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General information Ú

law. This entry procedure adds only 10-15 seconds to the entry screening process. The US Government no longer issues indefinite visas. Any person holding an indefinite B1/B2 visa should note that it is now only valid for travel to the US for 10 years from the date of issue of the visa. If you currently hold a visa, please check with the Embassy’s website. Check Before You Go: U.S. immigration regulations and procedures are subject to change at short notice so please check before travelling. Therefore, even if you have travelled to the U.S. previously for a similar purpose, you may find that you are now subject to additional requirements when applying for a visa. Before planning a trip it is imperative that you ensure that you are correctly documented for travel. Check the Embassy’s website before making final travel plans to avoid any inconvenience and delay. Further information is available from Advance Travel Authorisation—ESTA— 12

Effective January 2009, Visa Waiver

Program (VWP) travellers are required to obtain an advance travel authorisation prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. This travel authorisation can be obtained by submitting an application online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) at ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, although it is recommended that applications be submitted no less than 72 hours in advance of travel. Within seconds in most cases, the traveller will receive one of the following responses: 1. Authorisation Approved: Travel authorised. 2. Travel Not Authorised: Traveller must obtain a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before travelling to the U.S.

3. Authorisation Pending: Traveller will need

to check the ESTA web site for updates within 72 hours to receive a final response. An approved travel authorisation made via ESTA is:

• Required for all VWP travellers prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S.

• Valid, unless revoked, for up to two years or until the traveller’s whichever comes first.

passport expires,

• Valid for multiple entries into the U.S. • Not a guarantee of admissibility to the U.S. at a port of entry. Note that ESTA approval only authorises a traveller to board a carrier for travel to the U.S. under the VWP (For additional

information, please visit ”For

International Visitors” at travel). ESTA is designed to enhance the security of the VWP and enable the U.S. to maintain

and expand programme

participation. An approved ESTA requires a fee payment of $14. Travellers may pay the fees directly through the ESTA website with major credit and debit cards. The fee is comprised of a $4 fee to recover the costs incurred by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the continued operation and maintenance of the ESTA system and a $10 travel promotion fee established by the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) of 2009.



Regulations: Personal

Exemptions: The following items may be brought in free of duty and internal revenue tax provided they are for personal use only, and not for anyone else, or for re-sale. • Personal effects (e.g. wearing apparel; articles of personal adornment; toiletries; photographic equipment).

• One litre of alcoholic beverages (e.g. wine, beer or liquor) if you are an adult non- resident over 21 years of age. Also, alcoholic beverages may only be carried on flights if purchased in the duty-free area.

• 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigars, or three pounds of smoking tobacco, or proportionate amounts of each.


Visit USA is an association of over 200 companies – from the largest multi-nationals to the very focused specialists – with a direct involvement and interest in UK-USA travel. For full information on the Association see the Visit USA website (

Currency Regulations: There is no set limit on the amount of money (U.S. or foreign currency), travellers cheques or money orders, that you may bring in, or take out of the United States. However, a report must be filed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the time you arrive or depart if you possess an amount that exceeds $10,000 or the equivalent in foreign currency. A form for this purpose will be provided at port of entry. Gift Exemption: A non-resident may claim, as free of duty and internal revenue tax, articles up to $100 in value as long as these gifts

are Visa Waiver

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.

Passports 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.


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).

intended for other people. You also have to remain in the United States for at least 72 hours, and the gifts must be with you at all times. This $100 gift exemption, or any part of it, can be claimed only once every six months. You may include 100 cigars within the gift exemption. Articles should not be gift wrapped, as they must be available for inspection. If you are not entitled to the $100 gift exemption, you may bring in, free of duty, articles up to $25 in value for either personal or household use. Neither the $100 gift exemption nor the $25 exemption may be grouped together for members of a family. Note that a limit is imposed by some U.S. states on the amount of alcohol that can be taken in. Customs cannot release alcoholic beverages above the limit as laid down by the state in which you arrive.

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