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Do I Need a Visa for Visiting USA from UK?


Did you know that the United States attracted a whopping 79.6 million travelers in 2018, spending nearly $1.1 trillion in the country? This is according to the figures provided by the US Travel Association. This should not come as a surprise, given the endless natural beauty of this country, such as the vast wilderness of Alaska, as well as the numerous manmade spectacles such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. The United States is particularly popular among tourists from the UK, with almost 4.8 million UK nationals traveling to the US in 2017. 

For people from England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, traveling to the US on a temporary basis for the purposes of business or tourism, a visa is not required. Since the UK is part of the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP), those holding a British passport do no need to apply fo  a visa, just an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) will suffice. 

US Visa Waiver Program for UK Citizens

The Visa Waiver Program is a scheme of the US government that allows citizens of VWP Designated Countries to travel to America for the purposes of business, tourism or medical treatment for a period of up to 90 days, without the need for a visa. There are certain conditions you must fulfill to be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. These include:

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  1. Your passport must describe your nationality as British.
  2. You must have an e-passport with the e-passport symbol on top. An e-passport is embedded with an electronic chip, which contains the person’s name, date of birth and other personal information.
  3. You must be authorized by the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
  4. You should not have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in you being convicted of any crime. Having a criminal record can result in you being refused admission into the United States.
  5. You must not have dual citizenship of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, and should not have traveled to Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen, after March 2011.
  6. You should be able to prove that you have sufficient finances to support yourself through the entire duration of your stay in the United States.

How to Apply for ESTA?

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization is an automatic system that is used to determine whether a person traveling to the US under the VWP is eligible for entry or not. The ESTA is also used to identify if the traveler poses any law enforcement or security threat to the US. To apply for an ESTA, you will need to complete three simple steps:

  1. The first step is to fill your general information and choose the processing time.
  2. The second step is to check your information and pay the requisite fee. 
  3. The final strep is filling up a questionnaire. 

Traveling to the US from the UK is a simple, online process, but if you need any additional help, it is advisable to contact the US consulate near you. Also, if you wish to stay in the US for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a regular US visit visa.

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Blogger, Entrepreneur, Mentor. Having lived in the US and the Middle East for about a decade, and gone through immigration many times, I have a lot to share. Add me on Facebook or contact me on WhatsApp +0014084894785

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