Travelling to a country of which you’re not a citizen should be all excitement and no stress. Knowing the passport rules and regulations of the country you’re visiting beforehand will help ensure your experience crossing borders is hassle free, no matter where you venture to.
What type of visa do I need to travel to the United States?
In most cases, British citizens don’t need a visa to travel to the United States.
Under the newly implemented Visa Waiver Program, citizens of participating countries – including the United Kingdom – only need to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, when both visiting the USA and passing through to another destination.
This is so that border control can deem individuals fit for entrance before they actually reach US borders.
How do I apply for an ESTA?
Applications for ESTAs are, in most cases, quick and easy, and can be done online.
In order to apply for an ESTA, you’ll need –
- To provide advance passenger information such as passport details, country of residence and address of your first night’s accommodation in the US.
- A valid passport, the cover should include the integrated chip designating it as an ePassport
- To be travelling for less than 90 days
- To be travelling for tourism and certain types of business
- A credit or debit card for the required application fee
- You must receive authorisation from ESTA at least 72 hours before you travel
How long is my ESTA valid for?
Once you’ve obtained an ESTA, it will remain valid for two years, unless any of your passport information changes. If this happens, you’ll need to apply for a new one. It should be noted that an ESTA is not a visa, and will not stand in place of one if your particular travel type requires one.
When will I need a US visa, not an ESTA?
If you’re travelling to the United States for any purpose other than a holiday or brief business activity, you’ll most likely be required to travel with a visa.
Likewise, there are some cases in which British citizens will not be able to travel to the United States underneath the Visa Waiver Program, which will instead require them to apply for the necessary paperwork from the US Embassy or Consulate.
How much money do I need to have with me?
You may be asked to prove that you have sufficient funds available on your arrival to support yourself during your trip, even if you’re staying with family and friends.
Where can I get more information on US passport and visa requirements?
For more information on passport and visa requirements when travelling to the United States, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa/entry-requirements.
When in doubt, you should always familiarise yourself with your next holiday destination’s visa requirements. This will ensure you spend less time in the airport and more time on the beach.