Get relieved and make use of restrooms before the show as you won’t find much facility inside the fort.
  3. Carry a small torch or something that can illuminate your path to walk out of the fort after the show as it gets pretty dark.
  4. Specifically for foreign tourist, if you are concerned of any possible mosquito or bug bite, wear long sleeves shirt/t-shirt and trouser or jeans to be safe. Though you won’t be in such a situation but taking precaution is always good.

Buying Tickets:

For online purchase, log on to Ashok Group’s website (click here).
For on the spot purchase, you will have to reach the ticket counter half hour prior to the show.
  1. Ticket cost for Adults is Rupees 80.00
  2. For children (3 to 12 years), Senior Citizen (60 years and above) and Disabled or Physically Challenged people is Rupees 40.00

Brief of the History on pamphlet



Few pictures from the show

 India Gate
Mughal Empire
 Mughal Empror
 Mughal Empire
 Scene from Mahabharata
 Mahatama Gandhi - Depicition of Independence
Delhi Metro Rail- Showing today's Delhi