International Travel Information for Boston

Time Zone:

Boston is on Eastern Standard Time, 5 hours behind GMT and 3 hours ahead of Los Angeles (Pacific Time zone).
The state of Massachusetts observes Daylight Savings Time - Clocks spring ahead an hour on the second Sunday in March and fall back on the first Sunday in November.


Legal Car Rental Age:

Renters must be at least 21 years of age to legally rent a motor vehicle. However renters between the age of 21 and 24 will have certain rental restrictions and depending on the rental company may have to pay a higher rate.  A valid credit card is generally required to rent a car.


Legal Driving Age:

The youngest possible age to obtain a drivers license is 16 ½ years of age.

Cell Phone Usage While Driving:

Cell Phone talking is permitted in Massachusetts for drivers over the age of 18.  Texting is banned for all drivers.  The texting ban covers writing and reading e-mail, Internet searching, and other noncalling activity on a phone, laptop, or handheld electronic device by anyone operating a motor vehicle. It also applies to drivers waiting at traffic lights and stop signs. Texting and talking for those under 18 will be allowed only in an emergency or when a car is pulled over and parked.

 

Legal Drinking and Gambling Age:

21 years of age with a valid photo I.D. and passport.


Tipping/Gratuity Guidelines:

  • Taxi drivers, bartenders and waiters: 15 - 20% for standard service
  • Hotel doormen and valet parkers:  between $2 and $5
  • Bellhops:  $2 per bag
  • Chambermaids: $2 per day which can be left on the pillow of your hotel room


Currency Exchange:

International travelers can exchange currency at several booths in Logan Airport upon arrival as well as:

Boston Currency Exchange International 
Copley Place, second floor - 100 Huntington Avenue;
170 Federal Street

Travelex Currency Exchange
745 Boylston St.

travelers can also exchange currency at any local bank.

Translation Services:

Red & Blue International

  • 125 CambridgePark Dr.
  • Ste. 301
  • Cambridge, MA
  • 617-945-7083 | Fax: 617-845-9088
  • Neighborhood: Cambridge

What to bring to the airport:

Valid photo ID such as a passport, drivers license, military ID card or other state or federally issued for of ID to confirm identity.

3-1-1 rule for airport security:
3.4 oz. bottles of liquid or gel products in a 1 quart bag, each passenger is permitted 1 bag.

Passport:

Travelers to the US must have a valid passport which will not expire until at least 6 months after departing from the US, unless otherwise specified in Country-Specific agreements. For families traveling together all members of the family, including children and infants, must have valid a passport.

Who needs a visa?

A visitor, or temporary, visa is required of all visitors seeking to enter the USA with the exception of nationals of Canada and countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program. Currently, 37 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program.

Visa Waiver Program(VWP):
37 countries participating in the VWP - Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

What does the VWP allow?:
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without having to obtain a visa, for stays of no more than 90 days for the purposes of business, tourism, visiting or pleasure. Transiting or traveling through the United States to Canada or Mexico is generally permitted for VWP travelers.

What does the VWP NOT allow?:
To qualify to travel to the United States with no visa one must not receive any payment for business activities, other that expenses and incidentals. Travelers may not work or study in the US. And travelers may not spend more than 90 days.

What do citizens of VWP countries require to enter the USA?
To enter the US citizens of VWP countries must still receive approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding any US bound flight.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA):
ESTA is an automated web based system used by the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to determine the eligibility of prospective visitors to travel with no visa to the US. While an ESTA can be submitted at any time prior to travel to the US it is recommended that travelers apply as soon as planning begins for their trip, or before the purchase of airline tickets.

How to apply for a Visa:

There are several steps included in applying for a temporary visa. The exact order in which these steps are completed may vary slightly depending on a traveler's country of origin, and which embassy or consulate they go to. Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form DS-160 must first be completed and then the confirmation page will need to be printed out to be brought to the applicant interview. While filling out the DS-160 form applicants will be required to upload their picture to the application. Not all applicants are interviewed; generally children under the age of 13 and senior citizens over the age of 80 do not need to interview. However consular officers have the discretion to require interviews from any applicant regardless of how old or you they are. All interviews must be scheduled at a US embassy or consulate in the country where you live, a prospective traveler can schedule his or her interview at any US embassy or consulate it will likely be more difficult to qualify outside of your home country. Before the interview a non-refundable visa application fee must be paid. In some cases there will be other fees that must be paid as well including but not limited to a visa insurance fee. To the interview visa applicants will need to bring several documents. A passport which must be valid for at least 6 months following the end of the trip to the US, their Nonimmigrant Visa Application form DS-160 confirmation page, application fee payment receipt, and finally if the photo upload fails on the DS-160 then the applicant must bring their photo to the interview. During the interview a consular will determine if the applicant is qualified for a visa and if so what visa type they qualify for based on their travel plans. Also they will take inkless digital fingerprints as a part of the application process. Following the interview applications may require further administrative processing. Once a visa has been approved the passport and visa will be returned. Approval of visa application is not guaranteed as such final travel arrangements should not be made until visa has been issued.

Application: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english.html

Foreign Consulates in the Boston area:
Austria, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Columbia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Germany,Greece, Haiti, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Venezuela. Cambridge:United Kingdom, Switzerland. Newton: South Korea. Honorary consulates in Boston: Bolivia, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Norway Pakistan, Poland,Romania, Sweden, Turkey. Non-sovereign:Taiwan.


Additional Information:

CPB.gov

tsa.gov

travel.state.gov

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