Information for Foreign Visitors in San Diego


There are many resources for foreign visitors in San Diego.  While traveling far from home, take comfort that there are many people from your country who now live in San Diego.  They host cultural events and provide San Diego resources for fellow emigrants and visitors to San Diego.

You can find San Diego resources from the internet links below to help make you feel at home or find assistance if you need help.  Come visit San Diego.  It is a great international city where you will feel welcome and experience travel that you will remember for a lifetime.

Current Time in San Diego

Visa / Non-Visa Requirements – Visitors from thirty-six countries may enter the United States without a Visa for a trip of less than 90 days.  However, they must obtain travel authorization from the Department of Homeland Security. It is free to apply, authorizations are generally valid for two years, and a response is usually immediate.

Citizens of Mexico and Bermuda are required to show a passport for entry while citizens of Canada must show proof of citizenship and identity.  For details and exceptions, visit American travel requirements for Canadians, American travel requirements for Mexicans, American travel requirements for Bermudans.

Otherwise, travelers must obtain a Business or Visitor Visa from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Visas can typically be obtained in less than 30 days and may require a personal interview.

Federal Holidays – Some of the major attractions are open every day of the year.  However, most are closed on Thanksgiving Day in November and Christmas Day in December. Many are also closed on New Years Day in January.  For other federal holidays, most attractions, restaurants, and shopping centers stay open.

Tipping / (Gratuity) – When eating at a restaurant, it is customary to tip the waiter or waitress 15% for satisfactory service. People will typically give 20% or more for very good service and 10% or less for very bad service. It is also customary to tip taxi cab drivers 10 – 15% and provide hotel maids $1 or more for each night’s stay.

Currency Exchange Locations in San Diego – There are a number of locations for foreign tourists to exchange currencies into U.S. Dollars, including locations at the San Diego Airport and at Horton Plaza in Downtown San Diego.

Consulates in San Diego – There are more than two dozen Consulars in San Diego able to assist travelers in need of help. Some have offices while others hold regular day jobs and serve as official representatives. The City of San Diego provides the names and phone numbers for each of the consular representatives in San Diego.

International Cottages at Balboa Park – Representatives from countries around the world meet at Balboa Park each Sunday afternoon to share their cultures with visitors.  Several of these countries host a web site with contact information, notices about upcoming events, and San Diego businesses owned by or supporting natives of the respective countries.

San Diego Based Groups Representing Various Countries

Argentina – House of Argentina in Balboa Park

Australia – Australian Pub, and the San Diego Lions Australian Footy Club.

Canadian Club of San Diego and the Canadian Consulate

China – House of China in Balboa Park

Denmark – House of Denmark in Balboa Park

Finland – House of Finland in Balboa Park and Henry’s Pub in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

France – House of France in Balboa Park and the French-American Chamber of Commerce

Hungary – House of Hungary in Balboa Park

India – House of India in Balboa Park

Iran – House of Iran in Balboa Park and the Persian Cultural Center – Check the Events Calendar for an Extensive List of Activities.

Ireland – Get information to watch the local Soccer and Gaelic Football Clubs.

Israel – House of Israel in Balboa Park and the Jewish in San Diego Resource Center.

Italy – House of Italy in Balboa Park + Be sure to visit the Little Italy area of Downtown San Diego.

Lithuania – House of Lithuania in Balboa Park and the San Diego Chapter of the Lithuanian-American Community.

Mexico – House of Mexico in Balboa Park and the Mexican Consulate in San Diego

Netherlands-American Society of Southern California

Norway – House of Norway in Balboa Park

Palestine – House of Palestine in Balboa Park

Panama – House of Panama in Balboa Park

Peru – House of Peru in Balboa Park

Philippines – House of Philippines in Balboa Park

Puerto Rico – House of Puerto Rico in Balboa Park

Scotland – House of Scotland in Balboa Park

Spain – House of Spain in Balboa Park

Sweden – House of Sweden in Balboa Park and the Swedish Consulate

Turkey – House of Turkey in Balboa Park

Ukraine – House of Ukraine in Balboa Park

More Information about Visiting America – To get an online overview about other top locations to visit in the United States and to organize your travel bookmarks, try the Top 10 US Travel destinations for 2012.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: Airport / Harbor Island, Horton Plaza / Core, Visitor Basics / Foreign Help |

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