Important Information For USA Travellers
To ensure that you are not refused entry into the USA upon your arrival, please read this vitally important information regarding the new entry requirements that took effect on 12 January 2009.
With effect from 12th January 2009, everyone travelling to America must have completed a new internet-based registration form before they embark on their holiday.
This new requirement is called “Electronic System for Travel Authorisation”, or ESTA for short. US Customs & Border Control implemented the changes which apply to all international visitors to America who qualify for the US Visa Waiver Programme. British passport holders usually qualify, and therefore must register through ESTA before they travel.
How To Register Through ESTA
Registration through ESTA is quick, easy and essential for entry into the USA. It requires only a few personal details regarding everyone in your party and details of where you're staying on your first night in the States.
After you have booked your holiday to the US, you can register your details through ESTA here:
More Information On US Entry Requirements
Please note that the new ESTA system has been introduced in addition to the existing Visa Waiver Programme and to avoid any disappointment when arriving in America, you should read the below sections carefully.
British passport holders travelling to the USA (or via the USA) are required to have either individual machine-readable passports or biometric passports. (If you need to check your passport we recommend you contact the UK Passport Office). Families will be required to obtain individual passports for each traveller including all children.
Visa Waiver Programme (VWP)
If you have a machine readable or Biometric passport you should be able to qualify for travel (of up to 90 days) without a visa, under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). That is provided that no one in your party has ever been arrested (even if not convicted), or is suffering from a serious communicable disease (visit the US Embassy web site for details of all restrictions).
Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA)
This system is web based only and requires all passengers (including infants) travelling via or to the USA to apply for ‘authority to travel’ a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel. Effective from 12 January 2009, ESTA is compulsory. You may be denied boarding or refused entry to the US if you have not registered and obtained authorisation using ESTA. To apply for this new travel authorisation, visit the ESTA web site.
It is very important that you complete your ESTA application using the exact address as displayed on the documentation you receive from your Airline/Operator. (If you have booked a flight only or the address of your accommodation is confirmed on arrival, please use our resort office address as stated on your holiday invoice/tickets). Your Airline/Tour Operator will be providing accommodation details for all passengers to the US Immigration authorities after you have departed to America. If there are any differences between the Tour Operator/Airline information compared to what you have written on your ESTA registration, then you may be denied entry into the USA. We recommend that you carry your ESTA approval with you when you travel. For additional information on travel to the US visit the US Embassy web site.
Please note that the ESTA system is up and running now, and is compulsory for all visitors travelling to any American destinations who will arrive at their American destination on or after 12th January 2009.
Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS)
Please be aware that Tour Operators and Airlines are required to provide details of the full address of your destination accommodation and country of residence and, from 2009, the name on your passport, your date of birth and passport number to the U.S authorities. This is in addition to the application you must make as part of the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) for authorisation to travel under ESTA (the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) - see previous sections ‘Travel Authorisation (ESTA)’ and ‘Visa Waiver Programme’. It is important the information collected by tour operators and airlines as part of APIS is the same as the information you have submitted under ESTA as any differences may delay or prevent your entry to the USA.