VISAS - USA VISAS
Travelling to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program Important Update
Important information if you are a United Kingdom passport holder or from one of the 35 eligible countries you are able to travel to the USA for a business or tourist visit of up to 90 days, without requiring a visa.
The US Department of Homeland Security has introduced an online system for advance authorisation to travel to the United States, the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA).
It is now a requirement that all travellers to the United States who are travelling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) apply online for advance authorisation. Passengers will need to login to the website https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and register at least 72 hours prior to travel.
||If application is successful it will be valid for multiple applications for 2 years or until the expiry date of the passport, whichever comes first or unless the authorisation is revoked.
||Authorisation is not a guarantee of admissibility to the United States however, without authorisation travellers may be denied boarding to the United States or denied admission at a US port of entry.
Note: Travellers can log on to the website and register now. They do not need to wait for flight bookings to be confirmed. For UK passport holders your passport must be valid for the duration of your visit to the United States.
THE UNITED STATES VISA WAIVER PROGRAMME
Do I qualify for visa free travel?
With the introduction of visa free travel
to citizens of 35 countries, it is now possible for many
travellers, including British citizens, to enter the
United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program
Citizens of the following countries: Andorra, Australia,
Austria, Belgium Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal,
San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
and the United Kingdom may travel visa free under the
VISA WAIVER PROGRAM if they meet ALL of the following
||Travelling for business, pleasure or transit only;
||Staying in the United States for 90 days or less;
||The traveller is a citizen
of one of the countries named above, travelling on
a valid, and individual machine readable passport.
||Have not been arrested or convicted of any criminal activity
||Overstayed on a previous visit to the USA
||Have a communicable disease
From 26 June 2005 all visitors to the United States must have a Machine Readable passport or be in possession of a valid visa.
Sample of a Machine readable passport:
Note: A passport indicating
that the bearer is a British Subject, British Dependent
Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British
National (Overseas) Citizen, or British Protected Person
does not qualify for travel without a visa. A passport
which states holder has Right of Abode or indefinite
leave to remain in the United Kingdom does not qualify
for visa free travel;
Important: Some travellers may not be eligible to enter
the United States visa free under the VWP. These include
people who have been arrested, even if the arrest did
not result in a criminal conviction, those with criminal
records, (the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not
apply to U.S. visa law), certain serious communicable
illnesses, those who have been refused admission into,
or have been deported from, the United States, or have
previously overstayed on the VWP. Such travellers must
apply for special restricted visas. If they attempt to
travel without a visa, they may be refused entry into
the United States.
Passport Validity: Under the Visa Waiver Program, the
passport must be valid for at least 90 days from the
date on which the holder enters the United States. If
not, the holder will be admitted until the expiration
date on the passport. Note: Passport holders from Andorra,
Brunei, and San Marino must be in possession of a passport
valid for at least six months from the date of departure
from the United States, even if travelling visa free
under the Visa Waiver Program.
Holding a return
or onward ticket: If you are travelling
on an electronic ticket, retain a copy of the itinerary
for presentation to U.S. immigration. Note: Travellers
with onward tickets terminating in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda
or the Caribbean Islands must be legal permanent residents
of these areas;
||Entering the United
States aboard an air or sea carrier that has agreed
to participate in the program. This includes aircraft
of a U.S. corporation that has entered into an
agreement with the Department of Homeland Security
to carry passengers under the Visa Waiver Program.
Note: Other private or official aircraft or vessels
do not meet this requirement; and
||In possession of a completed
form I-94W, obtainable from airline and shipping
Or, if entering the United States by land from Canada
||Is in possession of a
completed form I-94W, issued by the immigration authorities
at the port of entry, and a $6.00 fee, payable only
in U.S. dollars.
Holders Note: British passports which contain the exception extension
stamp extending the validity of the passport for two
years are valid for travel to the United States. The
stamp reads: "This passport
is hereby exceptionally extended valid until (DATE)" and
is preceded by either the words "Passport Office",
if extended by a U.K. Post Office, or "Passport
Office, London", if extended by the Passport Office
in either Liverpool, Peterborough, Newport, Glasgow,
Belfast or London.
Refused a Visa
While travellers who have been refused a visa under the
provisions of Section 221(g) or 214(b) of the Immigration
and Nationality Act are not ineligible to travel visa
under the Visa Waiver Program, they will be questioned
by an immigration official at the U. S. port of entry
regarding the refusal by the Embassy or Consulate.
The traveller should carry with
him or her evidence of his or her intention to depart
the United States at the end of the visit. This is
generally satisfied by furnishing evidence of strong
social and economic ties to the traveller’s place
of permanent residence. There is no set form that this
should take as each person's circumstances differ.
If the immigration officer is not satisfied
that the traveller meets the qualifications for non-immigrant
status, the traveller will be denied entry.
Transit under the Visa Waiver Program
Travellers who qualify for visa free travel under the
Visa Waiver Program are eligible to transit the United
States. Application for entry is made on the arrival/departure
form I-94W provided by the airline or shipping company.
If transiting the United States to a destination in Canada,
Mexico or the adjacent islands, the traveller may re-enter
the United States on the return journey using any mode
of transport, as long as the total visit, including both
periods of time spent in transit and in Canada, Mexico
or the adjacent islands, does not exceed 90 days. If
transiting to a destination outside of Canada, Mexico,
or the adjacent islands, the return journey must be on
a participating carrier, but need not be within 90 days,
as the traveller will be required to make a new application
for admission and therefore, required to complete a new
arrival/departure form, I-94W. Travellers transiting
the United States to take up residence in Mexico, Canada,
Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands must be legal permanent
residents of these areas.
Important reminder: Visa-free travel
does not include those who plan to study, work or remain
more than 90 days. Such travellers need visas. If an
officer of the USCIS believes that a visa-free traveller
is going to study, work or stay longer than 90 days,
the officer will refuse to admit the traveller.
I am entering the United States aboard a private plane,
can I travel visa free?
If you are entering the United States aboard a private
aircraft of a U.S. corporation that has entered into
an agreement with the Immigration and Naturalization
Service to carry passengers under the Visa Waiver Program,
you will not require a visa, if you are otherwise qualified
to travel visa free. If you are entering aboard any other
private or official aircraft, you will require a visa.