Travel Advice for the United States: What UK Citizens Need to Know

| April 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

A whopping 3.8 million British nationals visit the United States every year.

Due to changes in immigration and security measures, US laws have changed regarding tourism, and this has impacted travel agreements between the nation and the UK.

If you’re planning to travel to the United States, these are the most important aspects you need to know before your trip.

Do UK citizens require a travelers visa? 

UK citizens are under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) so they do not require a travel visa to travel to the United States.

Travellers may stay up to 90 days for tourism, business or while in transit without having to obtain a visa.

There are exceptions and restrictions to these rules based on the background of the traveler such as dual citizenship, criminal history and countries that may have been recently visited.

As of 2007, US law has changed regarding countries under the VWP and United Kingdom citizens must pass a ‘security measure’ called ESTA.

What is ESTA? 

All UK travellers travelling to the US are subject to enhanced security requirements and will have to cover an additional administrative fee.

Fortunately, this is available online through ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

The US government recommends submitting the authorization request at least 72 hours before travelling to the US.

The process is relatively easy and 99% of applications are approved within a day. If a traveller is not eligible for the visa-free travel, they will have to apply at a US Embassy or Consulate.

Do note that receiving authorization via ESTA does not determine whether a traveler is admissible to the US. US Customs and Border Protection determines admissibility upon the traveler’s arrival to US soil.

If you want to learn more details about ESTA, take a look at the detailed information available here:

How do you apply for an ESTA?

You have two choices regarding application. 

The first is the DIY route – going through the application process on your own and following up if required.

If you go through the process on your own, the cost is a total of 14 US Dollars, of which most are consulate fees. The $14 also include Border Control and administrative fees.

The second option is applying through the assistance of an intermediary service portal. This increases the cost, but still remains very affordable.

What other measures should you take?

Like any trip abroad, you should always acquire health insurance to cover you in case of illness or an emergency. This would cover you from extensive medical costs which can run up to tens of thousands of pounds depending on the situation. Additionally, the UK government recommends keeping aware of storms, snowfall, blizzards, strong winds and hurricanes, depending on the areas and time of year you plan to visit the United States. If you’re due to travel to an affected area, check for weather conditions and updates before travelling. Always take sensible precautions to protect yourself from theft and petty crime, and finally, be prepared for detailed security measures and checks at airports.


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Category: Travel

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