Britons travelling to the US must acquaint themselves with the valuable information concerning the various aspects of country’s visa policies before booking flights to USA. Concepts like Visa Waiver Program & ESTA can be tricky if not paid close attention to.

The fascinating attractions and thrilling activities in the dazzling American cities like New YorkLos AngelesLas VegasOrlando and Washington are the reasons why tickets on flights to USA are amongst some of the most searched air travel commodities on the internet.

The immigration counters at the US airports handle millions of Britons every year who head here not only for tourism but for as varied purposes as business, employment, academics and research and medical treatment. A significant number of such travellers prefer to book multi leg itineraries with cheap flights to USA being one of segments of their travel whereby they use American soil in transit before taking their onward connection to their final destination.

No Matter what purpose of travel or type of itinerary one holds, entry requirements to the USA affect one and all those intending to enter the country. British vacationers looking for airfares on cheap flights to USA must acquaint themselves with different aspects of these requirements. Internet is swarming with useful resources with information on entry requirements such as visa to USA. However, one should only 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. Some useful information taken from these sources about US Visa for British Nationals can be found below.

Who Needs A Visa?

Anyone who is not authorized to enter the US visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), or is not exempt from the visa prerequisite, or whose registration has been rejected under ESTA.

  • Types of Visa
  • B-1 Visa – Business visitors, Domestic Employees, Academics, Researchers and Students
  • B-2 Visa – Holiday, tourism, medical treatment
  • C-1 Visa – Transiting the United States
  • F-1/M-1 Visa – Students: academic & vocational
  • J-1 Visa – Exchange Visitor, Academics, Au-pairs, Interns
  • Q-1 Visa – International Cultural Exchange

The list is not exhaustive. One can find more categories on the website of Embassy of United States in London at

  • Visa Application
  • With few exceptions, non-immigrant visa applicants aged 14 to 79 are obligated to schedule an appointment for an interview with a U.S. consular officer.
  • The US embassy does not acknowledge walk-in applications.
  • Visa applicants below 14 and above 79 years of age are not required to appear in person. They can use the Embassy-approved courier service to submit their applications.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

This Programme allows most British passport holders to visit the US for up to 90 days. VWP includes different kinds of journeys that include general travel/tourism, business trips and transiting.

Scores of British nationals visit USA under VWP every year. As per FCO, only individuals who are described as a ‘British Citizen’ on the photo page in their passport are eligible to enter the US under the VWP. Others need a visa to enter the United States of America.


Under the Electronic Travel System Authorisation or ESTA, US authorities require Britons travelling under the VWP to supply certain details online at least 72 hours before their travel.

  • All those travellers who do not have an ESTA will be refused entry into the US.
  • ESTA is legitimate for a period of two years or till the validity of the traveller’s passport lasts (whichever is shorter).
  • The Department of US Customs and Border Protection has determined $14 as a charge for an ESTA.
  • Payments can only be made by a credit card.
  • Third parties, such as relatives or travel agents, can apply for an ESTA on behalf of the applicant. However, the applicant will still be held responsible under the law for the questions answered on his behalf.
  • Various unauthorised third parties have created websites that charge for providing information on ESTA and for submitting applications on behalf of the travellers. Such websites are not authorized by, associated or affiliated in any way with the authorities of US. Britons are advised to be wary of such businesses.
  • Acquiring an ESTA must not be confused with the separate requirement, which will continue to apply, for you to furnish your airline with details of your passport, country of residence and address of your first night’s accommodation in the US.

Emergency Travel Documents (ETD)

UK Emergency Travel Documents are not valid for entry into the US under the VWP. ETD holders must apply for the suitable US visa.

Visiting Canada & Re-entering USA

Travellers permitted to visit the USA under the VWP and who decide to make a short tour toCanada are generally given re-admittance to the US under the VWP provided they still meet the requirements of the VWP. The British Consulate General in Toronto has reported few cases of British nationals being declined re-admittance into the US under the VWP after a previous stay in the country.



Disclaimer:  The information in this article relating to visa/entry requirements is correct at the time of publishing. You must consult the relevant Embassy or Consulate for updated info on visa policies as requirements may change. You should check the up-to-date position in good time before booking/departure.

This site uses cookies to analyze traffic and for ads measurement purposes.
learn more about how we use cookies.