When considering studying abroad, the first choice that comes to a student's mind is opting for education in the USA. For numerous Indian students, the opportunity to study in the USA is akin to a dream come true. This is mainly due to the flexibility and exposure that the American education system offers.

Upon completing all the necessary procedures for studying in the USA, such as securing admission to a university, arranging finances for education, obtaining f1 visa approval, etc., another hurdle is finding a  Packing List for Indian Students going to the USA

Students generally tend to over-pack their suitcases because of fears such as "What if it's too cold there?" "What if the weather is too hot?", "What if I don't find my favorite toothpaste there?".

Understandably, you would want to have everything at arms reach when you are in a foreign country with minimal access to your surroundings. Although understandable it is impractical to pack for every possible situation that you'll come across. 

So in this blog, we've come up with the most comprehensive USA Packing List For Indian Students which consists of only the most essential things to take to the USA from India that students would need for the first few months

Travel Checklist 

You might already have an idea of what to take and how to pack your luggage. If that is the case, we are providing a very basic checklist in the below table that you might need if you just want an outline of what to pack. 

Travel Checklist  Document Checklist Medicine Checklist  Kitchen and Food Checklist 
Documents Required Passport Xerox Crocin Ready-to-eat paste
Clothing (Essential and Extras) VISA Xerox  Combiflam Maggi
Essential Electronics  Vaccination Certificate Zantac All curry powders
Household items/ Hygiene products I-20 Erythromycin Lentils
Kitchen Essentials  Air Ticket Avil Snacks
Medicines  Original mark sheets Lopomide Pressure cooker
Food items  University-specific letters  Diziron Serving spoons 
Stationery  Medical Documents Esgypyrin Plate
Foreign Currency LOR and SOP Coldact Water bottle

Keep reading to know about each checklist in detail as we've expanded clearly on all of these in specific sections down below

Documents Needed To Travel To USA

With the recent wave of modified immigration laws coming into action, ending up in the USA without the essential documentation can be a nightmare. It is always safe to carry all the documents needed to travel to the USA.

Here is a list of essential documents that all students who plan to study in the USA need to keep with themselves to avoid any complications during their stay in the USA. Having a thorough knowledge of documents is one of the most important things to know before visiting America.

  1. Passport Xerox(5 copies)
  2. VISA Xerox (5 copies)
  3. Vaccination Certificate
  4. I-20(5 copies)
  5. Air Ticket(2 copies)
  6. Original mark sheets + Degree Certificate (previous degree)
  7. Attested mark sheets + Degree Certificate (3 copies)
  8. Original transcripts + Degree Certificate (3 copies)
  9. Immunization form(specific to university)
  10. University-specific letters like admit, aid, forms, and Acceptance Letters from the University.
  11. SEVIS fee receipt(3 copies)
  12. GRE Original + Xerox copies(5 copies)
  13. TOEFL Original + Xerox copies(5 copies)
  14. Final Year Project Report
  15. Syllabus Copies
  16. Recommendation letters
  17. Medical Documents
  18. Rental Agreement or Proof of Accommodation
  19. LOR (Letter of Recommendation) and SOP (Statement of Purpose)
  20. Health Insurance Documents and Travel Insurance

Carry E-copies and Soft copies of Documents
It is crucial to have physical copies of essential documents when traveling to the USA. However, there's a risk of misplacement or damage during the journey. Therefore, maintaining soft copies of vital documents like your passport, flight ticket, and hotel reservation slip enhances your security during potential issues.

Packing list for Indian students going to USA - Basic Essential Clothes

One can never have too many clothes, this is true in the case of many students who travel to the USA for their higher studies. However, when you have been assigned a limited budget, cutting down on buying more clothes will help you a great deal. Hence, here is the basic list of certain essential clothing things that every student needs to carry to the USA from India.

  1. T-shirts (round neck) – 8
  2. T-shirts (with collar) – 3-4
  3. Jeans (stick to blue/black) – 6-7
  4. Formal shirts – 3
  5. Formal trousers – 2
  6. Undergarments – at least 15 pairs (very important)
  7. Formal suit – 1 complete set
  8. Ties – 2-3
  9. Shorts/three-fourths – 5-6
  10. Track pants – 2-3
  11. Swimming trunks – 1 (if you plan to swim after coming here)
  12. One traditional dress for festivals

Extra Apparel

  1. Towels (any kind, but I would prefer Turkish(Or Tunisian) – 1 Turkish,3 Simple
  2. Hand towels – 3-4
  3. Leather belts – 1-2
  4. Belt for jeans – 1
  5. Formal leather shoes – 1 pair
  6. Woodland all-weather shoes – 1 pair (very important)
  7. Sneakers (optional) – 1 pair
  8. Sports shoes (optional) – They are very cheap abroad. You will most probably have a pair already. Wear it and come. Wait till the Black Friday sales where you will get awesome pairs of shoes for cheap.
  9. Sunglasses – 1 pair (any good brand is okay)
  10. Socks – 6-7 pairs
  11. Sweater – 1-2 good warm ones
  12. A light jacket (you can get a thicker one once you land there)
  13. A good umbrella (don’t get the cheap ones, they can’t stand the wind)
  14. Handkerchiefs – 12 nos.
  15. Hawaii slippers – 1 pair (for wearing inside the apartment)
  16. Flip-flops – 1 pair (for summer and spring)
  17. Bedsheets – 2
  18. Blanket – 1 (optional)
  19. Pillow covers – 3
  20. A good wallet (leather) – 1
  21. A wallet for a passport
  22. Shoe polish – 1 (don’t get liquid, might spill during travel)
  23. Shoe polishing brush – 1
  24. Monkey cap – 1

Essential Electronics 

This list contains something very crucial to every Genz's existence; Electronics. Getting access to several electronic gadgets that employ cutting-edge technology is one of the perks of getting to study in the USA.

However, you all know that buying one is not a cheap affair, especially in a country like the USA. Hence, till the time you become financially independent, here are a few basic electronic items that every student needs to put on the list of things to pack for the USA from India.

  1. External HDD (get the portable one) – You might need this for bringing all those movies, music, and files from back home. Minimum of 1 TB. Any brand is fine. Also, a decent pen drive, in case you need to download any study material from official, online resources provided by your university/college in the USA.
  2. USB keyboard and mouse (optional) – gamers might need this. Even otherwise, it is a good thing to have. Get Logitech.
    If you already have a laptop, you may bring that. Even if it is quite old, preserve it till the Black Friday sales begin. There are numerous lucrative deals on electronic gadgets during the last two days of November every year in the USA.
  3. iPod/mp3 player (optional) – In case you may need to travel/run using these. Also comes in handy for trying to look cool at airports! Jokes apart, these little musical companions are very useful during long travels.
  4. A small table clock with alarm functionality
  5. A scientific calculator (very important) Casio fx991MS or fx991ES.
  6. A good branded, decent wristwatch.
  7. Indian pin to US pin converters – 2-3

Now, if you are not carrying a whole lot of extra clothes apart from the items listed in the clothing list given above and if you feel it necessary, then you can carry the following list of extra electronic gadgets as part of your luggage to study in the USA.

  1. Digital Camera- For the photographer in you! Avoid buying cameras with AA batteries. Buy models with Li-ion batteries. Carry them only if you possess one with the above specifications.
  2. A good pair of headphones with a mic: A lot of devices nowadays do not come with headphone jacks like in the old days. Hence, buying a good, wireless pair of headphones with good-quality mics will come in handy. A better option would be to wait until the Black Friday sale starts.
  3. A branded spike-buster.
  4. An extra battery for your wristwatch.
  5. Blank DVDs (4-5)

Read More: USA Education Loan Process

Household items/ Hygiene products

It is extremely important to understand the importance of personal hygiene, especially while studying abroad. The Western concepts of hygiene may come as a shock to many first-time students who may not have traveled outside of the country before. Also, a lot of brands that are available in India may not be available in the USA and vice versa. Hence, it is always better to carry the personal care products that have become part of your routine while traveling to the USA.

Here is a list of certain personal care products that all students should carry while traveling to the USA.

  1. Toothpaste – one large tube. Brands also available in the US – Colgate, Close-Up, Pepsodent, Aquafresh (Note: The Pepsodent here is not the same as the Pepsodent in India, it is owned by a different company, not by Unilever. (This is a very important fact))
  2. Toothbrushes – 3-4
  3. Soap – 1-2 bars/ 3 bottles of Shower Gel. Again, you can buy them from the US. The following brands are also available in the USA – Dove, Palmolive, and Pears. If you don’t use any of these brands, then better get used to them. No use bringing lots of soap bars from India.
  4. Shampoo – 1 bottle. Brands also available in the US – Head and Shoulders, Sunsilk, Dove, Pantene, and Nizoral. Again, get used to any one of these brands.
  5. Shaving razors (for guys) – A couple of disposable ones.
  6. Shaving foam (don’t buy cream) – 1 small can
  7. Cold cream – 1 bottle
  8. Vaseline – 1 bottle
  9. Good clean combs – 2-3
  10. Comb cleaner/old toothbrush for cleaning the combs.
  11. Soap cases – 2
  12. Hair oil – 2 bottles
  13. Deodorant – 1 can
  14. Nail cutter – 2
  15. Earbuds – 1 small pack
  16. Sunscreen – 1 bottle
  17. Lip balm – 2 tubes

Must-Have Packing List for Female Indian Students Traveling to the USA:

  1. Toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss
  2. Shampoo and conditioner
  3. Body wash or soap
  4. Face wash and moisturizer
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Deodorant
  7. Hairbrush or comb
  8. Hair ties, clips, or accessories
  9. Sanitary pads or tampons
  10. Makeup and cosmetics (as desired)
  11. Nail care kit (nail clippers, file, polish)
  12. Perfume or body spray

Kitchen Essentials

Due to the high cost of living in certain university hostels, a lot of Indian students prefer to live outside the campus, in studio apartments, or rent one with fellow students who stay outside. For such students, food is a major concern.

Most students who study in the USA cannot afford to spend money on buying food, daily due to budget constraints. Hence, most of them prefer to cook their dinner or lunch. In that case, getting some basic kitchenware from your home country will come in handy!

Here is a list of kitchen essentials that you may need to carry if you plan on living in an accommodation which is outside the university premises. This list will come in handy for people traveling to the USA for work purposes as well.

  1. Pressure cooker
  2. Pressure pan – 1. As far as possible, get both the cooker and the pan from the same brand to interchange the gaskets and the weights.
  3. Medium-size kadai for cooking vegetables – 1
  4. Serving spoons (of various sizes) – 3-4
  5. SS Plate – 1
  6. Kadai for boiling milk/water – 1
  7. Knives – 3-4
  8. Vegetable chopping board – 1
  9. Stainless Steel glasses/tumblers – 3
  10. SS spoons – 3-4
  11. Extra weights and gaskets for the cookers – 3
  12. Chapati roller – 1
  13. Butter knives – 2
  14. SS forks – 2
  15. Kadai for making sambar/dal – 1
  16. Tea strainer – 1
  17. Water bottle (preferably Tupperware) – 1

Food Items Allowed to Carry to the USA from India

This next list will tell you all about the food items allowed to be carried to the USA from India.  When it comes to Indian Cuisine, one cannot limit it to a single dish. You may have observed a lot of students carrying delectable goodies from their homes while traveling to the USA. For students and working professionals who prefer eating homemade Indian dishes to eating out, the below list of ingredients and foods may come in handy.

However, you need to keep in mind that US immigration laws only allow certain food items on the flight. The items mentioned in the below list of food items allowed to be carried to the USA from India are to be packed in the prescribed quantities only. 

  1. Ready-to-eat paste: 5-6 bottles minimum.
  2. Rice: 3-4 kg for initial use
  3. Maggi: Maggi is a brand that has been restricted to Indian markets only. So if you are particular about this brand, then you may need to carry a minimum of 10-12 packets. You won’t get Maggi in any other stores in the USA except the Indian ones. So carry as much as you can.
  4. Some homemade sweets for yourself 
  5. Pickles: 3-4 bottles
  6. Some snacks:  how much ever you want, for the initial days
  7. All curry powders: Chilli, Garam Masala, Rasam, Sambar, Asafoetida, and other spices that you may likely require while studying abroad – 0.5 to 1 kg each
  8. Lentils (whichever you prefer, mainly for lentil-based curries) – 2 kg each
  9. Salt and sugar – 0.5 kg each
  10. Papads: 2-3 packs
  11. Tamarind: 1 kg
  12. Ginger-garlic paste: 2 bottles

Read More: Abroad Education: Scholarship Vs. Self-funding Vs. Education loans

List of Medicines

It is essential to keep several basic medicines handy as you do not get them without a valid prescription in the USA. Again, certain medicines that have been part of Indian households for ages together may not be available in the USA for immediate consumption.  Hence, having a stock of the following medicines will be very helpful during your stay in the USA.

  1. For Cold and Fever – Consider Crocin.
  2. For Body Pain – Options include Crocin and Combiflam.
  3. For Indigestion and Gastric Problems – The suggested medications are Gelucil and Zantac.
  4. For Throat Infection – Erythromycin is recommended.
  5. For Allergies – Avil .25 is a suitable choice.
  6. For Vomiting – Avomine is effective.
  7. For Toothache – Combiflam can be used.
  8. For Cold and Headache – Amurtanjan is a suitable option.
  9. For Stomach Pain – Consider Cyclopam.
  10. For Diarrhoea – Lopomide is recommended.
  11. For Dizziness – Diziron is suitable.
  12. For Sprains – Esgypyrin can be used.
  13. For Common Cold – Options include Coldact and Vicks Vaporub

But remember not to take the medicines in bulk and especially don't forget the valid prescription for the medicines you take. Because otherwise you would be stopped by the TSA at the airport.


Smaller things which we generally tend to ignore often play an important role in any bigger process. The same can be said in the case of stationery items in the process of study in the USA.  Do you remember all those times when losing a small marker was never a worrisome event for you in India? That won’t work once you reach the USA for further studies. 

Any expenses that are being utilized from the education loan amount are charged with interest to students who plan to study in the USA with the help of an education loan. Hence, carrying the stationery items mentioned in the following list will help you in the long term during your study in the USA.

  1. Pens – 3-4
  2. Notebooks – 2-3
  3. Pencils – 3-4
  4. Erasers – 3
  5. Sharpeners – 3
  6. Key chains – 2
  7. Staple machine – 1
  8. Pins – 2 boxes
  9. Glue sticks – 2
  10. Markers – 2
  11. Highlighters – 1
  12. A4 sheets – 1 quire
  13. Small ruler – 1
  14. Phone book – 1. Keep all your friends’ and relatives’ phone numbers written inside before you leave ( or use Google Sync like a normal person)
  15. Cellophane tape – 1 roll

Foreign Currency

Though payment cards like International Debit and Credit cards are accepted worldwide, carrying local currency like 1000 or 2000 USD is a good idea to meet travel expenses. Get the local currency by visiting foreign exchange centers or currency exchange offices. Carry forex cards in the US to pay grocery bills, shopping bills, etc.

Carry about USD 1,000 (INR 83,300)  in the currency more or less, and the rest can be taken in loaded forex cards. Remember to always carry loose change that you can use for eating/drinking during your travel journey.
Forex cards are cost-effective so make sure to carry most of your money on these cards.
For tuition fees, it is best to wire the money directly to the university.

Suitcase And Weight Guidelines

Before you start packing your luggage, You need to know the suitcase and weight guidelines for a seamless and stress-free travel experience, it is essential to stick to the luggage guidelines and ensure that both the number and weight of your bags with the specified limits. 

Check-in bags should not exceed 158 cm (62 inches) in total linear dimensions, with a maximum weight of 23 kg (50 pounds).
Hand baggage, including a laptop, briefcase, and purse, is permitted, but the weight of the hand baggage should typically not surpass a specified limit, usually ranging from 5 to 10 kg. 
Ensure that you have Transportation Security Administration (TSA) locks for added security
Some restrictions to keep in mind when packing your luggage are:

When packing for your trip, avoid including heavy bottles of liquid, hefty books, and reading materials, as well as expensive jewelry in your luggage. 
It's worth noting that the list provided is not exhaustive, and travelers are encouraged to exercise discretion based on their specific needs.
To address potential issues such as lost luggage or accidents during your journey, it is advisable to secure travel insurance coverage. Most education loans offer suitable travel insurance plans that protect from unforeseen circumstances. 

With this list, we have come to the end of a rather large number of things that students may need to carry when they are traveling to study in the USA. If any items on these lists may not seem very significant to you, do feel free to exclude them from your packing checklist. You may choose whichever is essential to your course in the USA and pack accordingly.

Indian Embassy Information

Information about the Indian Embassy is essential for first-time travelers, offering assistance in addressing potential challenges throughout their journey in the USA. The Indian Embassy is ready to offer comprehensive support should you need assistance during your stay in the country.

Note: WeMakeScholars is an organization funded and supported by the Government of India that focuses on International Education finance. We are associated with 10+ public/Pvt banks/ NBFCs in India and help you get the best abroad education loan matching your profile. As this initiative is under the Digital India campaign, it is free of cost. The organization has vast experience dealing with students going to various education destinations like the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, China, and France among others.