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I am a Brazilian citizen with a valid USA B1/B2 visa, and I'm planning to visit a friend in the US. I'm going to stay at their house (and not a hotel), for about a week. Aside from my passport with the visa, do I need to bring any kind of documents to be allowed in? I won't have a hotel reservation, but I suppose I can bring the return ticket. Do I have to bring proofs or anything or something of the sort?

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    Address of where you're going and driver's license if you intend to get behind the wheel. – Karlson Aug 24 '16 at 16:42
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    What kinds of things did you have in mind? – phoog Aug 24 '16 at 17:06
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It depends on many things, for example:

  • Is it your first trip to US?
  • Do you travel a lot, or is this your first travel?

If you traveled around a lot, and been to US before, you'll probably only get very brief, standard questioning. But if this is your first trip ever, expect more serious questioning.

There are no hard rules what you should bring (besides your valid passport and ESTA/visa). However since you'd be essentially convincing the CBP officer that you shall be allowed in, and would do so by telling him/her the story, it would be very helpful to have the documents confirming this story.

In your case you are staying for a week with a friend. I assume this was exactly what you said in the Embassy when getting your visa, and would tell the same to the border control. Now, you will very likely be asked to:

  • Show the return ticket, or explain how are you leaving back (and to ensure you'd be leaving back in time);

  • Since you're visiting a friend, you may be asked how long you know this friend, where you met and so on. This is to make sure it is a genuine friend, and you're not a victim of a scam (this happens too!), and to cross-check it with your further answers. You may be asked if you have any emails from your friend to show (you don't need to print them, showing them on your phone shall be enough), if you have your friends' phone number and so on.

  • You're likely to be asked what are you planning to do this week. "Staying in a house watch TV" is not a good answer unless your friend is a girl/boyfriend. If you answer "sightseeing", you may be asked to name a few places to ensure you did your research and are a genuine tourist, not using "sightseeing" as an excuse.

  • Ensure you understand the restrictions of your visa, and you're not planning to do any work. There are kinds of friends such as "my friend is a general manager at local Denny's" which may raise suspicion about that.

  • You may also be asked the same or similar questions asked by the Consular officer, to check whether your answers match with the ones you gave during the interview.

  • Finally, you may be asked if you have any emergency funds. For example, what if your friend got into accident on their way to the airport, and is in a hospital, would you be able to cover your means/hotel stay on your own?

TL;DR: you'd better bring: a) a return ticket; b) some funds for emergency if needed; c) true answers matching those you gave in the Embassy/Consulate.

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    I obtained the visa in 2012, and in 2013 I visited NY for two weeks (staying at a hotel). Aside from the US I have stamps from the Netherlands and France (due to a 2 week trip to Switzerland recently), and during the period of the visit to the US I will be residing in the Netherlands. – Pedro Aug 24 '16 at 23:34
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    For emergency funds, I'll have funds in a CashPassport prepaid currency card, in euro though. Can I just print off an extract or something showing I'll have about 2k euro give or take? – Pedro Aug 24 '16 at 23:35
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    @Pedro: you should be fine then. CBP's typical concern here is that would would just discard the return ticket and wouldn't leave, so mentioning something like "got only one week vacation from my employer" may also help. – George Y. Aug 25 '16 at 1:08
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Yes, first you will need to be in the system. This is the admissibility inspection conducted at the first port of arrival. I would highly recommend that with your Visa, contact the number and double check you are all good to go. Obviously, bring your passport. Before being allowed in the country you will be given a CBP Declaration (Form 6059B). This will be presented to the CBP officer before entering the country. For a full list here is a helpful link: documents for entry. Also, have your country's version of an ID card on you, though your passport should be sufficient.

Some helpful tips:

For your passport, remember to make a laminated photo copy of the ID portion and keep that on you separately.

Also, make sure you keep a copy of important phone numbers including your embassy stored on you, just in case your phone and other valuables are stolen.

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    Why are you quoting from the section about immigrant visas ? – blackbird Aug 24 '16 at 18:52
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    There's not a lot of reason for carrying "your country's version of an ID card," other than the possibility of wanting to have it when you return. Such ID cards are not recognized in the United States. – phoog Aug 24 '16 at 19:02
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    "contact the number..." what number ? Admission decision are made at the border, a visa only allows you to travel to a port of entry in the US. – blackbird Aug 24 '16 at 19:02

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