Britons planning US trips must gather relevant information about the various aspects of visa and passport policies before booking flights to USA. Visa Waiver Program & ESTA are some vital points that Britons must take care of the most.
A unique cultural pot boiler, USA is a nation that brims with dazzling skylines, cloud-kissing skyscrapers, shopping extravaganza, pulsating nightlife and much more. From the Orlando’s Disneyworld to Las Vegas’s casinos – US offers eternal charms to bewitch visitors of all age and tastes.
Interminable tapestry of charming attractions, alluring activities and state-of-art facilities in the stunning American cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas andOrlando make US rank high amongst the most wanted holiday destinations for Britons. Travellers book air tickets not only for leisure holidays but also for academics or business trips. Unsurprisingly, numerous low cost carriers offer cheap flights to USA several times a week.
However, vacationers planning to book cheap flights to USA must consult the official and reliable sources such as the website of Foreign and Commonwealth Office or that of the Embassy of the United Stated in London before-hand to gather all the essential Passport and Visa requisites and ESTA requirements.
Britons taking flights to the USA must hold a valid passport. Passport is required to remain valid only for the length of your stay in the United States.
- Passports of tourists applying for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must be valid for at least 90 days from date of entry.
- All travellers visiting USA under the Visa Waiver Program require individual machine-readable passports. Children included on parent’s passport also require their own machine-readable passports to enter the country. Conversely, travellers not having machine-readable passports require a valid visa to enter the country.
British Nationals taking flights to USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days. The types of journeys that are allowed under the VWP include general travel/tourism, certain types of businesses and transit flights.
- Passengers using US airports for transit reasons are required to obtain a transit visa except for those travelling under the Visa Waiver Program.
- As per the FCO, only individuals who are described as a ‘British Citizen’ on the photo page in the passport are eligible to enter the USA under the VWP. Others need a visa to enter the United States of America.
- Entry authorizations under the Visa Waiver Program are at the discretion of the US authorities. Hence, travellers contriving USA tour should check the criteria and requirements at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel to make sure they meet all the requirements.
The Visa Waiver program enables easier air travel to the USA for tourism or business purposes for nationals of 36 participating countries including the UK. Under this program tourists are allowed to stay for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.
Tourists looking for more details on the VWP and other facets of US immigration can log on to http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/usv.shtm or http://london.usembassy.gov/. Additionally, tourists looking for further information on the eligibility to enter the US under the VWP can log on to http://london.usembassy.gov/.
- Under the Electronic Travel System Authorisation (ESTA), US authorities require Britons travelling under the VWP to supply their valid details online at least 72 hours before travelling.
- Travellers not possessing ESTA can be denied entry into the USA.
- ESTA is valid for a period of two years or till the validity of the visitors passport (whichever is shorter).
- Airlines flying into the US cities like New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, just to name a few, can deny check-in to passengers without valid ESTA.
- Travellers possessing ESTA would still need to furnish the respective airlines with passport details, country of residence and address of the first night’s accommodation in the US.
- UK Emergency Travel Documents are not valid for entry into the US under the VWP. ETD holders must apply for the suitable US visa.
- Tourists planning USA trips can apply online at ESTA at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov for $14 application fee that has been determined by the Department of US Customs and Border Protection. Additionally, the fee must be paid by credit cards.
- Third parties, such as relatives or travel agents, can apply for an ESTA on applicant’s behalf. However, the applicant will still be held responsible under the law for the questions answered on his behalf.
- Those planning US holidays should opt for a comprehensive medical insurance plan that should include hospital treatment and medical examination costs.
- Tourists should seek medical advice before travelling to the USA. Likewise, it is important to ensure that all vaccinations are up-to-date.
- Those looking for exhaustive information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention should visit the visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and NHS Scotland’s fit for Travel.