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65


General Information ESSENTIALSThe PASSPORTS & VISAS


Passports: All travellers intending to visit the U.S. without a visa under the terms of the Visa Waiver Program are required to have an individual machine-readable or biometric passport. Any traveller without a machine- readable or biometric passport is required to obtain a visa before travelling to the U.S. A machine-readable passport can generally be identified by the presence of two lines of computer code printed at the bottom of the biographical page. (Generally, the only UK passports NOT machine-readable are the old- style blue passports or passports issued overseas.) Further changes regarding passport requirements came into effect in 2005 and 2006. In brief, machine-readable passports issued before 26 October 2005 – no further requirements. Machine-readable passports issued between 26 October 2005 and 25 October 2006 – require a digital photograph printed on the data page or integrated chip with information from the data page. Machine- readable passports issued on or after 26 October 2006 – require integrated chip with information from the data page (known as biometric or e-passports). Citizens of Chile, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) must have biometric passports regardless of when they were issued. Detailed information, including a step by step guide to determine your eligibility for the Visa Waiver Program is available on the U.S. Embassy’s website at: http://London.usembassy.gov. Visas: Most citizens of 38 eligible countries, including the United Kingdom, travelling on national passports for business or tourism for 90 days or less, are eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program provided they meet certain conditions. A passport indicating that the bearer is a British Subject, British Dependent Territories Overseas


Citizen,


British National (Overseas) Citizen or a British Protected Person does not qualify for visa free travel. Bearers of such passports are not eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program and must obtain a visa before they travel to the U.S. A British passport must quote the holder’s nationality as British Citizen and nothing else in order to qualify for visa free travel. Those


been issued and they are in receipt of their passport. Most persons requiring a visa will be required to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy. Information on applying for a visa is available from the Embassy’s website. You are strongly recommended to check with the Embassy concerning your eligibility to travel visa free before purchasing your tickets. Conditions available


relating to visa free travel are from the Embassy’s website


at


travellers requiring a visa are required to attend the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Belfast.


ESTA International travellers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are subject


to


enhanced security requirements and are required to register in the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation


(ESTA). ESTA


applies only to those VWP travellers entering the United States by air or sea. Travellers entering by land either from Canada or Mexico are not required to register before travelling. If your ESTA registration is successful, it will be valid for multiple U.S. entries for two years or the date your passport expires, whichever comes first. Before going on line to register, you should ensure that you are qualified to travel under the Visa Waiver Program otherwise your registration will be rejected. ESTA also does not guarantee entry into the United States; that decision rests with the immigration official at the Port of Entry in the same way that travellers currently entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program or with a visa are subject to inspection. Again full details about ESTA and the registration process can be found on the Embassy’s website. Travellers requiring visas, such as those travelling on one- way tickets, staying for longer than 90 days, those who have been convicted or arrested for any offence in the past or those who have previously been refused entry or deported from the U.S., should ensure that they apply for the visa well in advance of the planned departure to the United States and that they do not make final travel plans until the visa has


http://london.usembassy.gov The visa application form and instructions on the payment of the visa application fee may be obtained from the website. If travelling under the Visa Waiver Program, the passport must be valid for at least 90 days from the date on which the holder enters the U.S. If not, the holder will be admitted until the expiration date on the passport. Passport holders from Brunei must possess a passport valid for at least six months from the date of departure from the U.S. even if travelling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. Before departure: Stateside visitors must now book their first night’s accommodation before they arrive in the country. Arriving visitors have to provide an accurate address and it is not acceptable to show ‘touring’ if on a fly- drive holiday, or ‘staying with relatives’. Additionally, this same information will also need to be in the airline booking system when the aircraft departs the UK and will be sent, ahead of arrival, to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the destination airport. The I-94 is now automated for those entering by air or sea carrier. This is in addition to information already required, such as passport number, country of issue, expiry date, given names (as they appear on the passport), last name, gender, date of birth and nationality. The I-94W is still required to be completed at land ports of entry and this carries a $6 fee. Arrival in the United States: Most non-U.S. citizen travellers to the U.S., from 14-79 years old, are required to enroll in the US-VISIT programme and have their index fingerprints digitally scanned and their photograph taken upon entering the United States. No ink is used. US-VISIT is an Entry-Exit


system


designed to enhance control of U.S. borders and more effectively enforce U.S. immigration


visitusa.org.uk Ú


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