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Passport/Visa Requirements

The information in this section applies to British Citizens only holding a valid UK passport. We believe that it is up to date at the time of publication but it is your responsibility to check current visa and entry requirements for North America and any other countries you may be visiting. People other than British Citizens should check the visa and entry requirements that apply to them.

A full valid passport is required for travel to the US (which must have at least six months left to run after your departure date). Children & Infants also need their own passport.

Visa Waiver Programme (VWP)

The VWP allows most British Citizen passport holders to visit the US for up to 90 days. The types of journey permissible under the VWP include tourism, certain types of business visit and transit to another country. If you have a British passport that describes your nationality as something other than ‘British Citizen’, or if your passport has been extended by 12 months under exceptional measure put in place in mid 2014, you don’t qualify for entry to the US under the VWP and you’ll need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

On 18 December 2015, the US Congress passed a Bill updating the requirements for the VWP. Under the new rules, with effect from 1 April 2016 all travellers wishing to enter the US under the VWP will need to hold a passport with an integrated chip (an ePassport). British passports issued since October 2006 are ePassports and carry this internationally recognised symbol on the front cover.

If you have doubts about whether you’re eligible to enter the US under the VWP (either now or when the new rules come into effect on 1 April 2016), or if you have any questions about visa matters generally, you should contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate for advice.

Those travelling under the VWP arriving by air or sea should provide details online at least 72 hours before travel. This is known as an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation or ESTA. If you do not have an ESTA you’ll be refused travel to the USA. If you’re arriving by land, you do not need to complete an ESTA before you arrive at the border. Getting an ESTA is a separate process to providing your airline with advance passenger information (details of your passport, country of residence, address of your first night’s accommodation in the US etc). For more information, and to apply online, visit the official ESTA website.

Please Note: It is your responsibility to have a valid passport and the appropriate visa for your destination, and any visa for transit points if required. All passengers entering the USA must complete the online Visa Waiver form by visiting a fee is charged for this waiver form.

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