United States of America Visa and Passport Requirements
|Passport required||Return ticket required||Visa Required|
To enter the United States of America, a passport valid for the duration of stay is required by nationals in the chart above as well as nationals of the following countries:
Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, the Antilles, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hong Kong (Certificates of Identity and Passports), Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua (for all passports), Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican (Holy See), Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
All persons, including US citizens, travelling by air, land, or sea between the USA and Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda are required to present a valid passport, or other approved document, when entering or re-entering the USA.
All travellers entering the USA under the Visa Waiver Program must have an e-Passport with an embedded electronic chip. Any traveller not in possession of an e-passport will require a valid USA entry visa.
Visas are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to 90 days, except:
1. Nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, who do require a visa as they are not included in the Visa Waiver Program.
At present, 39 countries in the Visa Waiver Program are Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
Nationals entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are required to apply for travel authorisation under ESTA.
Canadian citizens do not require a visa when entering the United States of America but are under different legislation from the Visa Waiver Program.
The granting of an ESTA does not guarantee entry to the USA.
Nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries who have visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and/or Yemen on or after 1 March 2011 are not eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program and must apply for a US visa.
Holders of UK passports with the endorsement British Subject, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Protected Person, British Overseas Citizen or British National (Overseas) Citizen do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. A passport which states holder has right of abode or indefinite leave to remain in the UK does not qualify for visa-free travel either. Citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda do not need a visa to visit the United States of America but are under different legislation from the Visa Waiver Program.
Types and Cost
Tourist, business, transit and student visas: US$160.
For ESTA, it costs US$14 if you apply directly on the ESTA website (esta.cbp.dhs.gov).
An ESTA is valid for two years from the date of authorization, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Some types of visa like B1 may not expire with the expiry of the holder's passport. An unexpired, endorsed visa in an expired passport may be presented for entry into the USA, as long as the visa itself has not been cancelled, is undamaged, is the appropriate visa type for your initial purpose of travel and is presented with a valid non-expired passport, provided that both passports are for the same nationality.
Some visas (like B1) are valid for multiple entries. The length of stay in the USA is determined by US immigration officials at the time of entry.
Travellers who are visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program do not require a transit visa but must obtain ESTA-authorisation prior to travel. Travellers must also indicate on their ESTA application form that they’re transiting through the US and that their final destination is a non-US nation.
Travellers whose home country is not included in the Visa Waiver Program must obtain a transit visa (C-visa) from their nearest embassy or consulate.
For ESTA, you can apply directly on the ESTA website (esta.cbp.dhs.gov).
For other types of visa, visit or contact an embassy or consulate near you.
The USA does not participate in the Schengen visa scheme.
Typically, temporary residence must be applied for in the individual's home country at the local US embassy or consulate.
If you're an ESTA applicant, you will get an answer within 72 hours.
For other visa types, the length of time it takes to process your visa varies widely. At the US Embassy in the UK, you are advised to allow 3-5 working days from the date of the visa interview for your application to be processed. In some cases, the application process can take up to six months or even longer.
The US consulate may require proof of sufficient funds to support your visa application. For more information, check the US Embassy website (usembassy.gov).
Extension of stay
Citizens of visa waiver countries may not apply to extend their stay. Citizens of other countries must file a request with US Citizenship and Immigration Services using Form I-539; the form must be submitted prior to the expiration of the original visa.
Entry with children
Children travelling with adults who are not their legal guardians and/or who are travelling with one parent rather than both parents are advised to bring a signed letter from the legal guardian(s) indicating that permission has been granted to leave their country of citizenship and enter the USA. If a single parent has sole custody, it's advisable to bring a court custody document to substantiate this. See www.cbp.gov for further information.
Entry with pets
A general certificate of health is not required by the CDC for pet cats and dogs entering the United States, although some airlines or states may require them. Dogs must have a certificate showing they have been vaccinated against rabies at least 28 days prior to entry into the United States, unless they're coming from rabies free countries. Certain states may require other vaccinations and health certificates, check with state and local health authorities at your final destination. All pet cats and dogs arriving in the state of Hawaii and the territory of Guam are subject to locally imposed quarantine requirements. Many animals are not allowed to be brought into the USA; you can find a complete list on the US Customs and Border Protection website (www.cbp.gov).
Our visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing,
We strongly recommend that you verify critical information unique to your trip with the relevant embassy before travel.
Embassies and tourist offices
Embassy of the UK in the USA
Telephone: +1 202 588 6500.
Address: , 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20008,
Public access by appointment only. The telephone line operates from 0900-1600, Monday to Friday. UK Consulates in: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Embassy of the United States of America in the UK
Telephone: +44 20 7499 9000.
Address: , 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 1AE,
Mon-Fri 0800-1730 (only applicants with visa appointments admitted).
Consulates in: Belfast (223 Stranmillis Road) and Edinburgh (3 Regent Terrace).