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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 http:// London.usembassy.org.uk. Advance Travel Authorisation—ESTA—


Effective 12 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 https://esta.cbp.dhs. gov. 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 passport expires, whichever comes first.


• 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 www.cbp. gov/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.


Customs


U.S. Customs 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.


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 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. It should be noted 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.


Helpful Information Passports/Visas/Esta: A minimum of one empty page is recommended in passports for travel to the US. All travellers intending to visit the US without a visa under the terms of the Visa Waiver Program are required to have an individual machine-readable or biometric passport. A machine-readable passport can generally be identified by the presence of two lines of computer code at the bottom of the biographical page.


International travellers seeking to travel to the US 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). First Night: Stateside visitors must now book their first night’s accommodation before they arrive in the country. Driving: A full UK driver's license is required. Electricity: 110/120 volts AC, 60 cycles. Flat, two-pin plugs are used. Dates: Dates are written starting with month, then day and year. For example, December 25 2015 is written in the US as 12. 25.15, not 25.12.15.


Shopping And Taxes: Electrical goods bought in the United States may not work correctly in the UK, even when used with a transformer. The United States uses the NTSC broadcast system which applies to items such as pre-recorded video tapes and video camcorders, etc, not the PAL system used in the UK. Please ensure that your home equipment is compatible with such items. For prerecorded DVDs, the USA is in Region 1 whereas the UK is in Region 2. Again, check if your DVD equipment at home is compatible. With a few exceptions, it is not normally possible to claim back local and state taxes paid in the USA. Hotels in some destinations may charge an occupancy tax in addition to city, state and federal taxes on beds. Car


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