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I'm traveling from New Zealand to North Carolina to stay with my partner for a number of weeks. My ESTA has been approved. While I'm staying with him, he will be covering my daily costs and necessities, meaning the only money I will spend will be on random things I see in stores. I will only have about 300NZD in my account when I arrive.

Is this enough to have CBP turn me away?

  • Why the Texas tag? – phoog Jun 12 '16 at 21:00
  • I arrive in Dallas – user45971 Jun 12 '16 at 21:09
  • I want to say you're unlikely to have trouble. My mother in law who is supported in part by my wife and her sister has not been asked about her finances when visiting us (both her children live in the US). But she wasn't visiting her partner, so that could get you a different level of scrutiny. Also she doesn't speak much English. And you might just get an officer who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Your partner might want to be ready to demonstrate his ability to support you during your trip, just in case. (A comment instead of a proper answer because I'm not totally confident in it.) – phoog Jun 12 '16 at 21:20
  • I'll have all his contact info so if they aren't satisfied with me as I am, will they contact him to confirm it before they take an action? – user45971 Jun 12 '16 at 21:23
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    Are you married to your partner, or just in a relationship? Do you have a credit card? – Doc Jun 24 '16 at 20:15
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+50

Upon entering the US you will have to prove that you have sufficient funds to sustain yourself for the entire duration of stay in the US. Much to our disappointment, the CBD does not specify how much is "enough funds". There is no fixed amount per day. Indeed, such an amount depends on spending habits, accomodation costs, transportation costs, shopping frenzies, etc. To give you an idea, saying that you'll be staying for a month at a 5* Hilton with 300NZD is likely to raise a few eyebrows.

In addition, you mention that your partner will be hosting you, and funding you, throughout your stay. You should carry a written confirmation of this to be shown to the CBP officer. As the CBP puts it:

Does a foreign visitor have to carry a certain amount of money to enter the U.S.?

Yes. Travelers visiting the U.S. from a foreign country must be able to prove to a CBP Officer that they have sufficient funds (i.e. credit cards, cash, travelers checks, money orders etc.) to cover their travel, lodging, entertainment, meals, etc. in order to be admitted into the U.S.

CBP Officers are aware that there may be circumstances in which a traveler may have limited funds. In those cases they will determine the admissibility of the traveler based on the information provided to support the reason the traveler has insufficient funds.

If you have invited someone to visit you with the understanding that you will be hosting them at your house and providing meals, etc., it is advised that you confirm your invitation in writing so that they have something to show the CBP Officer. The letter should include your full name and address. This will not guarantee their admission into the U.S., but it will help the CBP Officer fully assess their situation.

You are also likely to face extra questioning since you plan on staying for a longish period to stay with your partner. This scenario is often a prequel to overstaying and illegal immigration. You should obviously not lie to the CBP officer. Be honest about your purpose of travel and make sure you have a convincing story about your intentions to leave the US. Showing strong ties to your home country - a job, education career, etc. - usually helps with this. We have a similar question of TSE with tips on the topic: Is it a good idea to mention to the USA immigration officer that I'm visiting my girlfriend?

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