All posts tagged travel

Secrets of Traveling with Two Passports

by Anu Sarma on September 21, 2016 Comments Off on Secrets of Traveling with Two Passports

The passport is a personal identification document that proves to countries you are exiting or entering that you have a right to be there—or HAD a right to be there. It helps a country understand who is visiting and assists in controlling who is a resident of a nation for the purposes of receiving benefits and other issues. It sounds pretty straightforward, but the use of passports can get tricky if you happen to have more than one.


There are three reasons a person might have more than one passport:

1. Dual citizenship
This usually happens when a person has been born in one country and receives automatic citizenship, and then moves to another country where citizenship is acquired by application. The country of birth may always recognize natural-born citizens as legal citizens of the country. And the new home country may not recognize the perpetual citizenship of the country of birth.

2.Travel between countries in conflict
Some countries will not allow visitors from nations they are in conflict with. For example, some countries in the Middle East will not allow people to enter if their passports contain a stamp from Israel. In this case, the U.S. State Department may allow a person who knows they will be traveling between two such countries to carry two passports, so they can separate the stamps. In some cases, a person is allowed to carry a paper with the stamp from the conflicting country that can be removed when entering the other country in conflict.

3. Application gap
Some countries require that actual passports (not copies) are sent to them to apply for a work visa in that country. It can take a while to process the visa, but the traveler might need a passport in the meantime to travel to other countries. If this is known ahead of time, the U.S. State Department might allow the traveler to have two passports—one to send with the visa application and one to use for actual travel. The second visa is usually valid for a shorter amount of time.

In the last two cases, it is fairly clear which of the two passports to use when traveling. However, in the case of dual citizenship, it can be confusing. Which passport do you show to the country you are leaving or entering?

How to Decide Which of your Two Passports to Show When Traveling

A general rule of thumb is to use the correct passport to prove what is of concern to the entity you are dealing with. An airline, for example, needs to you to prove you have the right to enter the country you are entering. It’s different for immigration officials.

When you are leaving a country, some immigration offices need to prove you HAD the right to be in the country you are leaving. In that case, you would show the passport that proved you were a citizen of the country you are leaving.

Most countries want you to prove you are citizen of the country you are entering, so when dealing with the immigration officials of the country you are traveling into you would show the passport that proves you are a citizen of the country you are entering.

What about situations for which you are not present physically? This might include booking flights or making arrangements in a country before you arrive. In this case, you would use the passport you might show if you were there in person. For example, if you want to book flights to Spain and you are a dual citizen in the U.S. and Spain, you would in this case provide the Spanish passport to prove you have a right to enter Spain as a citizen of that country, rather than entering as a foreign visitor from the U.S.

For more information, check out this article covering some of the subtleties of using dual passports:

Would You Ever Want to Use the “Other” Passport?

It is possible, in some cases, that it might be advantageous to use your visitor passport to enter a country instead of the passport that shows you are a citizen. Some people say you might have better protection from the U.S. authorities, for example, if you enter a hostile country and you have entered as U.S. citizen. However, the fact remains that you are a citizen of the U.S., and protections for citizens of this country would likely be extended to you even if you entered the country as a citizen of that country.

This could be complicated and advised actions can change with every situation, so it might be a good idea to check with the U.S. State Department and other authorities before entering a country where there could be a potential problem.

For the most part, it’s probably a good idea to use only the one passport that applies to your situation rather than showing two passports at the same time, which could cause confusion. However, if questioned about this, we suggest being honest, admitting your confusion, and asking for advice from the officials you are dealing with.

The ultimate goal for both you and travel officials is to make the travel verification process easy and clear.

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Anu SarmaSecrets of Traveling with Two Passports

Dos and Don’ts for Foreign Travelers in the U.S.

by Anu Sarma on October 16, 2015 Comments Off on Dos and Don’ts for Foreign Travelers in the U.S.

Foreign visitors to the United States come to the country to see famous cities and natural wonders. More than 30 million people per year travel from far-flung locations to American soil. Some come to visit relatives and friends. Others are purely tourists, interested in absorbing the culture of one of the most powerful and famous countries in the world.

The United States is known for embracing people and customs of many cultures within its borders. In fact, so many people from other countries immigrate to the United States, it is often referred to as a “melting pot” of culture.

Foreign travelers to the US who are aware of the country’s diverse ethnicities might believe it’s a place where anything goes. By some measures, this is true. However, foreign visitors are often surprised to find out there are subtle cultural expectations and unwritten rules that must be followed in order to be perceived as a polite and respectable visitor.










Travel guidebooks often attempt to analyze these unwritten rules. Some of the books are more successful at this than others. Outdated books often share advice about traveling in the U.S. that no longer applies. Online sources, in some cases, provide better up-to-date cultural rules.

It’s okay to ask advice about culture when visiting the U.S.

The best advice may be to follow the lead of your American hosts. If you are not visiting family members or friends in the United States, it is perfectly acceptable to ask advice of anyone you encounter during your trip. For example, you can ask drivers, servers, store clerks and others to explain the country’s cultural expectations– especially those related to the service you are receiving.

Hotels often have concierge desks, where you can not only ask about interesting places to visit, but you also can obtain advice about etiquette, customs, and culture.

A few of the most common do’s and don’ts for traveling to the U.S. from foreign countries:

Do tip servers in restaurants. Many countries do not have a custom of tipping servers in restaurants . The United States has an unwritten rule that customers in restaurants share the cost of the servers’ labor. Servers often are paid a minimal hourly amount, with the expectation that customers will add a tip of 20% to the bill. Some customers pay a higher tip for exceptional service, but it can be considered cruel to pay a lower tip for so-so service. It is also customary to tip others who provide services, such as bellmen and taxi drivers.

Do be on time. In some countries around the world, an agreed-upon time for an event or meeting friends is only a guideline. In the United States, when a time is agreed upon it is generally expected all participants will arrive no later than 10 or 15 minutes after the agreed-upon time.

Do be discreet about politics. The political scene in the United States can be very volatile, depending on who you are talking to and what area of the country you are in. It’s not taboo to discuss politics, but it is important to make an effort not to offend your hosts or their friends– easy to do if you throw around your own opinions casually. It’s best to ask how people feel, rather than telling them how you feel.

Do obey all traffic signs and laws. Some countries’ laws are understood to be simply guidelines to help things run or smoothly. In the United States, laws are taken seriously, and if the laws are broken you could find yourself facing legal problems. If in doubt, ask someone about the laws in the city, county or state you are visiting.

Don’t smoke in undesignated areas. More than half of the states in the U.S. have local laws prohibiting smoking in public. Some cities prohibit smoking anywhere indoors. Because each state and city is different, it’s important to ask someone where smoking is allowed, if you are a smoker.

Don’t try to speak like an American. In the United States, you will be respected for your own mannerisms and personality. It’s not necessary to try to fit in by using American slang, taking on American habits or showing off your knowledge of American culture. In fact, if you attempt to do these things, it can be offensive and embarrassing.

Don’t make noises when you eat. In some countries, it’s okay and even expected to make slurping noises, burp or engage in loud conversation during meals. In the United States, the exact opposite is true.

Don’t get too close to people you don’t know well. Americans are somewhat formal when it comes to personal space. Most do not practice cheek kissing and, although hugs are okay in many situations, it usually is not appropriate to hug strangers or people you only know through others.

Don’t overstay your visa. Other countries may be lenient about this, but the United States takes it seriously. Many people try to get into the United States illegally, and not following the rules could land you in legal trouble.

If you follow most rules and make an effort to be sensitive to cultural habits of Americans, then you can relax and enjoy your adventure in the United States.

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Anu SarmaDos and Don’ts for Foreign Travelers in the U.S.

Food in USA for International Students

by Anu Sarma on June 12, 2013 Comments Off on Food in USA for International Students

USA is a hub of facilities and opportunities that attracts people from all over the world. But while visiting places the most common problem people face is food. Sometimes it is really hard to digest or get familiar with the food of a different place. But in USA this isn’t an issue. The country has embraced diverse tastes of the world and so hardly an international student suffers from the food problem while in this country. Not only for the international students but for the international tourist as well, the country serves world class cuisines and beverages.

The USA government plays a commendable role in this issue. It looks after all the small and big issue of the visitors of this country and so takes up new and advanced policies to make the visit more convenient for the sightseers. Since international tourism and education is one of the greatest sources of income in USA this is why the country pays maximum attention to the matter.

When it comes to food as previously said it is very likely that people will not have much problem. Firstly for the traveler this is a great place to relish in food. The local foods of the USA are really healthy and inexpensive too.

Other than that there are loads of restaurants all over the country serving different cuisines. One can find a number of vegetarian restaurants along with non-vegetarian ones as well. Hence it is no big deal to find your favorite cuisine.

Yet for a new comer who is going to stay for a long duration, the best option anytime is to cook by himself. It is not only cost effective but healthy as well. It is true that USA is an expensive place especially when it comes to food but that is actually worth spending because of the service and the taste. All in all, the place is for international foodies and food lovers.

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Anu SarmaFood in USA for International Students

Ignoring Health Insurance in the USA – A Great Risk

by Anu Sarma on June 10, 2013 Comments Off on Ignoring Health Insurance in the USA – A Great Risk

Travelers to the United States shouldn’t ignore an important factor—travel insurance plan. Such choices bring peace of mind and are totally worthwhile. In case a mishap occurs during your stay in the USA, your budget shouldn’t spoil the fun. Array of international health Insurance policies are available incorporated with best ideas to make the travels completely pleasurable.

medical cost
If you are planning to visit USA then opt for a suitable medical insurance policy that offers multifaceted benefits to keep you well protected. Examine all major and minor benefits provided by your insurance policy. Talk to your agent about thorough protection against all medical and travel emergencies you may face at any point of time during US visit and high life cover in case of premature death caused due to unfortunate tragedies. Such insurance policies are tailor-made, reasonable and affordable. Key features are mentioned cursorily:-
• Availability of affordable and comprehensive visitors medical insurance policies
• Uniquely designed short term USA visitor health insurance policies as exclusive choices
• Policies with flexibility of being designed for tourists, leisure holidaymakers or for business trips

Such insurance policies are designed by keeping view the travel related know-how applicable. Coverage is mainly for complete protection against medical illnesses especially injuries that might cause during any trip. Such policies vary on the basis of passport and a visa issued to the US travelers no matter one is a visitor, tourist or business passenger.

Whenever traveling to the US, be well-informed traveler by ensuring best possible protection for self and family for unbound peace of mind during journeys. Buying such insurance policies is hassle-free affair and it can be bought online. Mere putting travel details with the visa information works. As there is least or no paperwork you rarely undergo medical examination before buying policies. It becomes an easy choice to explore while starting a journey to USA with overall protection.

Policies are underwritten keenly as per data filled in online/offline applications to ensure policy buyers avail maximum benefits. They are rated best due to involvement of reputed insurance carriers.

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Anu SarmaIgnoring Health Insurance in the USA – A Great Risk

A Day At the Museum

by Anu Sarma on June 7, 2013 Comments Off on A Day At the Museum

Sue, the splendid dame of Chicago’s Field Museum, is the biggest T-Rex skeleton globally and just one of the many remarkable collectibles on display in America’s museums. Here is a list of some of the best museums and galleries for those less interested in bones and bugs.

1. Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City) – This is New York’s most admired single-site tourist attraction with one of the richest caskets in the arts world. This Museum is a self-sufficient cultural city-state with two million items in its collection including American Paintings and Sculpture, Egyptian Art, Modern Art, European Paintings, Greek and Roman Art, Arms and Armour, and the elegant rooftop with amazing views.

2. Smithsonian Institution museums (Washington, DC) – It happens to be the world’s largest museum complex, covering an internationally esteemed research center, the 45-carat Hope Diamond, a stunning collection of dinosaurs, the continent’s only Da Vinci painting, the Wright brothers’ Flyer and remnants that outline American, American Indian and African pedigree.

3. American Museum of Natural History (New York City) – This museum accommodates more than 30 million artefacts and loads of interactive exhibits. It is mainly famed for its three large dinosaur halls, a huge phony blue whale that droops from the ceiling above the Hall of Ocean Life and the intricate Rose Center for Earth & Space. Just gaping at its facade is enticing, especially at night.

4. Getty Center (Los Angeles) – In the Santa Monica Mountains, Getty Center offers triple pleasures: a stellar art collection (Renaissance to David Hockney), the avant-garde architecture of Richard Meier and the visual magnificence of the seasonally changing gardens by Robert Irwin.

5. Harvard Museums (Cambridge, MA) –America’s oldest university has accumulated unbelievable collections in its Art Museum that housed great collection of artworks. The Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology present excellent Native American exhibits and a superb collection of 4000 hand-blown glass flowers.

6. Experience Music Project & Science Fiction Museum (Seattle) – Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project is significant for its architecture. The Frank Gehry building has 80,000 music artefacts that include a Fender Stratocaster demolished by Jimi Hendrix and handwritten lyrics by Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. Attached to the EMP is the Science Fiction Museum, a nerd paradise of costumes, props and models from sci-fi movies and TV shows.
Exploring museums is a great way not only to learn wonderful history of a place but also makes your holiday in US more exciting. Enjoy a fun-filled US vacation with your entire family.

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Anu SarmaA Day At the Museum