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 users.

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 immigrant.

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 and otherwise.

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 change periodically.

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 these chapters.

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.