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Foreign Visitor Information

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Starting June 21, 2008, the TSA began requiring adult passengers to present valid federal or state-issued photo identification at security checkpoints at all US airports. Foreign citizens must present a valid passport or one of the following for all international and domestic flights originating in the United States. Foreign drivers licenses are no longer acceptable identification.

Acceptable IDs include:
* U.S. passport
* U.S. passport card
* DHS "Trusted Traveler" cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
* U.S. Military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents)
* Permanent Resident Card
* Border Crossing Card
* DHS-designated enhanced driver's license
* Drivers Licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) that meets REAL ID benchmarks (All states are currently in compliance)
* A Native American Tribal Photo ID
* An airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
* A foreign government-issued passport
* Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card
* Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
Non-US or Canadian citizens are not required to carry passports if they have documents issued by the US government, such as Permanent Resident Cards (green cards).

New York is a cosmopolitan city inhabited by people from all over the world. People and businesses here are generally very welcoming to international tourists. Most of the tourist attractions and larger department stores have information, brochures and tours in major world languages. Many even have staff who speak these languages.

Entry Requirements to the USA When you are ready to plan your trip, be sure to check with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for the latest information on requirements for entering the United States, as these may change with little notice. You can find one near you by visiting the U.S. State Department’s website. At that website you can also obtain a visa and travel information. Click on Visas for Foreign Citizens for the latest entry requirements.

If you are concerned about what you may carry into or out of the United States, we urge you to visit the U.S. Customs web site, and click "Travel." Please note that if you are taking medication it is a good idea to have a prescription from your doctor demonstrating you need the drugs.

Some basic facts about what you may carry in to the U.S. duty free:
- 1 liter of wine or hard liquor;
- 200 cigarettes, 150 cigars (but not from Cuba), or 3 pounds of smoking tobacco;
- $100 worth of gifts.
These exemptions are offered to travelers who spend at least 72 hours in the United States and who have not claimed them within the preceding 6 months.

In addition, foreign tourists may bring in or take out up to $10,000 in U.S. or foreign currency with no formalities; larger sums must be declared to U.S. Customs upon entering or leaving.

Finally, once inside the United States most countries have consulates in New York City and embassies in Washington, D.C. For detailed information on Foreign Consulates in New York City, please click HERE. More answers to typical questions about travelling to the USA can be found in our International Traveler guide, our U.S. Visas and Citizenship guide, our Visa Waiver guide and our Expatriate Guide.


Banking & Currency Exchange Banks in New York are typically open weekdays from 9am to 4pm, and many now offer branches with open hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Business Hours If you want something in New York, chances are that no matter what time or day it is, you can find it. You will find restaurants in nearly every neighborhood open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you need a pharmacy or other emergency supplies, you will also be able to find a store nearby that is open at all hours. Typically, most retail stores open between 9 and 10am, close around 7pm, and are open seven days a week. Please note that most stores are open on Sundays!

Drinking Laws It will shock some international visitors to learn that the legal age for purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages in New York is 21 years of age! If you want to purchase alcohol, expect to be required to show proof of age at bars, nightclubs, restaurants and stores. Further, please be aware that carrying an open container with alcohol in public places is illegal!

Electricity Be warned that the United States and Canada use 110 to 120 volts AC (60 cycles), compared to 220 to 240 volts AC (50 cycles) in most of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. If your small appliances use 220 to 240 volts, you'll need a 110-volt transformer as well as a plug adapter with two flat parallel pins to operate your appliances in the United States. As transformers that change 220-240 volts to 110-120 volts are difficult to find, we strongly suggest you bring one with you. Visit Korjo.com's adaptor guide for further information.

Holidays The United States has fewer national holidays than other countries, so the chances of one inconveniencing your trip are small. Banks, government offices, post offices, and many stores, restaurants, and museums will be closed in New York on the following legal national holidays:
January 1 (New Year's Day)
Third Monday in January (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
Third Monday in February (Presidents' Day, Washington's Birthday)
Last Monday in May (Memorial Day)
July 4 (Independence Day)
First Monday in September (Labor Day)
Second Monday in October (Columbus Day)
November 11 (Veterans' Day/Armistice Day)
Fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving Day)
December 25 (Christmas)
Note that Easter Monday is not a holiday in the United States, nor is Boxing Day (December 26).

Taxes There is no value-added tax (VAT) or other similar national level tax, but every state, county, and city has the right to levy its own local tax on all purchases, including hotel and restaurant checks, airline tickets, and so on. Sales tax is usually not included in the price tags on merchandise but is added at the cash register. These taxes aren't refundable upon leaving the country. Not surprisingly, New York City has some of the highest local taxes in the country. The sales tax is 8.625%, the hotel tax is 13.25% plus $2 per room per night, and the parking garage tax is a whopping 18.25%!

Time Zones The continental United States is divided into three time zones: eastern standard time (EST), the time zone New York is in, which is 5 hours behind Greenwich mean time (GMT); central standard time (CST); mountain standard time (MST); and Pacific standard time (PST). For example, noon in New York City (EST) is 11am in Chicago (CST), 10am in Denver (MST), 9am in San Francisco (PST).

Daylight saving time is in effect from the second Sunday in March through the first Sunday in November. Daylight saving time moves the clock 1 hour ahead of standard time. When daylight saving time is in effect, New York is only 4 hours behind Greenwich mean time.

Tipping and Gratuities Please take note, tips are NOT automatically added to restaurant and hotel bills! In restaurants, a tip to the waiter or waitress of 15% to 20% of the total check is customary. In New York City, you can easily leave the appropriate tip amount by doubling the 8.625% sales tax. Tipping less than 15% is considered very rude, and only done if service was terrible.

Some other tipping guidelines:

15% to 20% of the fare to taxi drivers
10% to 15% of the tab to bartenders
$1 to $2 per bag to bellhops
$1 to $5 per day to hotel maids
$1 to $2 per item to checkroom attendants
$1 to $2 to valet parking attendants
15% to 20% to hairdressers

You are not expected to tip theater ushers or fast-food restaurant employees.

U.S. coins and currency Americans refer to their coins as follows: one cent = penny; five cents = nickel; ten cents = dime; 25 cents = quarter. Try to familiarize yourself with these coins, because New Yorkers are notoriously impatient when standing in line behind a foreign visitor counting out a handful of coins of various sizes. Try to avoid gold dollar coins because they are infrequently used and some stores and restaurants do not accept them. Although New York is quite safe these days, do not count your money in open/public areas and try to keep $50 and $100 bills completely out of sight.

CONVERTING MEASUREMENT AND SIZES The United States does not use the metric system. We have compiled this brief list as a rough guide to help you convert our standard measurements and sizes into metric equivalents.

1 litre = 1.057 quarts A quart of milk is equal to slightly more than one litre of milk.

29.57 milliliters = 1 fluid ounce A 12 fluid ounce soft drink can holds approximately 340-millilitres.

1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds Two pounds of ground beef equals slightly less than one kilogram of beef.

2.54 cm = 1 inch A foot-long hot dog is about 30-cm-long.

0.9 meters = 1 Yard A yard of fabric is just a bit less than a meter of fabric.

Clothing and Shoe Size Converting UK and European clothing and shoe measurements into the American system can be confusing. You may use the charts below to quickly convert measurements from one system to the other. Of course, we encourage you to try on any article of clothing before buying!

Ladies shoe sizes

English 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8 8.5
European 34 35 35.5 36 37 37.5 38 39 39.5 40 40.5 41 42 42.5
American 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8 8.5 9 9.5 10 10.5 11
Japanese 21.5 22 22.5 23 23.5 24 24.5 25 25.5 26 26.5 27 27.5 28

Mens shoe sizes

English 5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8 8.5 9 9.5 10 10.5 11 11.5 12
European 38 38.7 39.3 40 40.5 41 42 42.5 43 44 44.5 45 46 46.5 47
American 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8 8.5 9 9.5 10 10.5 11 11.5 12 12.5
Japanese 23.5 24 24.5 25 25.5 26 26.5 27 27.5 28 28.5 29 29.5 30 30.5

Girls shoe sizes

English 10 10.5 11 11.5 12 12.5 13 13.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
European 28 28.5 29 30 30.5 31 31.5 32.2 33 33.5 34 35
American 11.5 12 12.5 13 13.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4

Boys shoe sizes

English 11 11.5 12 12.5 13 13.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5
European 29 29.7 30.5 31 31.5 33 33.5 34 34.7 35 35.5 36 37 37.5
American 11.5 12 12.5 13 13.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5

Men's Suits & Jackets

English/American 32 34 36 38 40 42 44
European 42 44 46 48 50 52 54

Men's Shirt/Collar Sizes

English/American 15 15.5 16 16.5 17 17.5 18
European 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Women's Clothes

English 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
European 38 40 42 44 46 48 50
American 6 8 10 12 14 16 18