The September 2001 terrorist attack in America
was a great shock to the US, and the world. It had its impact in
terms of reduced movement of visitors to the US but slowly the magnetism
of America reemerged with renewed vigour and new confidence. The
American Dream continues in the 21st century and so does the demand
for GATEWAY TO AMERICA, which now goes into its fourth edition with
latest data and procedures incorporated together with website addresses.
As in the past, my grateful thanks to Mr David Good, US Consul-General,
Mumbai and his colleagues Mr Frederick Polasky and Ms Elizabeth
Corwin; Mr Michael Phulwani and Ms Sonali Dave for their inputs
and editing; Ms Romayne Carvalho and Ms Nazneen Vandrewala for secretarial
assistance; Mr R K Vishwanathan and Ms Silloo Kotwal of Indo-American
Society and Mr Rodney D'Cruz of Delta Airlines for cooperation extended.
This product would be without soul but for advertising support from
various sponsors and INDO-AMERICAN SOCIETY bringing this to the
Visiting America has been a cherished dream for
many Indians. Many of them have been able to fulfil this dream by
actually visiting the US and a few others have made America their
permanent home. About a million Indians currently live in America
and possibly many more times that number aspire to enrich their
lives by going to America as a visitor or as a student or as an
I have found sustained interest in all sections
of the Indian society, across the nation, among men and women, among
elitist groups and middle-class families in going to America to
witness the strongest economy in the world, to experience its technological
excellence and scientific accomplishment; and, to participate in
'the Americanism' with expectations of an improved life, economically
There exists an information gap, partially or
fully, among many potential Indian visitors to the US, which ranges
from general information on America to US visa regulations, which
People keep coming to me from time to time for
consultation on various aspects of American living. This has happened
for some years now and it was when my valued friend Mr. Vinod Murarka
motivated the thought that I write a book based on my accumulated
knowledge on America, that I seriously thought of undertaking this
project for the benefit of India's travel-bugs and explorers of
improved life and in the process contribute towards increased Indo-US
understanding. Mr. Murarka very kindly assisted in production and
marketing the first edition of this book in India and America.
I am indebted to Mr. Nani Palkhivala, former Indian
Ambassador to the USA and past President, Indo-American Society
for blessing this book with his Foreword. I was very much encouraged
by the assistance received from the United States Information Services
(USIS) and the US Consulate in Mumbai in the form of tourist literature
and general information. Data available from the USIS, the United
States Education Foundation in India (USEFI) and the Indian newspapers
published in the USA were very useful in the preparation of the
first two and the last two chapters of this book. It was also very
kind of the International Airline Passengers Association (IAPA)
to allow me to use one of the chapters of its "Flight Log" publication
in preparation of the second chapter.
I am grateful to the US Immigration attorneys,
Allen E Kaye, Michael Phulwani and Dan P Danilov, who allowed me
to use information from many of their pamphlets on US visa regulations
which helped me in compiling my chapters on US visas. I am also
indebted to Messrs. Kaye and Phulwani who took pains in editing
This book aims to aid the following Indians :
Those undertaking foreign travel for the first time.
Those going to the US for the first time.
Students going for higher studies in the US.
Tourists visiting the US.
Business visitors to the US.
Temporary workers in the US.
Immigrants to the US.
Travel agents and airlines who have operations between India
and the US and Indians in the US.
This effort is undertaken principally as community
service to concerned and interested fellow Indians in India and
America. The book should be perceived as a guidance manual and not
a book of statutes. Users of the book are encouraged to visit the
nearest US Embassy / Consulates of the closest INS office for the
latest visa information and clarifications, if any, on the interpretation
of the information given in the book on US visa matters. Though
my last name 'Vakil' in Indian parlance connotes legal practitioner,
I am not a lawyer and am not responsible for reader misinterpretations
in any of the sections of the book. I would very much appreciate
it if readers of this book, on finding any omissions or commissions,
inform me for suitable amendments for future editions.