How to TRANSFER your money to the USA and/or Pay your Tuition Fee
(from your home country):


  1. Carry Cash in Hand (0.5% - 1.5% Surcharge)
    1. Only the currency exchange surcharge charged by your bank or your money-transfer company like "Western Union" is applicable.
    2. Banks have a higher currency exchange surcharge of ~1.5%, while a money-transfer company like "Western Union" charge a minimum of 0.5% currency exchange surcharge.
    3. You shall need money during travel, take $400 – $1000 with you, it should be sufficient.
    4. If for a particular reason, you want to carry a large amount of cash, Remember that from most countries to the US, only a maximum total of $3000 are allowed to be carried "in hand".
    5. Carry US currency (USD) mostly in small denominations (5, 10, and 20 dollar bills) in your wallet (you will need them).
  2. Demand Draft (~1.5% Surcharge + DD Sending Fee)
    (also called DD, sight drafts, bank drafts, certified checks or bank checks)
    1. It is a financial draft payable on demand.
    2. Demand Drafts are mostly issued by banks, for which you pay the default ~1.5% currency exchange surcharge.
    3. A bank (the maker) issues a demand draft to a client (drawer) (you), directing the drawee (one of its own branches or another bank) to pay a certain sum to the specified party (payee).
    4. Demand drafts can only be made payable to a specified party, also known as "pay to order".

  3. Wire Transfer (1.5% - 1.625% Surcharge + Wire Transfer Fee)
    (also called bank transfer or credit transfer)
    1.  A method of electronic funds transfer from one entity (or person) to another.
    2. It can be made by 2 ways:
      1. From one bank account to another bank account or
      2. Through a transfer of cash at a cash office.
    3. Its often the cheapest method for transferring funds between bank accounts.
    4. It can be done through money transfer agencies like TransferWise, which charges a currency exchange surcharge of ~1.625.
    5. It can also be done through banks in your home country which can charge a currency exchange surcharge of ~1.5% alongwith a Wire transfer Fee.
    6. The entity wishing to do a transfer approaches the bank and gives the bank the order to transfer a certain amount of money while giving them IBAN and BIC codes of the entity to which the money needs to be sent.
    7. This mode of transfer typically implies charges from both of the participating banks, which can be between $8-$25, depending on the 2 banks.

Not Really Recommended:

  1. Traveler’s Check (Highest Surcharge = 0.5%+ Surcharge + Issuer Fee + Receiver Fee)
    1. You can use them while travel, but you probably wouldn't, also not recommended for carrying a large amount.
    2. Are preprinted, fixed-amount cheque designed to allow the you (the person signing it) to make an unconditional payment to anyone.
    3. It can never 'bounce' unless the issuer goes bankrupt and out of business.
    4. It will unconditionally guarantee payment of the face amount even if the cheque is: fraudulently issued or was stolen or lost.
    5. Travelers cheques are no longer widely accepted and cannot easily be cashed, even at the banks that issue the cheques.
    6. A high fee is charged by the issuer and agent as well, also the "less favourable" foreign exchange rate is charged.
    7. If for a particular reason, you want to carry a large amount of money as traveller's cheques, Remember that from most countries to the US, only a maximum total of $7000 are allowed to be carried as "traveller's cheques".
  2. Forex Card (0.5%+ Surcharge + ATM Withdrawl Fee)
    also called Travel Card or International Prepaid Card)
    1. It is an ATM card issued by a bank in your home country which can be used to withdraw money in the US.
    2. It is recommended for short-term business trips to the US, so you don’t really need one.
    3. Has a "Lock in exchange rate", that is, it provides protection against exchange rate fluctuations with the safety of carrying currency on a card when travelling internationally. 
    4. These cards transact in Foreign Currency, US Dollars, in our case, so, you will spend Dollars at the rate you buy the dollars.
    5. It can be used in places where a "debit card" is accepted at Point-of-Sale or online.
    6. Funds can also be withdrawn in local currency at any ATM at a nominal transaction fee ranging between $1 to $3 for every transaction.
    7. These cards are not associated with an operative account, so you cannot do funds transfer from this card, that is, No NEFT, RTGS and SWIFT transfers are allowed. 
    8. You can Top up this card with money while you travel.
    9. Top up can be completed in a matter of minutes (Can take a maximum of a couple of hours).
    10. In order to load cash onto the card, either you or your authorized representative will have to visit the branch personally and make the request. Make sure you get appropriate forms from the banks and authorize your parents/sponsor. Also, confirm with your bank if they allow you to load the card through your existing account with the bank through internet Banking. It will be convenient for your parents/sponsor to load your card.
    11. These cards come with the facility of checking their balance online, so you dont need to waste your money by checking your account balance at an ATM (As even checking the balance is chargeable). 
    12. Make sure that the forex card you choose is compliant with FEMA regulations and will allow you to carry more than $10,000 in a year.

  3. International ATM-cum-Debit Cards
    1. Overseas ATM transactions and swiping at merchant locations will incur an "exorbitant" fee.
    2. Also the conversion rate of the currecy you are paying in, at the day of transaction; will be implied.

15 Things to Remember Before You Transfer Your Money -

  1. The option you choose to transfer the money depends heavily upon how much you plan to take with you to the US. 
  2. It also depends on the transfer fee (international surcharge/commission fees) for that particular mode of transfer of money.
  3. If you plan to take the first semester fees with you, take a DD for the First Semester Fees (+ $500 just in case) in the name of the university. Remember to Not carry the tuition fees for the full year as cash in hand.
  4. Since your demand draft amount is somewhat greater than your tuition fees, No worries!, once your bank draft is cleared and credited to the university account, they will refund the money to you as a personal check. You can contact the Bursar’s Office of your university to resolve any questions you may have about finances.
  5. Figuring out your living expenses for six months may require a bit of research on your part. Take just the right amount for the first semester (especially if you are taking money out of an education loan). Consider food costs, the price for laundering clothes, replenishing toiletries, the occasional fun outing with friends, and other miscellaneous expenses.
    Here are some conservative estimates:
    1. Texas, Florida – About $400 per month
    2. Houghton, Michigan - About $500 per month
    3. New York, California – About $600 per month
  6. If you have taken an education loan, some bank managers shall not issue demand drafts in your name. If this is the case, get your second draft made out to the University as well. You will be able to get a personal check from the university after submitting the DD's to the university.
  7. Open a bank account in the US whenever you get time to do so.
  8. You will get an ATM debit card immediately when you open the account. 
  9. Try to get an on-campus job as soon as possible (ASAP), do the job for the first week or two (at the least), it will allow you to get get your Social Security Number (SSN), which is required if you want to get a Credit Card made in your name. 
  10. If you plan to take the Living Expenses cost for 6 months to 1 year with you and not wire transfer it, take a DD of that money in your own name.
  11. Now deposit the "living expenses DD" or bank check into your newly opened account (Remember: A DD will take 10 days to be credited to the account).
  12. You should also have USD in cash on hand to utilize for the first 2 week of expenses until your bank account has been opened in the USA and your living expenses DD has been transferred.
  13. If you plan to transfer a large amount of the money ($30,000+ USD), have your parents wire transfer the money to your account after you have successfully opened a bank account in USA.
  14. Taking the entire money ($30,000+ USD) in DD is a possibility, but its not advised, as it can become a large hassle and a great source of tensions, especially if you happen to lose the DD.
  15. As per FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) regulation, a student going abroad for education may be sent a maximum of $1,00,000 or equivalent during the financial year.

References -


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