I'm planning to enter the United States for vacation. My nationality is Indian but I'm a graduate student in Europe and I'm planning to travel to Boston, NYC and NJ for a total of 7 days. I've already pre-booked my flights and my airbnb but I came to know that you have to inform the CBP officer at the port of entry about the amount of money you're carrying with you.

I'm taking around 550 in cash with me and I will also carry my bank card which will give me access to another 200-300 dollars for my stay. Since I do not plan to do any shopping, I was wondering if this will be enough to convince the CBP officer that I do not wish to abuse or violate my visa terms? Or should I carry even more money?

I am really not sure if there is a specific amount that they're looking for.

  • 2-300 dollars for my stay That's not that much more, are you missing a zero or two? – Azor Ahai Nov 16 '18 at 23:40
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    "I came to know that you have to inform the CBP officer at the port of entry about the amount of money you're carrying with you": You only have to tell them if they ask. The customs form asks whether you have over USD 10,000 in cash or equivalent (in any currency), but that's a yes/no question. – phoog Nov 16 '18 at 23:45
  • @AzorAhai Woops. Just fixed the grammar error. And yes, for this trip, I will have around 550 in cash plus another 300 or so in my bank account. – Raj Nov 17 '18 at 1:05
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    @Raj No error, that's a fine way to write 200-300. I was just confused because $850 isn't that much for a week – Azor Ahai Nov 17 '18 at 3:22

It's fairly unlikely that you'll be asked too much, especially as you already hold a visa, but it's good to be prepared. The main requirements are that you declare if you're carrying more than $10,000 (so not a problem) and:

Travelers visiting the U.S. must be able to prove to a CBP Officer that they have sufficient funds (i.e. credit cards, cash, travelers checks, money orders etc.)

There's no specific amount. With prebooked flights and accommodations, you'd only need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds for the rest of your expenses, so I wouldn't be too concerned. There's no need to physically carry any particular amount of cash: bank cards are perfectly fine. If you're asked, you can say you have $X, and the flights and accommodation are already prebooked on top of that.

Note though that $550 is a fair amount of cash to carry around (it's not illegal). I personally prefer to bring less and use ATMs, to reduce the risk of loss or theft. If you're able to do so (say, you have funds in another bank account), it might be a good idea for your own peace of mind to have access by bank card to a larger emergency fund, just in case you're stranded somewhere by bad weather or other unexpected expenses come up.

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