International travel to the US has steadily been on the rise since 2009, according to data released by the National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO) of The US Department of Commerce. In fact, there was a record increase in the number of foreign tourists traveling to America from just 55.1 million in 2009 to 77.5 million in 2015, according to an article on Breitbart News.
There were a total number of 69,025,896 B-1/B-2 visas (a category of non-immigrant US visas for tourism and business purposes) issued in FY2015, a steep increase from the 67,519,113 such visas issued in the fiscal year 2014. These numbers come courtesy the 2014 and 2015 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.
If you’re planning a visit to the USA on a B1 Visa (business) or B2 Visa (tourism and visit), consider the following tips.
Tips for Travelers to the US
- How to Prepare?
Fill out Form DS-160 and upload your photo to complete your online visa application. You will then have to present yourself for an interview with the local consular officer at the date communicated to you.
- What to Buy?
It is always a good idea to buy a few essential kitchen appliance items that will help you with the Indian style of cooking. Here is a ready list of things to consider for your US travel.
- What Not to Buy
If you don’t have your doctor’s prescription for any medication that you intend to carry, then you must avoid it. In general, follow the 3-1-1 rule, as prescribed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and avoid carrying large quantities of personal care items.
There is no dearth of travel insurance options if you are flying to the United States on a B1 or B2 Visa. You can browse through the available options on the Visitors Coverage website.
- Drive ‘Right’
It helps to have an international driving license. The fact that traffic discipline is quite good in the US makes car driving a pleasant experience here. You can learn the basics of driving on US roads online. Things like always driving on the right instead of the left that you are so used to in India are small driving adjustments that you can easily make.
- Connect with Friends and Family
There is no better way to socialize and get over the feeling of home sickness than connecting with a friend or family member based in the US.
- Relish the Culinary Experience
America is a melting pot of cultures and exciting cuisine from all over the world. So, make sure you try a variety of dishes from different cultures and broaden your palette.
- Dress Casual
As they say: When in Rome, do as the Romans do! You must try and explore America and try not to cling on too much to your cultural roots. Dressing casual is one way of doing that.
- Stay Informed
It really helps to stay informed about the different time zones applicable to the 50 states of America. If you are planning to travel extensively from one state to another, check for local weather conditions and pack accordingly.
- Always Carry your Passport
It is important to always carry your passport and other travel documents even while traveling internally in the US. Always cooperate with the local law enforcement and furnish these documents on request.
Always remember that you are the unofficial brand ambassador of the country you belong to. It is therefore important to be courteous in your conduct with the local people and adhere to the applicable rules and regulations.